This just stung/bit my baby! What is it??
August 7, 2009
This bug was in the pool and could swim, it was hiding on the tile and bit/stung my son. His hand is swelling up but I dont know what it is to even start treating it. Please help!
Orlando Florida



I just identified this same insect that bit/stung my baby son this morning.  We were in the pool and he started shreaking.  I have googled for hours to find out how to treat this wound.
I need to know if its poisonous and if I should do something medically for my son.   Any information would be helpful

Toe-Biter: Dead after biting Child in Pool

Toe-Biter: Dead after biting Child in Pool

Dear Nicole,
We should begin this answer by stating that we are not scientists and any information that we provide, though we do research our replies as thoroughly as possible, is an amateur opinion.  Secondly, we are not trained in the medical profession and do not give medical advice for bites and stings.  Third, we do not normally provide parenting advice, but we feel you should have sought professional medical attention for your son immediately rather than to try to self diagnose on the internet.  Any information you receive on the internet, and that includes What’s That Bug?, should be considered questionable at best.
The bite of a Toe-Biter or Giant Water Bug is reported to be quite painful, and you son’s reaction to the bite would tend to support that notion.  Giant Water Bugs are not considered dangerous or venomous insects, but the swelling of your son’s hand may be cause for concern.  We would counsel you to seek medical attention.
We at What’s that Bug would like to use this encounter with the Toe-Biter as a cautionary tale that is instructive and might  reduce Unnecessary Carnage of bugs that appear menacing in the future.  Toe-Biters are not normally aggressive, but they will bite if threatened or carelessly handled.  This is not a reason to kill them when they are encountered as they perform a necessary function in a balanced ecosystem by preying upon other aquatic creatures.  It should also be noted that if a person is bitten by a questionable insect, spider, or scorpion, it is often helpful to have the actual specimen handy for experts to diagnose the potential need for venom antibodies.  So in this sense, we do not consider this particular dead Toe-Biter to be Unnecessary Carnage.
We wish your son a speedy recovery and hope his trauma is short-lived and that he will learn to appreciate the sometimes scary world of nature that abounds around him.

Unnecessary Carnage Comment
August 9, 2009
RE: unnecessary carnage
I love your site, and visit it several times a day. Many thanks for posting such lovely images and so much information (you helped me ID a one-eyed Sphinx moth here in Seattle)! I also love the fact that you tell folks when they have committed an act of unnecessary carnage, but sadly, you have been very hesitant to do so lately… Please don’t let one or two unhinged people keep you from providing a vital service- letting humans know that insects are innocent until proven guilty!
Leah S.

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20 Responses to Toe-Biter Smashed after biting Child

  1. india says:

    toe biters have been said to infect your muscles…. the sting only lasts for a while but the deteriorating muscle does not

  2. india says:

    besides i caught one today and have it as a pet…. so i researched it….

  3. Yasmine Cuellar says:

    Unnecessary carnage? What a retarded thing to say; what the f^#k is unnecessary about pulverizing a bug that just stung the shit out of you when you don’t even know if it was poisonous or not? The bug certainly didn’t think its carnage upon the baby was “unnecessary” so he deserved to get smashed. It’s all about survival so if a human encounters something that is trespassing then it is going to get smashed. And you wonder why alot of people think animal lovers are sick in the head, it’s because you dorks put animals over human beings.

    • bugman says:

      Mind your cussing tongue. Many children use our site, so we are censoring your comment.

    • Joshua S Matthews says:

      Yup we should put our ecosystem first. You wouldn’t exist without it. If you actually read the entire article you would see where they said they understood why the bug was killed. In most cases its unnessary to kill bugs because most of you do out of fear. So chill out

    • Tricia says:

      I could not have said it better! When I read that…. I was like what the $&@/?! It bit her child! Call me a Mama Bear, but that is grounds for immediate extermination. One of these jokers latched on to my Maltese’s paw (ironic I am now learning it is a “toe-biter” how original!) we were at a dog park that had a little drainage issue where there was about an inch deep long puddle covered in grass. My husband and I both tried to pull this blood sucker off, all the while the dog was crying out and flipping out (he weighs 7 lbs soaking wet). Eventually, my husband went to his truck and pulled out some hedge clippers and quickly chopped its head off!!! Well deserved! He DID drop his meal then! Bastard!! I am an animal lover but you gotta draw the line somewhere! #ManUpAgainstTheBloodSuckers

    • Rob says:

      I fully agree and plus it would be our first instinct to try and kill it if it bit you unexpectedly, not pick it up and see if it’s friendly, the thing just stung you so it gets what it gets, so it is.

