Insects and Other Crawly Things That Bite

The garage is a perfect habitat for many insects and things that may bite.


In Oklahoma, the Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders are very common. These spiders are nocturnal hunters that like to hide in out of the way places during the day. People often get bitten by these spiders when they reach into a place where the spiders have hidden.

The symptoms that may result from a Black Widow spider bite include the following:

  • An initial sharp pinprick, progressing to dull numbing pain in the injured area.

  • Cramping in the stomach, shoulders, back and chest.

  • Restlessness may be exhibited later.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Headache.

  • High blood pressure.

If someone has been bitten by a Black Widow:

  • Apply a cold compress to the site of the bite.

  • Call 911, or take the victim to a medical facility. If you are the person who has been bitten, do not drive yourself to the hospital. Get someone to drive you or summon help.

The Brown Recluse Spider is not as poisonous as the Black Widow, but it still can pose a problem. Symptoms from a Brown Recluse bite may include the following:

  • Slight pain.

  • The wound develops into a "bullseye" impression.

  • Flu-like symptoms are common.

  • Severe ulceration can develop in the wound site.

First aid for a person who has been bitten by a Brown Recluse include the following steps:

  • Wash the bite area well.

  • Call 911, or take the victim to a medical facility. If you are the person who has been bitten, do not drive. Find someone to drive you to the hospital, or summon help.


Ticks may be carriers of Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The bites occur most often during the months of April through October. Symptoms may appear 3 to 10 days after the tick attaches to the body and may include the following:

  • Sudden headache, chills and high fever.

  • A rash usually develops on the wrists, ankles, palms and soles of the feet.

More severe symptoms of Lyme Disease may appear weeks, months and perhaps years after a tick bite. These symptoms may include severe headaches, arthritis, heart or nervous system abnormalities.

First aid for a person who has a tick attached to the body includes the following steps:

  • Use a tweezers to grasp the tick and pull outward, gently, in a line parallel to the skin surface. Do not put gasoline or hot objects like matches on the tick to remove it.

  • After removing the tick, clean the area well with an antiseptic.

  • Check closely to see that the entire tick has been removed. If part of the tick remains embedded, call a doctor right away.

If you develop any of the symptoms described above, you should be evaluated by a physician.


Not all snakebites result in injection of venom; but if venom is injected, symptoms may start rapidly and include pain, discoloration at the site and progressive swelling around the injured area. Various other symptoms may occur, depending on the type of snake.

First aid for a person bitten by a known poisonous snake include the following steps:

  • Stay calm and reassure the victim.

  • Keep the victim warm.

  • Keep the bitten part from moving.

  • If possible, without risking another bite, capture the snake for positive identification.

  • Call 911 or move the victim to a medical facility.

Do not perform the following procedures, which you may have seen on television and in movies:

  • Do not use ice or cold packs.

  • Do not cut the wound or use suction.

  • Do not use tourniquet or constriction band.

  • Do not give alcohol or any drugs.

Bee Stings

Bee stings account for more deaths in the United States than all other venomous creatures combined. The usual reaction to a bee sting is a local one consisting of redness, itching, swelling and pain lasting a few hours. A more serious problem arises if a person has an allergic reaction or is stung by many bees at the same time.

Allergic reactions can be severe with symptoms including the following:

  • Lumpy welts (hives).

  • Itching on palms and feet.

  • Headache.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Difficulty breathing.

Allergic reactions to bee bites need to be treated immediately. Call 911. Get the victim to a medical facility as quickly as possible.

If there is no allergic reaction to the bee sting, treatment might include the following steps:

  • Gently scrape out the stinger with your fingernail or with a credit card. Do not squeeze or pull to remove the stinger.

  • Wash the affected area with soapy water.

  • Use a cold compress at the sting site.

  • Antihistamines may be helpful for minor symptoms.

Return to the Safety Resource Center