Today an insect was flying around me and my family but I wasn't sure what type of insect it was. I could tell from the noise that the wings were making while it was flying that it was some type of bee or biting fly, but I don't know of a word for that type of description. To describe it to them, all I could think of is "flying, stinging/biting insect" but that's a bit long and seems out of place.

I tried researching it and the closest term I found was hymenoptera:

Hymenoptera: Hymenoptera is the third-largest order of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants - Wikipedia

However, this is more broad than the word I was looking for. I'm looking for a term specific to flying insects that bite or sting.

Is there such a word? It could be colloquial or scientific.

  • Winged pests? (Preferably pronounced wing-ed) (Although I guess that could include bats, and maybe even crows or other birds that annoy.) – bib May 30 '16 at 0:28
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    I know! Aerial exoskeletal vermin! – bib May 30 '16 at 0:31
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    There is not, in my experience, a common generic term for such pests. There are no doubt biological names for the various families of insects, but they would probably not cover the range you wish to cover, and they would be unfamiliar to most people. – Hot Licks May 30 '16 at 1:52
  • (Consider that a flying insect may bite with its mouth or sting with the other end of its anatomy. The two types would certainly be in different scientific groupings.) – Hot Licks May 30 '16 at 1:54
  • @bib I loved that term you made up. Way to say it in a humorous way in the coming summer. Here have my upvote. – Grizzly May 30 '16 at 3:15


  1. any of various flies, as a stable fly or warble fly, that bite or annoy domestic animals.
  2. a person who persistently annoys or provokes others with criticism, schemes, ideas, demands, requests, etc.

Not an exact fit, but I think of the term as a general concept that may [poetically] include all such insects if used in the appropriate context.

That annoying, pestering gadfly made me drop my cellphone.

(In this example meant somewhat ironically, as it was not really the fly that made the character drop the phone.)

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    That's close! Perhaps the closest we'll get. Thanks for the contribution! – Zach Saucier May 30 '16 at 2:48
  • +1 Or maybe an ungladfly to reflect our mood when encountering – bib May 30 '16 at 14:00

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