  4. Yasmine Cuellar says:

    So knowing about Toe-Biters will reduce “unnecessary carnage”? Even if the person who smashes the Toe-Biter that bit them knows or doesn’t know about Toe-Biters still wouldn’t be committing unnecessary carnage lol.

  5. dee says:

    PARENTS: If your child is bitten by an insect, it is wiser to take them straight to the doctor/hospital than to hit the Internet with questions, should anaphylaxis occur. Local medical professionals may have dealt with it before….RE: “UNDUE CARNAGE” – It IS undue, as in unnecessary, unless a specimen is necessary for identification purposes. All creatures use defense mechanisms when threatened. There is no gain in killing them… Think of it like this: If somebody approached from behind and accidentally frightened you and you reacted instinctively, punched them in the stomach, would they be justified in punishing you with criminal prosecution? Nope. – “Carnage” may be a strong word but the message is clear. It is FACT that killing them is unnecessary.

    • Randall Mille says:

      You’re a moron. And you’re comparing apples to oranges……

      • bugman says:

        What’s That Bug? does not promote name calling, though if the behavior of one of our current presidential candidates is any indication, more and more people might be considering such behavior to be normal.

      • Tricia (former law student, yes, really) in Orlando, FL says:

        Agreed! How would she otherwise describe this bug that bit her child?! When a by latches onto you and starts sucking your blood (and possibly passing on Disease and usually a lot of pain) it becomes necessary to KILL it (or otherwise trap it which is hard to do when you are sucker punched via a bug latches on to you or your child or your pet). I really cannot believe that anyone would bash this Mother for killing this bug! Ridiculous! And any site that condones this is equally ridiculous. As for your analogy, yes, in state of Florida you CAN press charges given your stated facts. However, if you use a gun to shoot the person who spooked you (and you felt threatened) well now, THAT is NOT prohibited and you will most likely not go to jail or perhaps. not even be arrested (go figure).

  6. Infinexos says:

    For some reason, I’ve always been interested in aquatic creatures. Maybe I was one in a past life lol. Anyways, I saw these things floating in my pool before I jumped in and decided I should probably see what type of insect it is to be safe, so thank you all for the information!

  7. Joshua Stiltner says:

    The giant water bug is venomus. It’s ranked at the worst pain inflicted by a insect. Alot of miss information is in the reply. You must of never lived around these bugs or swam in a river with them. These bugs are very aggressive and they use their powerful pinchers to pull you in and inject its fang full of digestive fluid in ya. When u are walking bare foot or swimming with in eye shot of them they strike and they strike hard. After you are hit once you never make the mistake of not wearing shows while playing in the creek. While very painful and high risk of infection you can skip seeing a doctor but watch out for infection. I am a rn nurse at a emergency room and I see hundreds of these every summer.

  8. Nancy says:

    I was bit today while in my room and now I have a very painful swollen toe, did not have time to research to make sure it wasn’t dangerous, so I killed it.

  9. Niklaus says:

    Eat what you kill or don’t kill it 🙂

    • AKredhed says:

      Side note: our family practices ‘eat what you kill’ and we went to Texas for a hunt and I got an armadillo… the claim owner was pretty rude but didn’t mention anything. I was so proud, I cooked it up and ate it and when the claim owner saw he slapped my on the back and said – y’all know I thought you just shot that for fun… I responded God no, we just needed something for dinner and we hadn’t gotten a javelina or deer all day. After dinner he told me they consider them cockroaches or coons (destructive little Bs). I let him know I wouldn’t eat either a raccoon or cockroach but grasshoppers and now ‘dillers I enjoy. I think if more people practiced that they’d at least think twice before taking a life. : ]

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