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Do They bite?

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Old Friday 23rd March 2007, 22:10   #1
AnotherNightOwl
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Do They bite?

Do Dragonfly's bite?

I don't have any interest in dragonfly's , although i do think some of them have a gorgeous colour. I am also amazed at how such a large insect can fly with such small, delicate and fragile looking wings.

The reason i ask "Do Dragonfly's bite?" is because my missus is scared stiff of them. She runs around squeeling like a scalded cat if one comes near her.

If i could tell her they don't bite, she might give up the squeeling...she would still run though...just a lot quieter.

If they do bite, i may well join her.
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Old Friday 23rd March 2007, 22:57   #2
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LOL

Dragonflies do not sting or bite, the fearsome looking ''sting'' is only used for laying eggs (ovipositer)

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Old Friday 23rd March 2007, 23:23   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt green
LOL

Dragonflies do not sting or bite, the fearsome looking ''sting'' is only used for laying eggs (ovipositer)

Matt
Thank's for that Matt.

I can now put the missus mind (mouth) at rest. All will now be peaceful as she runs around...and i don't have to join her.
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Old Sunday 25th March 2007, 12:46   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherNightOwl
Thank's for that Matt.

I can now put the missus mind (mouth) at rest. All will now be peaceful as she runs around...and i don't have to join her.

Hate to put the cat among the pigeons but I've been bitten by a dragonfly.

It was a (near) roadkill that I picked up from the pavement & it bit me-my fault. Dragonflies, as with most of the insect world, will not go out of their way to attack humans.
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Old Sunday 25th March 2007, 14:11   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imaginos
Hate to put the cat among the pigeons but I've been bitten by a dragonfly.

It was a (near) roadkill that I picked up from the pavement & it bit me-my fault. Dragonflies, as with most of the insect world, will not go out of their way to attack humans.
Waaaaah!!!!!!!

...actually, I did read how they will sometimes ''attempt'' to bite if you capture one and hurt it, in most instances they would fail to break the skin!

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Old Sunday 25th March 2007, 15:02   #6
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The important thing to know is that you won't get bitten if you don't handle them + even then it's relatively rare, so they are not going to home in on you like a Horse Fly.

I can understand people being a bit wary when an inquisitive southern Hawker repeatedly comes in close if you're not aware that they don't possess a sting- me I love when they come in close!
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Old Sunday 25th March 2007, 21:30   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherNightOwl
Do Dragonfly's bite?

I don't have any interest in dragonfly's , although i do think some of them have a gorgeous colour. I am also amazed at how such a large insect can fly with such small, delicate and fragile looking wings.

The reason i ask "Do Dragonfly's bite?" is because my missus is scared stiff of them. She runs around squeeling like a scalded cat if one comes near her.

If i could tell her they don't bite, she might give up the squeeling...she would still run though...just a lot quieter.

If they do bite, i may well join her.

About four years ago at a meeting of the BDS one female member had a Golden-ringed Dragonfly land on her hand. She moved a finger of her other hand too close to the insect to point out some feature, whereupon it took hold of her finger, her reaction was to rapidly pull the digit out of the way and in doing so tore off the head of the dragonfly.

This is a very rare occurrence indeed, no one is going to be hurt by a dragonfly biting them.

I've been handing wild bees for nearly half a century, without any form of protection and haven't been stung yet. A Dragonfly bite, even if it happened to you, shouldn't cause any harm. Your likely to be in far more trouble with a Mosquito bite (or should I say stab).

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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 10:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales
This is a very rare occurrence indeed, no one is going to be hurt by a dragonfly biting them.Harry
This is the important point, I find it difficult to believe that a dragonfly "bite" would actually inflict pain or break the skin and in truth if it does neither then it cannot really be called a "bite".

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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 12:16   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speckled wood
This is the important point, I find it difficult to believe that a dragonfly "bite" would actually inflict pain or break the skin and in truth if it does neither then it cannot really be called a "bite".

SW
Hello SW,

Technically speaking you are correct, but sadly, most people use our language incorrectly much of the time.

E.G. Most people would refer to a Mosquito or Midge attack as a 'bite', when in fact it is a 'stab' by a very fine tubular organ. This 'stab' is, in itself, painless, what people refer to as the 'bite,' is actually their own bodies allergic reaction to the anti-coagulants injected by the insect, in order for it to obtain a free flowing supply of blood.

To 'bite' something you need jaws and teeth, which is something blood sucking insects don't posess.

I suppose that a large dragonfly may just be capable of giving a light 'nip' but it's not worth worrying about, and certainly no reason to have a panic attack if one flies past.

