You can recognize numerous tiny black bugs that bite in your home and garden, and you should learn to differentiate them. Only that way can you eliminate these menaces and protect yourself and members of your family from unpleasant and painful biting.
Most of these bites cause rash, itching, blisters, and intense pain, but they typically disappear within a few hours to days. However, some bugs, including mosquitoes, kissing bugs, and ticks, spread diseases or lead to allergies, requiring emergency medical care.
Tiny black bugs that bite
|Gnats||0.04 to 0.50 inches
(1 – 13 mm)
|Gray to black|
|Mosquitoes||0.10 to 0.40 inches
(2.54 – 10 mm)
|Black or gray|
|Ticks||0.12 to 0.50 inches
(3 – 12 mm)
|Black, brown, or red-brown|
|Blacklegged (Deer) ticks||0.12 inches (3 mm)||Brown with a black dorsal shield|
|Ants||0.08 to 1 inch (2 – 25 mm)||Various colors, including glossy black|
|Black widow spiders||1.50 inches (38 mm)||Shiny black|
|Minute pirate bugs||0.08 to 0.20 inches
(2 – 5 mm)
|Black with white wing patches|
|Great black wasps||1 to 1.50 inches
(25.4 – 38 mm)
|Black carpenter bees||0.75 to 1 inch (19 – 25.4 mm)||Black|
|Kissing bugs||0.50 to 1 inch
(12.70 – 25.4 mm)
|Black or dark brown|
|Deer flies||0.25 to 1.25 inches
(6.35 – 31.75 mm)
|Yellow to black|
|Horseflies||0.75 to 1.25 inches
(19 – 31.75 mm)
|Black or dark brown|
|Black flies (Buffalo gnats)||0.05 to 0.30 inches
(1.27 – 7.6 mm)
|Blister beetles (Spanish fly)||0.37 to 1 inch (9.4 – 25.4 mm)||Black or tan to amber with three black stripes|
|Stag beetles||Females – 1.20 to 1.60 inches
(30.50 – 40.50 mm)
Males – 1.40 to 2 inches
(35 – 50 mm)
|Black or brown|
|Black house spiders||Females – 0.50 to 0.70 inches
(12 – 18 mm)
Males – 0.35 to 0.60 inches
(9 – 15 mm)
|Black or dark brown|
|Hornets||1.50 to 2 inches (38 – 50 mm)||Black, black and white, or black and yellow|
Tiny Black Bugs That Bite
Gnats are 0.04 to 0.50 inches (1 – 13 mm) long flies that typically come in a gray to a black color and live 18 to 30 days. You can spot their swarms near dark and hidden places, like poultry houses and barns.
Only females have scissor-like jaws and use them to bite and then suck blood. Their bites are painful and cause red skin marks in the bitten area or even allergies. In rare cases, they can transmit bacteria to your blood, causing Sandfly fever.
Mosquitoes are annoying, approximately 0.10 to 0.40 inches (2.54 – 10 mm) long black or gray insects. Their females bite because sucking human blood allows them to reproduce and lay eggs in nearby stagnant waters.
Their bites are mild, followed by red skin bumps, itching, and tissue swelling. However, these insects are not always harmless because some species transmit life-threatening the West Nile virus, Malaria, Zika virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, and Dengue fever.
Approximately 0.12 to 0.50 inches (3 – 12 mm) long ticks are black, brown, or red-brown arachnids that feed on blood. Their bites are highly problematic since they cause severe allergic reactions and may transmit incurable Lyme disease.
Approximately 30,000 people catch Lyme disease in the US annually.
Even when ticks are healthy and don’t transmit disease, they stay attached to your skin for about ten days after biting you and leave ugly, long-lasting red spotting.
4. Blacklegged (Deer) ticks
These horrified, 0.12 inches (3 mm) long brown parasitic arachnids with a black dorsal shield are the worst tiny black bugs biting humans. Attached to the skin, they release an anti-coagulating agent to prevent clotting and stay there for days.
While feeding on blood, they jeopardize your health by spreading diseases like Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis. You may have trouble detecting them until becoming engorged and more sizable, reaching about 0.40 to 0.50 inches (10 – 13 mm) in length.
Ants are 0.08 to 1 inch (2 – 25.4 mm) long insects that can bite when feeling threatened. However, they don’t threaten humans unless you are allergic to the formic acid they release into the skin when biting you.
Even though ant stings are excruciating and followed by itchy red bumps on the skin surface, they rarely require special care. While fire ants’ bites cause severe allergic reactions, black ants are typically harmless.
6. Black widow spiders
Black widow spiders are probably the most poisonous arachnids in the US. They have 1.50 inch (38 mm) long, shiny black body with an hourglass-like red mark on the back.
This species rarely bite humans unless being harassed. When that happens, they inject a potent poison into the skin through two puncture marks, causing a strong reaction. It starts with a painful rash and swelling in the bite area, followed by muscle and chest pain and difficulty breathing.
In some cases, this condition requires medical attention, mainly when there is a risk of transmitting the bacterium Clostridium tetani, causing tetanus.
7. Minute pirate bugs
Minute pirate bugs are tiny black predaceous insects with recognizable white wing patches, about 0.08 to 0.20 inches (2 – 5 mm) in length. In summer and early fall, you can see them eating minor invasive bugs in your garden.
They can accidentally bite humans to check whether they are prey, but without sucking blood or injecting poisonous saliva into the skin. The result is a little, harmless rash since these bugs don’t transmit diseases.
