What insects and bug bites are common in Colorado?

The most common bites and stings come from mosquitoes, spiders, bees, wasps, hornets, ants, ticks, mites, chiggers, gnats, and bed bugs. Even if you weren’t able to catch the bug, you might have at least caught a glimpse. This helpful guide to common Colorado bugs and insects can help identify the exact culprit of a painful bite or sting.

Unfortunately, if you did not see the insect, diagnosing a bite or sting can be difficult-to-impossible. Our physicians may not be entomologists, but they are well-versed in the appearance and symptoms of dangerous and painful bug bites including spiders, ticks, mites, wasps, and others. They’re also familiar with the range of reactions that are possible from the same bug bite, as well as what’s normal and what’s likely to be a cause for concern.

 

Diseases Transmitted by Insects

More than just acute reactions from the bite itself, certain bugs may carry infectious disease. Some of these diseases can present with serious symptoms within days of the bite. Others can lay dormant for years, if they ever create an active infection. The potential symptoms can range from a garden-variety fever to a secondary skin rash. Lyme Disease, for example, frequently creates a rash around the tick bite that looks like a bullseye.

More than just the bite itself, people should also monitor their general health over the following days and weeks, especially if they know the insect was a tick, mosquito, or other disease-carrying insect. Some of these vector-borne diseases, like the plague, we’ve known about for hundreds of years. Others, we’ve only discovered quite recently. Even in Colorado, the information about these insect-borne diseases has changed just over the last generation.

 

  • While it was first discovered in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is actually more common in the southeastern U.S. which is not surprising since it’s primarily carried by the American dog tick.
  • Colorado tick fever is carried by the Rocky Mountain wood tick and is more common in Colorado.
  • Once extremely rare in Colorado, there have been cases of West Nile Virus in the state every year since 2002.
  • Lyme disease now has 8 confirmed cases with new estimates suggesting as many as 80 cases in total, though some experts doubt how many of these cases actually originated in Colorado.

 

Still didn’t find what you were looking for? You can find even more information about Colorado insect bites and stings from this online guide published by Colorado State University. You can also read our other resources for bug bites in Colorado.

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