What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

carnivorous menace
Location: San Francisco, CA
July 24, 2011 1:58 pm
I woke to find this little guy biting my arm. It raised a small welt that faded in an hour or so. I hope not to meet any more, but I’m curious who I’m dealing with. I had a look through the catalog here, but didn’t spot this fellow. (I’m just glad it’s not a bedbug.) Do you recognize it?
Signature: Breakfast Buffet

Aphid Wolf

Dear Breakfast Buffet,
The larval Lacewing deserves its common name Aphid Wolf.  This predator is a welcome addition to the garden where it will devour countless Aphids.  Here is a photo from a posting in our archives showing an Aphid Wolf feasting on its preferred meal, Aphids.  We have frequently gotten reports from people regarding the sensation of the bite from an Aphid Wolf, and just last week, Daniel had his own first hand experience that is worth reporting.  While driving to work in the morning, Daniel felt a slight pinch on his right wrist, and looked down to find a tiny Aphid Wolf biting down.  The sensation of the pinch was far greater than one would expect from such a tiny creature.  Since Daniel knew that this was a harmless creature, he decided to allow the Aphid Wolf to ride until the destination was reached where it could be released, and in the course of the remaining ten minute drive, the beast bit a second time.  Both bites left tiny welts, and the faint burning sensation lasted until the next day.  We frequently have to inform our readership that insects might sting and bite, but they are not aggressive.  This Aphid Wolf was not provoked, and it bit nonetheless.  The sensation was easily felt and the side effects of an itchy welt lasted 24 hours, considerably less than the bite of a mosquito which is far more annoying.  Aphid Wolves are amazing creatures, and in some of our older postings, we have used an alternate name of Aphid Lion.

Aphid Wolf

Thanks, Daniel!  I’ve delivered the aphid wolf to a friend who’s having an aphid problem.  🙂

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California

22 Responses to Aphid Wolf bites human

  1. carolynk says:

    I have been getting bitten by these for the past couple months on my legs, arms, chest and back. no one else does, I am the only one who waters the flowers in the garden every morning and evening, I have them in my house how do I get rid of them ?

  2. aphidwolfbait says:

    carolynk: You are not alone in being bitten by these insects. Since moving to Illinois, I have been bitten by aphid wolves at least 6 times (I’ve identified the bug biting me.) Unfortunately, I have had allergic reactions to the bites. The first time, I ended up with hives all over my body. About a month ago I was bitten again and the itching was so intense I had to sleep with ice packs AND pound the highest recommended oral Benadryl dosage. Do you have pets who may be transporting them indoors? (I concluded that’s how I was bitten inside my house.) This is why I am “aphid wolf bait.”

    • bugman says:

      We are so sorry to hear you have an adverse reaction to an otherwise beneficial insect.

    • robert christopherson says:

      my wife also has an allergic reaction to the bites. Once even had big blisters on her big toe from an ankle bite. We are in Nampa Idaho.

    • Nancy M says:

      I am an aphid wolf target too. When they bite me, I swell up into quarter size welts that itch like CRAZY and pop and ooze. I too have to sleep with ice packs and pound the benedryl. This goes on for at least 2 weeks. I would LOVE to know how to get rid of these little bastards. They live in my massive Maple tree.

  3. shirley hill says:

    we are being bit by some very small little bug that you can barely see-when you shine a florescent light in a dark room you will see them rise up like white dust-we do not know how to get rid of them-they bite and we are consistently itching-please tell us what we can do to get rid of them

  4. crosswind says:

    I suggest buying natural Pest deterrent spray/ lotion or making homemade with natural essential oils Natural bug sprays with Neem oil are safer & effective from biting bugs. you can also plant flowers & herbs that pests hate. rosemary is one that is supposed to be a BIG pest deterrent to the yard.

  5. BitMeToo says:

    Thanks so much for this informative site.

    I too have been bitten by Aphid Lions and like “AphidWolfBait” I had a severe allergic reaction.