Harry
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 12:37   #10
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Apologies for going off thread a bit, but as harry is with us, is it possible for any of our native spiders to inflict a bite/stap?

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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 12:52   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt green
Apologies for going off thread a bit, but as harry is with us, is it possible for any of our native spiders to inflict a bite/stap?

Matt
Hello Matt,

I've little interest or experience in British Spiders so I cannot answer from experience. But, given that some spiders can penetrate the chitinous exoskeleton of a fairly large butterfly or moth, I presume that human skin could also be penetrated by their biting fangs.

Most of my experience of spiders has come from lady friends who have asked me to call around ASAP to remove 'great hairy dogs' from their bath tubs. lol.

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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 15:39   #12
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I don't think that many British spider species can penetrate human skin. Argyroneta aquatica, the water spider, can give you a nip and some of the largest house spiders may just about manage it.
Dysdera crocota, the woodlouse spider, has fangs that are strong enough to penetrate the chitinous carapace of woodlice and is known to be able to bite humans. It's been described as feeling like a slightly less painful version of a queen bee sting.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 15:50   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt green
Apologies for going off thread a bit, but as harry is with us, is it possible for any of our native spiders to inflict a bite/stap?

Matt
Many years ago Matt,

I picked up a spider to remove it out of harms way.At the time my daughter was very young and would have killed it trying to play with it. Just as i had got it outside, i felt it nip,bite,stab (don't know the correct term) me, and i dropped it rapidly. I know some people may find that hard to believe, i would have probably been the same had it not happened to me.I still remove spiders from our home and put them outside, it just took a long time for me to do it again. Although i now pick them up again, it has never happened since.

Please don't ask me what spider it was, or to describe it because i can't remember. It happened many,many years ago.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 15:58   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mis
I don't think that many British spider species can penetrate human skin. Argyroneta aquatica, the water spider, can give you a nip and some of the largest house spiders may just about manage it.
Dysdera crocota, the woodlouse spider, has fangs that are strong enough to penetrate the chitinous carapace of woodlice and is known to be able to bite humans. It's been described as feeling like a slightly less painful version of a queen bee sting.

Hi Mis,

When i was bitten,nipped, whatever you call it, it certainly felt like a sting to me. I can't compare it to a wasp or a bee as i have never been stung by either as yet.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 16:09   #15
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I haven't been nipped or stung by a spider either. I'm not their greatest fan even though I'm interested in them!
If they can break the skin and inject venom then it will feel like a sting.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 16:24   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales
About four years ago at a meeting of the BDS one female member had a Golden-ringed Dragonfly land on her hand. She moved a finger of her other hand too close to the insect to point out some feature, whereupon it took hold of her finger, her reaction was to rapidly pull the digit out of the way and in doing so tore off the head of the dragonfly.

This is a very rare occurrence indeed, no one is going to be hurt by a dragonfly biting them.

Harry
Hi Harry,

If the Dragonfly lost it's head, it certainly sounds like more than a nip to me.
It must have had a good hold on the lady's finger from what you described to have happened. It must have hurt her.

By the way, how did she remove the head from her finger afterwards?

I know what you mean about panic attack harry, but i think it's a combination of size, the large head, eyes and jaws/mandibles? and also the noise as they fly near you that makes my missus respond the way she does.
The daft thing is she will pick up spiders, woodlice and a lot of other insects.

Wasp's are my thing to worry about.
I don't run around screaming "wasp,wasp get rid of the wasp"if they get into our home, but that's only because i can't run... I walk screaming "wasp,wasp get rid of the wasp".
As much as i worry about wasp's, and bee's to some degree, if my missus is out i will try and get it out of the window...It's always in the wasp's best interest's to leave quickly. Bee's can take their time...but they must still leave.

Last edited by AnotherNightOwl : Monday 26th March 2007 at 16:41.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 18:59   #17
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Agreed, Harry. It's not likely that odonates, any more than beetles would attack humans or any other large animal *but* they might do so in defence. Someone mentioned 'venom' - this doesn't come with onsect bites! Ditto someone mentioned the possibility of attack from the tail (as with a scorpion?) - doesn't happen!
On the other hand, dragonfly larvae are quite ferocious so don't dangle your toes in a natural pond!

