How Long Do Bug Bites Last on Skin?

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Bug bites are literally a pain. Sometimes we wake up with them, discover them in the shower, or notice them when scratching an itch. Bug bites can cause irritation and even scars on your skin without proper management.

How long do bug bites last on skin? Usually, bug bites don’t cause long-term complications and may last from one to two weeks. For people who are extra sensitive to bug bites or get an allergic reaction, the bite may last up to three weeks or more for it to heal.

The type of bug and the severity of the bite would also determine the length of time that the bite stays on your skin. Read on to learn more about how long bug bites last on the skin, as well as how to get rid of the bites faster.

How Long Do Bug Bites Last on Skin?

In most cases, bug bites can immediately appear on the skin as small bumps. But for individuals who are easily susceptible to insect bites, the bumps may result in blisters or papules that could last up to 14 days or more.

Generally, bug bites appear as tiny holes or bumps that disappear within 1 to 3 days, even without treatment. However, there are also instances in certain individuals wherein an insect bite leads to an allergic reaction that could become life-threatening.

Below, I highlight some of the more serious bug bite symptoms. If you’re experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions from Insect Bites

  • Dyspnea (difficulty in breathing)
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Severe itchiness
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Spreading skin papules

In addition, various factors can also contribute to the length of time that bug bites last on your skin.

4 Factors That Affect How Long Bug Bites Stay on Skin

1. Type of Bug

The type of bug would affect the length of time that the bite lasts on your skin. Smaller bugs have smaller bites, so it follows that their side effects are fewer than bigger bugs.

Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. To treat the bite properly, it would help to know what type of bug has bitten you. You can even tell which bug bit you if you know the habitat of different bugs.

Mosquitoes usually thrive and multiply in water, such as open water containers, swamps, lakes, stagnant bodies of water, and similar areas. If you were recently swimming outdoors, then it could have been a mosquito bite.

Flies love foul-smelling and decaying substances, while ticks and fleas can easily multiply in dirty surroundings and outdoor areas, especially if you have pets.

2. Severity of Bite

The severity of the bug’s bite can significantly affect the length of time the bite remains on the skin. The deeper and more severe the bite is, the longer it will take to heal and clear up.

3. Sensitivity of Skin

Skin sensitivity is another factor that affects how long bug bites last on your skin. Generally, for normal skin, the bite could remain for a few hours or days. On the other hand, bug bites on people with extra-sensitive skin can last for weeks or even months.

4. Treatment Administered

Many bug bites don’t need long-lasting medication. Washing the bite with mild soap and water and then applying an antiseptic solution immediately after the bite can help hasten the healing process and disappearance of the bites.

Infected bites tend to have a slower healing process due to the proliferation of bacteria. Thus, make sure that you immediately wash the affected areas on your skin and apply some antiseptic to prevent an infection.

types of bug bites on skin

6 Common Types of Bug Bites and How Long They Last on Skin

1. Bedbugs  

Bedbug bites are different from other insect bites because they are clustered and tend to form a zigzag shape. They can occur in skin areas that are usually exposed to infested surfaces, such as beds and chairs.

They typically last for one to two weeks and can lead to more serious symptoms when irritated.

2. Gnats

Gnat bites can result in blisters, itchy wheals, or small papules that last on the skin for 3 to 4 weeks. The development of papules or blisters can worsen the skin condition resulting in long-lasting scars.

3. Fleas

Flea bites result in wheals that appear within 5 to 30 minutes after the bite. The bite lasts on the skin for a week or more, as it can harden into a lesion within a period of 12 to 24 hours. The illnesses that can be transmitted by fleas include typhus and plague, which are both caused by Yersinia pestis.

To help eliminate and prevent bugs of all types, including fleas, mosquitoes, ants, spiders, bed bugs, and more, use the Pest Defender Ultrasonic Electronic Pest Repeller Plug:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

This simple yet effective device uses ultrasonic frequency to repel and deter a wide range of pests. You just plug it in, and it gives a silent sonic wave sound that bugs and other pests hate. Put them around your house to maximize your defense against bugs and their annoying bites.

4. Ticks

Tick bites can cause small lumps on your skin that typically last for 3 weeks. However, when a tick’s mouth sticks deeper into the skin, the symptoms may last longer. Tick bites are not painful, but they can also cause severe infections, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, among others. 

5. Horseflies

Horsefly bites can last long – more than 3 weeks – due to them penetrating the skin. They can also cause itchiness, wheezing, and fatigue. Ordinary flies can transmit a host of infectious diseases with their dirty proboscis and ‘hands’.

They are attracted to foul-smelling items or substances, such as feces, urine, rotten flesh, and all decaying things, which are teeming with pathological microbes.

A sandfly’s bite is painful, and welts can last for a month or more. The reason is that the red bumps can exacerbate into ulcerations, blisters, and skin sores. These symptoms occur when serious diseases, such as the Heartland virus and leishmaniasis, are transmitted by the sandfly. You will have to consult a doctor in these cases.

6. Mosquitoes

Small red welts or itchy bumps result from mosquito bites. These bites could last on your skin for two weeks or more. The Anopheles type of mosquito acts as a vector for malarial diseases, while the Aedes mosquito transmits dengue fever and malaria. 

Usually, mosquito bites disappear within a few weeks, but the bite of the malarial vector may need a month or more of treatment and medication.

