Blood Worms and Biting: Understanding the Facts

Do bloodworms bite, or are they harmless? As many anglers know, bloodworms are biters and can give out painful stings. But how do they do it? And are they poisonous? Let’s find out.

So you know that bloodworms are excellent fishing baits and a great source of nutrients for your pet fish. But do you know that these tiny worms can deliver painful bites to humans? 

Yes, it is true these creatures have strong hollow jaws that can be used to bite and inflict extreme pain. But how much damage can these bites cause? Do they release poison? Do they attack very often?

All of these questions will be answered in this article, so you can deal with these worms without the fear of getting hurt. 

Do Blood Worms Bite?

Are Bloodworms Dangerous?

Bloodworms are mostly found in still marine waters, freshwater ponds, and other sources. Due to the presence of hemoglobin, these worms can even survive in polluted waters. 

Bloodworms are larva that grows up to be the chironomid midge. These insects are harmless to humans and pets. 

However, in the larva stage, these bloodworms are carnivorous in nature and use venom to kill prey. 

Although these worms are excellent fish food for your aquatic pets, try not to pick the bigger ones, as they might attack the smaller fish in the tank. 

Also, you must know that live bloodworms are capable of inviting parasites and diseases that can affect the pet fish. 

Therefore it is better to go with frozen bloodworms; these might be a little low in nutrients, but they are safe. 

Can They Bite? 

Bloodworms are capable of biting humans and pets. The bites can be as painful as a bee sting. Therefore 

Apart from the high pain, bloodworm bites are pretty harmless for humans, but there is a little chance that the bite may cause an allergic reaction in the body. 

In such an event, immediately rush to the nearest hospital. If you are using these worms as fishing bait or fish food, you must handle them with care. 

However, the redworm venom doesn’t affect fish, which means you can feed them to the pet fish comfortably.  

What Are Bloodworms

Are They Poisonous?

As mentioned earlier, bloodworms are carnivorous in nature, and they use venom for hunting prey. 

Not only are their bites similar to those of bees and wasps, but the venom also shows similar toxin genes compared to wasp venoms. 

Interestingly the bloodworm venom also shows a few similarities with other creatures, the duck-billed platypus. 

After conducting a complete study of venom found in bloodworms, some would call it complex cocktails of venom from different types of dangerous creatures around the world. 

But, as we stated earlier, the toxin found in these worms is mostly harmless to humans. In rare cases, the bites can trigger an allergic reaction in your body. 

If you have an allergic reaction, you might notice signs like redness around the wound, itching, and swelling. Try washing your hands and the injury correctly if this happens. If the symptoms become worst, immediately seek medical help. 

Are They Aggressive?

Bloodworms usually do not bite humans until they feel highly threatened. When they bite humans, they are not looking to suck out blood; it is a usual defensive display. 

Therefore if you are using live bloodworms as fish bait or fish food, it is advisable to use gloves to handle them without getting hurt. 

What Do Bloodworms Eat?

Bloodworms are found in still marine waters, and since they are good predators, they kill and consume small prey like tiny insects, crustaceans, insect larvae, and more.

They use their venom to kill these creatures. These worms have four hollow jaws in the proboscis that they use to inject venom into the prey. 

The bloodworms can also survive by consuming decaying organic matter present in the water bodies, like decaying plants and leaves. 

What Are Bloodworms
Blood Worms

Frequently Asked Questions 

What does a bloodworm bite look like?

Bloodworms use the four hollow jaws present in their proboscis to bite prey and humans. They use these jaws to transfer the toxins from the venom gland to the body of the victim. 
So if a blood worm bites, you will notice the mark of four fangs buried in your skin. The bites are almost as painful as a bee sting. 

Do blood worms bite humans?

Yes, bloodworms will bite humans if they feel threatened. The bites are highly painful and can almost be similar to that of a wasp or a bee. 
Although they don’t cause any significant harm to humans, they are capable of triggering allergic reactions in the body. 
Therefore you should always handle them with care and wear gloves while handling these worms. 

Can bloodworms hurt you?

Yes, bloodworms can hurt you by biting. The pain caused by these bites is highly intense; it is almost similar to a bee sting. 
These worms have venom in them that is similar to the toxins found in wasps and bees. 
Thus, the bite can cause an allergic reaction in the body. You might experience extreme irritation in the wound, followed by redness and swelling in the same area.  

How do you get blood worms?

Almost every local aquarium will have a good stock of bloodworms. You can purchase them in three forms live, frozen, and freeze-dried. 
Not every store sells live bloodworms, but you will find the other two varieties quite easily. You can buy frozen bloodworms as they are almost similar to live bloodworms in terms of nutritional value. 
You can also buy freeze-dried worms if you are on a budget. There are online options available for purchasing them as well. 

Wrap Up

Bloodworms are extremely useful as fish food and fishing baits, but approaching and handling these worms without properly knowing about them is foolish. 

These worms can be dangerous for humans; therefore, use the information provided in this article to avoid the painful bites of these worms as you try to feed them to your beloved aquatic pets. 

Even if you get bitten by them, do not panic; wash the wound properly and follow the instructions given above to deal with allergy symptoms. 

Also, pay close attention to how you are feeding these worms to the fish. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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