Working with insects

People working with insects are at risk of developing allergic reactions to the insect frass and scales or hair particles. Microscopic fragments become airborne through insect movement or through handling cages or substrates and remain suspended in the air. If these particles are inhaled they can stimulate an allergic response by the body’s immune system.

This most often causes nuisance conditions such as allergic conjunctivitis, rhinitis or eczema but can also cause more serious and occasionally life threatening conditions such as asthma. Once developed they may remain a problem even if the person ceases to work with insects.

If you feel that your work is affecting your health please speak to your manager.  This may be your line manager, HR Manager or Health and Safety Manager.

Related downloads

Guidance for laboratory animal workers

Guidance for laboratory animal workers (PDF)

Rabies guidance (PDF)


Working with insects

Guidance for working with insects (PDF)


Working overseas and fieldwork

Fieldwork - health surveillance request (DOTX)

Fieldwork checklist (PDF)