Itchiness could be treated with safe products, such as the Anti-Itch Natural Emu Joy-Stick. It’s safe for kids and adults to carry and apply. It’s also a pain reliever and easy to apply, like a lip balm. 

Click here to see it on Amazon.

In dengue fever, there could be multiple red rashes on the skin that tend to last until the disease is cured. These two conditions can be fatal if left untreated.

So, when you’re bitten by mosquitoes in places where these two diseases are prevalent, make sure to consult a healthcare professional or go to the nearest health facility for a checkup.

how to get rid of bug bites on skin

How to Make Bug Bites Go Away Faster

1. Wash the Bite with Soap and Warm Water

The first thing that you should do is to wash the bitten area with soap and warm water. Be careful to wash the area off any remaining proboscis (mouth) of the insect. You can use 70% isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean the area thoroughly.

For ticks, you can remove them with tweezers and then wash the affected area thoroughly. You can then apply petroleum jelly or similar products.

If you’re not allergic to insect bites, the bite will disappear within 24 hours and will totally be gone after a week or two. 

2. Apply Ointment or Cream

If you want to help speed up the healing, you can apply a topical ointment or a steroid cream that’s recommended by your doctor. You can apply hydrocortisone cream to relieve itchiness caused by bug bites and other substances that could irritate your skin. 

I also recommend a soothing cream to help reduce the itchiness and speed up the time it takes for the bites to disappear.

Try the C.O. Bigelow Lemon Body Cream for an ultra-rich, soothing, calming skin cream:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It contains moisturizing shea butter, nourishing lemon extracts, and replenishing Kukui Nut Oil which is rich in fatty acids. It feels amazing on the skin and calms it from bug bites and other irritations.

3. Apply Cold Water Compress

You can also apply a cold water compress to decrease the bumps. For small wounds, a hot compress can help heal the injured tissues more quickly and reduce itchiness

You can do cold compresses twice a day for 5 to 10 minutes or as necessary. Don’t use ice water directly as it can be too cold for your skin and could cause injury. 

4. Oral Medications

When an allergy from a bug bite is severe, you can be hospitalized or get treated with antihistamines, including anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers.

Specific treatment usually depends on your symptoms and the signs you display. For other strong medications, you will need a doctor’s prescription.

5. Observe Personal Hygiene

Bugs love dirty, damp, and warm areas; therefore, take a bath daily and make sure to clean your surroundings as well. Observing cleanliness will help prevent the growth and multiplication of microbes, allowing bug bites to heal well.

Cleaning your surroundings has the same preventive action as personal hygiene. Throw stagnant water inside and outside your house. If you have a water reservoir or container, make sure they are adequately covered.

Other Tips for Treating Bumps and Redness from Bug Bites

  • Always wash the bitten area immediately. If there is a remaining proboscis (mouth) of the insect, you can wear gloves and use a puller or tweezers to carefully remove it. 
  • Never scratch, peel, or prick the bug bite, as you might infect your skin. If you want to clean it, use sterile materials, cotton, or gauze.
  • Consult your doctor ASAP when fever and allergic reactions occur. Take note that people can die of allergic reactions.
  • Again, maintain proper hygiene to prevent infecting the bug-bitten area.
  • Get rid of bugs by eliminating the source of the bugs (water containers, stagnant outdoor water, and garbage containers). If you cannot pinpoint the source, at least take proper measures to prevent their further proliferation.
  • In areas where bug bites are prevalent, avoid getting bitten by using anti-insect sprays or skin lotions, and protective clothing, such as long sleeved-blouses, long pants, socks, and hats. 
  • Always keep your house and environment clean. Use screen doors and windows to prevent the entry of bugs.
  • When traveling to malarial-infested or disease-infested areas, consult your doctor for preventive medications.
  • When camping, pitch your tent a fair distance away from water bodies, such as lakes streams or swamps. These are good breeding grounds for bugs.
  • When using insect repellants, make sure the product’s ingredients are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Never use repellents on children 3 years old and below.
  • Never spray an insect repellent on a person’s face, hands, eyes, wounds, and damaged skin, but instead, this should be sprayed on their clothing. For children’s use (3 years old and above), the DEET content should not be more than 10 percent.
  • Use permethrin-sprayed jackets or clothing to drive bugs away. You can separately buy Permethrin spray online and spray it on your clothes. See the Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It’s an effective insect repellent for ticks, mites, mosquitoes, and other bugs. It stays on your clothing even after 6x washing. Also, it doesn’t damage your clothing or stain it. It is odorless, as well. 

Conclusion – How Long Do Bug Bites Last on Skin?

So to recap, how long do bug bites last on skin? The length of time that bug bites last on the skin can be from one to two weeks. For infected bites, they can last for more than 3 weeks.

Additionally, there are factors affecting how long bug bites would last on your skin, such as the type of bugs, the severity of the bite, treatment, and the sensitivity of your skin. 

There are lots of ways to hasten the disappearance of bug bites on your skin. Aside from following the recommended methods mentioned above, you can also use certain over-the-counter products that are often available for purchase online.

More importantly, if symptoms persist, you have to consult your doctor. In case of a severe anaphylactic reaction, you have to rush to the nearest health facility in your area. Learn how to effectively manage bug bites and don’t let them last on your skin by observing the tips listed in this post.

Related reading:

What to Put on the Skin to Prevent Bed Bug Bites?

Do Bed Bug Bites Spread When Scratched?

Why Does My Skin Get so Itchy at Night?

Itchy Soles of Feet at Night – Causes and Remedies