8. Great black wasps
These black wasps are 1 to 1.50 inches (25.4 – 38 mm) long insects with smoky black wings. They can bite people but rarely do it. In most cases, they react in defense when they are roughly handled or feel threatened.
The result is high acute pain and itchiness. However, some people experience an overreaction, including anaphylaxis, requiring urgent medical help and antihistamines.
9. Black carpenter bees
Carpenter bees are black, 0.75 to 1 inch (19 – 25.4 mm) long insects with hairless abdomens, which rarely bite. You can see these beneficial pollinators around your home and in the garden near trees.
While males don’t have stings, females can bite people when trying to handle them directly, although they are not generally aggressive.
This bee bite is painful and followed by a red bump and swollen skin, and you can help yourself by removing the stinger from the bitten spot. Symptoms typically disappear in a few hours unless causing an allergic reaction.
10. Kissing bugs
These 0.50 to 1 inch (12.70 – 25.4 mm) long black or dark brown wingless insects got their name because they typically bite around mouths. The bite is painless, but it leaves a swollen area that reminds of hives, followed by itching that lasts about a week.
They are common in yards with animals nearby and feed on their blood. Even though they are practically harmless to humans, they become a severe problem when biting multiple times or defecating near the mouth.
According to research, more than half of these bugs transmit the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, causing American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease). Approximately 300,000 people get sick annually in the US, and 30% develop complications, including heart failure and cardiac arrest.
11. Deer flies
Deer flies are yellow to black, blood-sucking insects. Their females use scissor-like mouthparts to bite, leaving painful marks and swelling on the irritated skin. Symptoms typically disappear within a day or two except in a case of an allergic reaction.
You can notice these 0.25 to 1.25 inches (6.35 – 31.75 mm) long creatures near cattle-keeping areas. Since they lay more eggs when sucking more blood, their attack intensity varies depending on conditions.
These sizable, black-to-dark brown flies are approximately 0.75 to 1.25 inches (19 – 31.75 mm) long. Their females use adapted, scissors-like mouthparts to bite, while males serve only for mating and attack neither humans nor animals.
Bites are painful and cause redness and raised skin in the bitten area. Interestingly, bright clothes and essential oils repel them away, allowing sufficient protection.
13. Black flies (Buffalo gnats)
Black flies are bugs with a length of 0.05 to 0.30 inches (1.27 – 7.6 mm). They fiercely bite humans and animals, typically in the head and neck. It is recorded that a massive swarm of these insects can kill a bird.
Their goal is to cut through your skin and suck blood, causing pain. The worst thing is that they are impossible to notice on time because of their mini size.
14. Blister beetles (Spanish fly)
Blister beetles are black or tan to amber insects with three black stripes along their back. They are typically 0.37 to 1 inch (9.4 – 25.4 mm) long creatures living on alfalfa crops.
These beetles actually never bite except when you try to crush them after landing on your skin. However, their primary harmfulness is in their capability to produce cantharidin. This caustic chemical causes painful blisters on exposed skin and potentially dermatitis.
15. Stag beetles
Stag beetles are spectacular black or brown insects typically long from 1.20 to 2 inches (30.50 – 51 mm). Males are slightly longer and have sizable jaws reminding of stag antlers.
These insects spend their larvae stage underground, while adults come out during a few summer weeks to mate and reproduce. They are entirely harmless and rarely bite. Even if it happens while roughly handled, their bite is too weak to hurt you.
16. Black house spiders
While female Black house spiders are 0.50 to 0.70 inches (12 – 18 mm) long, their males are smaller and reach only 0.35 to 0.60 inches (9 – 15 mm). These black or dark brown arachnids are timid and bite only occasionally.
Once they bite you, you will experience pain and local skin swelling, rarely giddiness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. On the other hand, they are highly beneficial and keep your home free of insects.
Hornets are 1.50 to 2 inches (38 – 50 mm) long black bugs, but you can also see black and white or black and yellow variations. They are not as aggressive as wasps but will bite you when they consider you a threat or you endanger their nests.
Their bites are painful, followed by itching, swelling, and redness, but without long-term effects. Placing ice on the affected area will solve the problem within a half hour unless you are allergic. In that case, ask for medical help immediately.
How to Prevent Biting and React After Being Bitten?
The result of biting is always redness on the skin surface and more or less painful bumps. Unfortunately, some bites can be toxic, cause allergic reactions, or even become a way of disease transmission.
Wash the bitten area with soapy water and apply ice over the bump to reduce swelling and relieve rash, itching, and irritation. Avoid scratching your skin to prevent an infection after rubbing bug feces onto its surface.
When you face long-lasting skin changes or feel bad and have nausea, vomiting, and fever, you must call an emergency and ask for medical help. The next thing is to find a way to eliminate bugs from your home by:
- Cleaning the house thoroughly
- Installing an air filter
- Using bug spray
- Installing UV bug lamps
You can also follow some tips to avoid tiny black bugs bites, such as:
- Dressing in long-sleeved clothes
- Avoiding walking out of the trail when hiking
- Camping away from animal habitats
- Regular applying insect spray
- Planting eucalyptus in your yard
Remember that some bugs never bite intentionally but only when they feel threatened or accidentally. In this case, it is impossible to prevent such an inconvenience, regardless of the measures taken.
Numerous tiny black bugs that bite live outdoors, but some can invade your home and cause health issues after biting you. Knowing how to differentiate harmless bugs from those that can severely hurt you and cause an allergic reaction or transmit diseases is vital.