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales
Technically speaking you are correct, but sadly, most people use our language incorrectly much of the time.
E.G. Most people would refer to a Mosquito or Midge attack as a 'bite', when in fact it is a 'stab' by a very fine tubular organ. This 'stab' is, in itself, painless, what people refer to as the 'bite,' is actually their own bodies allergic reaction to the anti-coagulants injected by the insect, in order for it to obtain a free flowing supply of blood.
To 'bite' something you need jaws and teeth, which is something blood sucking insects don't posess.
I suppose that a large dragonfly may just be capable of giving a light 'nip' but it's not worth worrying about, and certainly no reason to have a panic attack if one flies past.
Harry
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 20:41   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherNightOwl
Hi Harry,

If the Dragonfly lost it's head, it certainly sounds like more than a nip to me.
It must have had a good hold on the lady's finger from what you described to have happened. It must have hurt her.

By the way, how did she remove the head from her finger afterwards?

I know what you mean about panic attack harry, but i think it's a combination of size, the large head, eyes and jaws/mandibles? and also the noise as they fly near you that makes my missus respond the way she does.
The daft thing is she will pick up spiders, woodlice and a lot of other insects.

Wasp's are my thing to worry about.
I don't run around screaming "wasp,wasp get rid of the wasp"if they get into our home, but that's only because i can't run... I walk screaming "wasp,wasp get rid of the wasp".
As much as i worry about wasp's, and bee's to some degree, if my missus is out i will try and get it out of the window...It's always in the wasp's best interest's to leave quickly. Bee's can take their time...but they must still leave.
Hello AnotherNightOwl,

I think the girls reaction was an automatic response to the 'bite'. A dragonflies head is attached to it's thorax by a very thin (thread sized) neck it would be only too easy to break it.

I wasn't present when this incident happened, but I doubt that removal would have been at all difficult.

The thing to remember with all insects is to move slowly and not alarm them, bees and wasps can be handled with without risk if you are gentle.

Familiarity with insects will overcome any fear, try sitting close to the water of a stream or river where there is an abundance of Banded Demoiselles. If you sit very still it will not be long before one or more will use your leg or arm as a resting place. Larger Hawkers moths will do the same if you remain still.
I even managed to photograph one resting on my Tee shirt whilst I was wearing it.

There is nothing to fear from any of our resident insects, they're not going to kill you. Care should be excercised in handling a few of them. Waterboatmen or Back swimmers can stab you with their rostrum as can other true 'Bugs' Water Scorpions can also nip quite painfully, some caterpillers have irritating hairs which sting like nettles, but none are at all dangerous or lethal. Irritating perhaps but that's all.

In some 15 years of crawling around peat bogs and mires for at least three months each year I have been bitten by Adders six times. After the first time when I was admittedly, a little worried, I didn't even bother doing to the doctors. My leg swells up but that goes away in a few days. It was mostly my own fault anyway as I wear shorts when in such wet environments for convenience. Wet jeans are uncomfortable if you have to wear them for several hours. Adders are the only venemous creature in Britain but only five people died from their bites in the whole of the 20th.C. Three were very young children and two were elderly people with severe heart problems.

There is nothing at all to fear from any of Britains insect life.

Harry
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 21:34   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales
In some 15 years of crawling around peat bogs and mires for at least three months each year I have been bitten by Adders six times. After the first time when I was admittedly, a little worried, I didn't even bother doing to the doctors. My leg swells up but that goes away in a few days. It was mostly my own fault anyway as I wear shorts when in such wet environments for convenience. Wet jeans are uncomfortable if you have to wear them for several hours. Adders are the only venemous creature in Britain but only five people died from their bites in the whole of the 20th.C. Three were very young children and two were elderly people with severe heart problems.

There is nothing at all to fear from any of Britains insect life.

Harry
A very informative post Harry, cheers

It's a shame that much of the information in this thread is still not common knowledge among the general public, aswell as the many thousands of insects that get swatted each summer many of the rarer species also suffer at the hands of ignorance.

Last summer I was told of how several adders had been killed by a man on the norfolk coast who's young son had been bitten, a great shame and I expect countless grass snakes have also been killed as a result of being mistaken for adders.

Matt

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Old Tuesday 27th March 2007, 07:52   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales
Hello AnotherNightOwl,

I think the girls reaction was an automatic response to the 'bite'. A dragonflies head is attached to it's thorax by a very thin (thread sized) neck it would be only too easy to break it.

I wasn't present when this incident happened, but I doubt that removal would have been at all difficult.

The thing to remember with all insects is to move slowly and not alarm them, bees and wasps can be handled with without risk if you are gentle.

Familiarity with insects will overcome any fear, try sitting close to the water of a stream or river where there is an abundance of Banded Demoiselles. If you sit very still it will not be long before one or more will use your leg or arm as a resting place. Larger Hawkers moths will do the same if you remain still.
I even managed to photograph one resting on my Tee shirt whilst I was wearing it.

