He has to fight with a lot of insects around his house in every summer, which have caused repeated trouble and anxiety to him.

Could I call them haunting insects indicating the effect they are bringing? If not, what's the appropriate phrase?

  • "Haunting insects" doesn't describe "insects repeatedly causing anxiety." Somebody could get anxious by hearing crickets.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 12:28
  • Please stop fighting with insects.
    – hjpotter92
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 10:19
  • what do you mean?
    – canoe
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 0:31

3 Answers 3


Another word that fits in context is pesky.

Pesky, however, do only conveys the meaning of being annoying or making you feel upset. I don't know any word that has the additional connotation of becoming anxious because of something what is bothering you. For that reason, I'd phrase it like that.

He's worrying about pesky insects.

Aside: On COCA pesky is the second collocation (11 usages) with insects which partially conveys the idea you're looking for. The first is annoying (16 usages). On BNC the first word which matches is offending (only 2 usages).

Words like stitching, biting, harmful, poisonous etc. may incidentally convey that insects will likely be annoying or worrying but their meaning doesn't include that sense at hand.

  • I would rather say that something poisonous worries me, not that it annoys me.
    – avpaderno
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 12:57
  • @kiamlaluno Agreed. But that wasn't my point. I just was saying that a lot of words (some of them I mentioned) make it rather superfluous to add the idea of something being annoying, worrying or whatever, i.e. using such a word implies the idea of “insects causing trouble and anxiety repeatly” as written in OP's title.
    – Em1
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 13:06

I would rather call them "bothersome/bothering insects" or "annoying insects".

  • 1
    "Bothersome" is another alternative, probably used more often than "bothering". Commented Apr 19, 2013 at 18:31
  • @barbarabeeton: added this to my answer.
    – Patrick
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 9:15

Flies, mosquitos, & similar insects that keep buzzing around your house and refusing to go away or be caught are pesky insects.

A large number of fleas, bedbugs, ants, or other insects that are ruining things in your home is an infestation.

A colony of termites that is causing structural damage to your home is a disaster.

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