A week or two ago, my dog started scratching, and it only increased. Not long after, I started getting bit by something that itches something awful. I thought it was fleas so got some medication and moved my dog out of my room. He stopped scratching immediately. After deep cleaning, I let him back in my room the next day. He shortly thereafter scratched again, but not intensely or frequently. My bites have continued.

I set out a flea trap (water, dish soap, flashlight on the water) and it caught the bug you see in the pic (it has only caught four of them).

Is that a biting midge, or something else?

Also, I'm in New York City.

  1. https://i.stack.imgur.com/GC0iL.jpg -- close-up pic, color and pattern
  2. https://i.stack.imgur.com/CVgnl.jpg -- several from a distance to show size
  3. https://i.stack.imgur.com/rQqp4.jpg -- same one as in the first pic

The size is maybe as big as the hole a small nail makes in the wall, a very small ant, or a freckle.

  • $\begingroup$ Please mention which country/region this photo was taken in. $\endgroup$ – Ark Lomas Jul 21 '20 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ Right. I'm in NYC, so it doesn't make a ton of sense, but I know there is a small presence. I have several houseplants and am on the second floor. I rarely have my window open, but shortly before this started, there was an entire day I kept my window open. It does have a screen, but midges would easily fit. Walking my dog could also be a way to pick them up, i guess $\endgroup$ – Brindle Cruncher Jul 21 '20 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ I added a section picture for scale. $\endgroup$ – Brindle Cruncher Jul 21 '20 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Identifications questions should include: 1) one or more clear closeup photos of the organism (photos from multiple angles if possible) — photos must be uploaded (not links) — this is both to ensure the post remains relevant (links can and do break) and for the convenience of other users; 2) an estimate of the size of the organism; and 3) the species-identification tag. Please edit your post to include this essential information. ——— Please also take the tour and then go through the help pages starting with How to Ask questions effectively on this site. Thanks! 😊 $\endgroup$ – tyersome Jul 23 '20 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ @adhish I did not, so good point. My dog has stopped scratching like crazy, and my bites have gone away, so totally plausible. I did feel bites happening, but maybe that was in my head. Still curious about the insect identification though. $\endgroup$ – Brindle Cruncher Jul 25 '20 at 5:26

It seems to be a Yellow-banded polybia wasp (Polybia occidentalis), a species of Potter wasp.

my doubts with this conclusion is that the abdomen of the insect in your photo is quite large compared to other observations of the species. Also, Polybia occidentalis is a species that exists in South and Central America, not up north in New York, Perhaps it is able to exist there due to the warm summer weather though I am not entirely sure.

It might be another species of potter wasp. Potter wasps are able to sting but rarely do so to large organisms and their stings don't hurt much. They usually prey on caterpillars and beetle larvae and use those to feed their own. They create these nests that look like a ceramic pot. each of these "pots" contains one larva of the wasp (along with all the food the wasp has collected for their larva when it hatches).

here's a photo of the pots (wasps seem to be willing to create these pots on pretty much any solid surface including under leaves): enter image description here

Wasps are not parasites, they are hunters of other insects, if my identification of this species is correct, then you and your dog are likely not going to suffer any direct harm from this species let alone parasitic behaviour.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think so. Its bites are painful, but most importantly my bugs are tiny (see the second picture I added). $\endgroup$ – Brindle Cruncher Jul 21 '20 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ I'm a bit confused, are you talking about the insect with yellow horizontal stripes? because that is the only one I have noticed. $\endgroup$ – Ark Lomas Jul 21 '20 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Potter wasps are extremely tiny as well (as seen from the image i put which has multiple wasps easily fitting on the last joint). If you are talking about the same stripey insect, then perhaps I can post more images to make my identification more clear and possibly more convincing? I merely chose that photo because it has different angles of the morphology of potter wasps. $\endgroup$ – Ark Lomas Jul 21 '20 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ check out the three different pics. $\endgroup$ – Brindle Cruncher Jul 21 '20 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the clarification, unfortunately I cannot identify the species in the third picture. Perhaps taking it out of the water might help take a clearer picture of the more detailed characteristics of the insect? $\endgroup$ – Ark Lomas Jul 21 '20 at 21:26

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