    In my case, the bites itch and burn more than anything I have ever experienced. They area around the bites will be come very swollen and inflamed. In one case my arm was so swollen that I could not bend my wrist. And, the inflammation was so extreme that I could not be in the sun for several days.
    I post this to help others who may be allergic find info on an obscure little bug to avoid. To me, the defining characteristics of this bite is extreme itch and burning.
    I realize these are beneficial bugs but for those of us with allergies it’s helpful to know so we can avoid or cover up in gardens.

  6. Lene says:

    My aphid bug bites last seven days it is very swollen and it itches and burns for five days but then disappears on the seventh day and sometimes it comes back after about three week

  7. shirley hill says:

    there are bugs that we can not see with the naked eye that is living on my disabled son and has been for 2 years-we have had bug control and also are forever spraying our house and yard for everything and nothing works. no one seems to care about helping with something they can not see-they just want money-the bugs are also on me-have not idea what it is and how we can get rid of them-has been treated constantly-they just will not go away-please help us-one time we think it is mites and now maybe chiggers-live among pine trees-please help if you can

  8. shirley hill says:

    01/08/16-still got them and no relief in site-just need to know what it is and what we can
    do to get rid of them

  9. Laura says:

    Please clarify….

    If you can’t see them how do you know they are bugs or are on you?

    What are your symptoms?

    • shirley hill says:

      they have been on my disabled son for 3 yrs-they are also in the incision on his back from a spine operation-it took awhile, but they are on me now-they do not get on me when i leave my house, but are forever on my son. he has lupus & diabetes, degenerative bone, disc & arthritis diseases. there are bugs or mites or something-they bite & leave that spot & go to another spot.we cannot see them, but under an outside motion desenser light-you can see them-they are running us nuts!!!

      • Renee H. says:

        Try using diatomaceous earth, use it on you and your son’s skin like you would corn starch or baby powder. Put it on your beds, and couch, and any soft surfaces use it on the carpet at night or during the day then vacuum in the morning. Neen oil is also great for this.

  10. MamaWolf says:

    I was walking in my backyard and in which we have a huge Magnolia Tree which I crossed under and not long after I felt this horrible sting and then another and another, thinking a bee or maybe a wasp has crawled down my shorts while picking up the yard I all but ran trying to wiggle the thing biting me out (if my neighbors had not been out I would of ripped my shorts off!) needless to say I ended up with 9 bites on my backside and welts ranging in size from a .50cent piece being the smallest to the largest being the size of baseball with blisters that would sting off and for the next hour and itch and burn like crazy for the next 7 days. come to find out the Magnolia Tree has a huge branch covered in these little guys.. They pack a heck of a punch..

  11. Lou Lou says:

    How do I get these off of me and out of my house please somebody help me I’ve been to the hospital swollen to no end constantly tired they’re in my mouth even

    • Laura Tourin says:

      I wish I knew. They eat aphids so you might start there. If you have a lot of aphids you can purchase bags of lady bugs and release on the affected plants at dusk. Presumably, fewer aphids = fewer aphid lions.

      I have NO plants on my patio and guess they drop off of the overhanging tree.

  12. Deborah Erikson says:

    Have your house fumigated and maybe UV lamp for u or soak in herbal oils that bugs hate.

  13. Laura Tourin says:

    Deborah, people on this forum frown on exterminating beneficial bugs like this one. ☺
    The ones who got to me were dropping from a HOA owned tree overhanging my patio. I assume the tree had their primary food source, aphids. Few get into homes.
    I did speak to the gardener about this but since almost no one knows about this tiny bug, I was met with a blank stare. LOL.

  14. M. Robideaux says:

    I had a aphid wolf bite on my ankle. It turned into two huge blisters and I had to go to the emergency room at the hospital. They were not sure what it was but I couldn’t wear shoes for a month. The doctor finally broke the blisters and I had to soak my foot for a week until it got better. I think they are coming from under the house. What can I do to keep them from coming in the house? (Drives me crazy?)

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