SUMMER is a time for picnics, days out - and a few itchy bites and stings from insects.

Though mostly harmless, certain insect bites can cause a lot of discomfort.

Wendy Carter, of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, said the most common bite in Worcester is from a mosquito.

She said: "The worst that most of us will encounter is a mosquito that gets trapped in the bedroom when we’ve had the windows open.

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"There’s an annoying high-pitched whine as the insect flies about the room and, if you’re unlucky, there’s a tiny raised itchy bump on the skin the following morning when you realise you were skewered in the night.

"There are more than 30 species of mosquito in the UK – most don’t bite humans and many are restricted to certain habitats like wetlands."

Another insect that may cause a nuisance this summer is the horsefly, which may have an interesting deterrent.

She said: "With almost all insects that ‘bite’, it’s usually only the female that does it and it’s usually to help her eggs to develop. 

"Horseflies, who usually feed on cattle, horses and the like, have serrated mandibles to cut into the skin; in the absence of livestock, we might do instead.

"It’s rumoured that eating bananas can help to repel them or there are a variety of insect-repellent sprays, lotions and candles on the market."

Another hated but misunderstood source of bites and stings is wasps, which often appear more in summer.

"Wasps have an unwittingly bad reputation as summer wears on.

"This is because colonies break down in late summer and adults are evicted from their nests where they had access to nectar-like juices secreted by wasp larvae; when this happens they go in search of a sweet replacement and this often brings them into conflict with our picnics and beer gardens.

"If this happens, the best thing to do is to put a piece of fruit or a bottle top with a drop of your drink in it at the other end of your picnic table and let them feed away from you."

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust also stressed the importance of the stinging and biting species.

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She said: "While we might get annoyed with some of these species, we need to remember that they all play a vital role in our world and most only bother us for a short time before moving on.

"All life stages of mosquitoes, for example, are vital parts of the food chain for many species whereas wasps are important pollinators of our flowers and crops.

"If people do get bitten or stung, they should keep the area clean and see a pharmacist or doctor if they are worried about any reaction."