Insect bites in Singapore
Situated in a hot and humid environment, we are all familiar with the bumpy, itchy and sometimes pus-filled mosquito bites. But once in a while, you might get a bite - or if you are unfortunate, a series of bites - that looks similar to the one from the pesky mozzie.
We spoke to a local expert to find out where these strange bites come from. Here are the 7 creatures some locals have had the displeasure of getting familiar with.
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1. Sandfly - series of little bites on the leg
Image adapted from: mailemedicinals
The bane of NS men and beach lovers, sandflies are perhaps the most frustrating bug in this list. They attack like ninjas, being almost invisible to the eye at only 3 millimeters in length, and they always come after blood in a silent but violent hoard.
Sandfly bites look like mosquito bites - red and bumpy - but are a tad smaller. The bites appear in a cluster, usually around the ankles and they only start to itch a day or so after you are bitten.
Trying not to scratch these is a true test of willpower because they are extremely itchy!
Tip: Cover up with long sleeves and pants when you visit sandy areas during dawn and dusk.
2. Head Lice - small red bumps on and around the scalp
Image credit: Unique Facts
Also known as nits (lice eggs), parents who find head lice on their kids usually freak out a little. This small, brown insect is highly contagious, easily transferred via combs, hats and head-to-head contact.
The bites are usually found on the neck, scalp and behind the ears and look a lot like rashes.
An adult parasite looks like a sesame seed with colours that range from beige to grey.
Tip: They are very difficult to get rid of and even chlorinated pool water can’t get rid of them. One of the best methods of head lice removal is to have someone comb through your hair with a narrow-toothed nit comb.
3. Bed Bugs - line of bites where your body touches the mattress
Image credit: Cleveland clinic
Usually brought back from an overseas trip - maybe from a hotel - bed bugs are the worst kind of infestation you can have in your household as they spread like wildfire, and are almost impossible to eliminate.
The shape and size of the bite looks a lot like a mosquito’s but while a mosquito's appear individually, ones from bed bugs appear several at a time, and usually form a line where your body meets the mattress. Like a mosquito bite, they also tend to get very itchy.
Some household remedies to this include vacuuming your mattress thoroughly and sprinkling baby powder or baking soda on every surface and wall. But these only alleviate the problem. To get rid of them properly, it’s best to seek professional help.
Some common bed bug hiding spots.
Image credit: Rentokil
Tip: Always do a quick check for bed bugs when you reach your hotel or hostel.
4. Ticks - firm, bright red bump
Image credit: Medicine Net
While taking your dog out for a walk, ticks sometimes latch on your pup and enter the house. They usually go after your furry friend, but sometimes, ticks take a nip at humans as well. Those in Singapore don't usually carry diseases that will affect people, but are nonetheless troublesome to deal with as they are seemingly indestructible - kind of like roaches.
The bites themselves tend to be painless, but the aftermath looks like a firm, 10-cent sized, bright red bump. Unlike most insects, you can catch the tick while it is still attached to your skin.
Tip: To remove a tick, take a pair of tweezers and grip the insect where it connects to the skin. Gently pull it out perpendicularly and apply cream on the spot. Submerge it in Dettol to kill it.
5. Fleas - itchy red dots on legs and waist
Image credit: Fleabites
Even if you don’t have a dog, this other pest will probably find its way to you. Fleas are often found on both dogs and cats, pets and strays. And yes, you can get them from petting the cats under your void deck.
With their powerful legs, these barely noticeable bugs can easily leap long distances, from animal to human.
Flea bites appear in groups of itchy mounds, and each bite looks like a little red dot on your skin. They usually occur in areas like your waist where your clothes fit tightly onto your skin, or on the lower legs.
Tip: Wash your pet’s bedding at least once a week in hot water to prevent the spread of fleas.
6. Bird mites - small half-a-cm sized red bump
Image adapted from: Birdmites
Things that are out of sight are usually out of mind and bird mites are one of them, being almost invisible to the naked eye. That is, until the intense itching of their tiny bites start.
Although technically not an insect, bird mites are common as they’re easily carried around by birds and fester in and around nests. When no birds are around, these tiny bugs enter your house through cracks in the wall or through windows to look for a new food source - i.e. you.
To check if you have a bird mite bite, look out for several half-a-centimeter bumps with a raised center on your skin. It will resemble a rash in appearance.
7. Spiders - painful and swollen
Although not an insect, spiders are still a common sight in households.
While these creatures usually leave humans alone, there is still the occasional bite case. These bites are painful, swell badly, and tend to be grey in the middle. But the good news is that most spider bites in Singapore are not venomous enough to cause further damage.
However if you experience any further discomfort, make sure to visit a doctor.
Get rid of bed bugs with Rentokil
Society encourages us to try and be the bigger person. But with lil’ buggers like these, you gotta bite back with good measures to claim back your house.
Case in point: Bed bugs - which are by far one of the hardest insects to get rid of. And even if your house is in tip top condition, a couple of bugs caught from places like the cinema or your friend’s house can lead to an infestation that spreads like wildfire.
While DIY household fixes like spreading baking soda on all surfaces hold off bedbugs in the short run, they require a high amount of time and effort and there is still a high tendency for reinfestation.
Image credit: Rentokil Pest Control Singapore
So, if you don’t want to risk throwing away all of your furniture, it’s best to call in the professionals aka pest control companies like Rentokil.
If you’re squeamish, you’ll be relieved that there’ll be minimal time hanging around with the bugs in your house as Rentokil can quickly respond to your situation with more than 300 technicians throughout the island. Other services include a hotline with a local specialist, consultation, and aftercare to make sure that the bug never reappears again.
While we would love tell these creatures to bug off and leave us alone, we can’t. Besides, actions speak louder than words. So if bed bugs - or any other creepers - are infesting your house, it’s time to show them who’s boss with the professionals.
This post was brought to you by Rentokil Pest Control Singapore.