FEAR of INSECTS: What is it, Causes and How to overcome it

  • Jul 26, 2021
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Fear of insects: what is it, causes and how to overcome it

The fear of insects is a feeling of anxiety and terror in the presence of one or more insects. It is also known by the name of entomophobia and is part of the group of specific phobias of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is one of the most common phobias and the most widespread phobia of some type of animal.

Surely in your environment there is someone who when he sees a wasp gets up from his chair, screams or goes to another place. This is what is known as insect phobia. Like most phobias, it has psychological treatment with a good prognosis. Therefore, in this Psychology-Online article, we will talk about the fear of insects: what is it, causes and how to overcome it.

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  1. What is the fear of insects
  2. Symptoms of fear of insects
  3. Causes of fear of insects
  4. How to overcome the fear of insects

What is the fear of insects.

What is the fear of insects called? This type of phobia is called

entomophobia. It is an irrational fear in the presence of insects. The most common fears are usually cockroaches, wasps, bees and spiders. This mental disorder usually produces general malaise and typical symptoms of anxiety. In this article, you will find information about fears and phobias: definition and differences.

Symptoms of fear of insects.

Entomophobia, like any other type of phobias, has symptoms that can be related to anxiety. Symptoms of fear of insects can be divided into three groups:

  • Cognitive symptoms: they refer to the thoughts and feelings of the person. When an insect appears, the person may think that it is going to bite or do some kind of damage. These types of thoughts would be part of the cognitive symptoms of this phobia.
  • Physiological symptoms: are those of anxiety. Tachycardias, rapid breathing, dizziness, nausea, tremors or sweating, among others, may appear. In this article, we tell you what to do when you have anxiety.
  • Behavioral symptoms: these types of symptoms refer to the different behaviors that the person performs in relation to her problem. For example, the fact of avoiding situations in which there could be some type of insects, screaming or going out running when it appears, throwing an object at it in order to "defend itself" are quite common entomophobia.

Causes of fear of insects.

Why are we afraid of insects? Entomophobia, being a specific phobia, has causes very similar to other types of phobias. The causes of fear of insects can be divided into the following groups:

  • Genetics: It is believed that there are some genes that make a person more likely to develop a phobia. If, for example, an uncle or cousin has a phobia of insects, there is a greater chance that you will end up developing this fear.
  • Ambient: refers to two types of specific situations. On the one hand, the fact that we were raised in an environment of overprotection and in which possible dangers were constantly announced to us. If your parents continually told you how dangerous wasps are or they themselves were afraid of wasps, when they saw it and received such messages, you learn this fear and act in a similar way. On the other hand, if you have had a traumatic experience such as a severe bite consequences or hearing that someone has had an experience of the style can cause it to develop this phobia.
  • Allergies: It should be noted that in allergic people it is quite common to have this fear. Although, in this case, such fear could be considered justified.

How to overcome the fear of insects.

How to get rid of the fear of insects? Specific phobias can be treated from psychological therapy following various types of techniques. Next, we will see how to overcome the fear of insects with different techniques:

  • Cognitive restructuring: This part of the therapy would consist of modifying the irrational ideas of the person regarding her phobia. It would be about making the person have a perspective more in line with reality.
  • Exposition: it would consist of making the person face the object that is feared. This exposure is usually made from a confrontation with a situation related to the phobia that causes the least fear, to the situation that causes the most fear. Exposure should not end unless anxiety has been reduced to zero. If it is complex to make the exhibition live, it can be done in an imagined way. In this type of phobias it is quite likely that this type of alternative techniques will have to be produced.
  • Relaxation: practice relaxation techniques that help the person better cope with the physiological symptoms of phobia such as tachycardia or hyperventilation. Discover breathing exercises to calm anxiety.
  • Values- Being focused on a phobia can cause other areas of your life to be neglected or affected. For example, if you cannot sit down to eat calmly for fear of wasps, it is possible that the relationship with other diners will end up being affected. Reminding the person of this, in addition to helping them refocus on those important aspects of their life, is a very useful technique to overcome the fear of insects.

Next, we leave you this video with a very effective guided relaxation for anxiety. It will bring you calm and well-being to overcome your fear of insects.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Fear of insects: what is it, causes and how to overcome it, we recommend that you enter our category of Cognitive psychology.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • Bonet, J. I. C. (2001). Effective psychological treatments for specific phobias. Psychothema, 447-452.
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