There is nothing to fear from any of our resident insects, they're not going to kill you. Care should be excercised in handling a few of them. Waterboatmen or Back swimmers can stab you with their rostrum as can other true 'Bugs' Water Scorpions can also nip quite painfully, some caterpillers have irritating hairs which sting like nettles, but none are at all dangerous or lethal. Irritating perhaps but that's all.

In some 15 years of crawling around peat bogs and mires for at least three months each year I have been bitten by Adders six times. After the first time when I was admittedly, a little worried, I didn't even bother doing to the doctors. My leg swells up but that goes away in a few days. It was mostly my own fault anyway as I wear shorts when in such wet environments for convenience. Wet jeans are uncomfortable if you have to wear them for several hours. Adders are the only venemous creature in Britain but only five people died from their bites in the whole of the 20th.C. Three were very young children and two were elderly people with severe heart problems.

There is nothing at all to fear from any of Britains insect life.

Harry
Thanks again for replying Harry.

I've looked up Banded Demoiselles on google and found that they are a type of Dragonfly.( I hope i'm correct)
I've also been on google trying to find what Hawkers moths look like. I can find small articles on Hawk moths, are they the same thing?

I suppose my fear of wasps and bees comes from knowing someone when i was a young boy, who was stung by a wasp and went into Anaphylactic shock. I know that it's very few people that get such a reaction, but until you are stung you just don't know.

I know people have different fears, some don't like flying, some don't like spiders, others it's injections etc etc... but for me it's wasps. Don't get me wrong i'm not petrified of them... i just have a HEALTHY RESPECT for them, more so for their rear end.

Them Adders must like you Harry. I hope they never like me

Deano

Last edited by AnotherNightOwl : Tuesday 27th March 2007 at 11:10.
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Old Tuesday 27th March 2007, 15:17   #21
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Well in Salop you might just get both types - Banded and Beautiful - so here's a photo to prove they don't bite (trust me I wouldn't do this if they bit).

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...emopicture.jpg
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Old Wednesday 28th March 2007, 09:20   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherNightOwl
Thanks again for replying Harry.

I've looked up Banded Demoiselles on google and found that they are a type of Dragonfly.( I hope i'm correct)
I've also been on google trying to find what Hawkers moths look like. I can find small articles on Hawk moths, are they the same thing?

I suppose my fear of wasps and bees comes from knowing someone when i was a young boy, who was stung by a wasp and went into Anaphylactic shock. I know that it's very few people that get such a reaction, but until you are stung you just don't know.

I know people have different fears, some don't like flying, some don't like spiders, others it's injections etc etc... but for me it's wasps. Don't get me wrong i'm not petrified of them... i just have a HEALTHY RESPECT for them, more so for their rear end.

Them Adders must like you Harry. I hope they never like me

Deano
Hello Deano,
Ooops, sorry it was a typo on my behalf. It should have read Hawker Dragonflies and not Moths. I must proof read my posts in future.

Harry
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Old Wednesday 28th March 2007, 19:50   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarassedDad
Well in Salop you might just get both types - Banded and Beautiful - so here's a photo to prove they don't bite (trust me I wouldn't do this if they bit).

http://i57.photobucket.com/albums/g2...emopicture.jpg

Hi HarassedDad,

Thank's for sending the photo to reassure my missus

Nice photo It must have taken ages for it to land on you.
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Old Wednesday 28th March 2007, 19:52   #24
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Cheers Harry

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales
Hello Deano,
Ooops, sorry it was a typo on my behalf. It should have read Hawker Dragonflies and not Moths. I must proof read my posts in future.

Harry
Deano
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Old Thursday 29th March 2007, 10:08   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales

There is nothing at all to fear from any of Britains insect life.
I feel I must add the caveat: unless you suffer from an anaphylactic reaction.

My (British) bite/sting list:
Buff-tailed bumblebee
Common wasp
German wasp
Median wasp
Honeybee
Hornet
Red ant
Wood ant
Andrena sp. (solitary bee)
2-spot ladybird
7-spot ladybird
Carabus sp (ground beetle)
Great Diving beetle
Southern Hawker
Long-winged Conehead
Alder fly (larva)
Assassin bug sp.
Culex sp (mosquito)
Aedes sp (mosquito)
Cleg
Horse fly
Simulidae sp (black fly)
Several species of midge
Woodlouse Spider
At least 2 species of Tick

my overseas list includes several species of ant, Tsetse fly, Scorpion, blister beetle (not technically a bite or sting) more ticks & more biting flies.

Still here, still intact
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