Insect stings are uncomfortable and can often be distressing particularly if you get stung several times.
However, you can reduce the risk of being stung by getting rid of a wasp nest in or near your home, with the assistance of a pest control professional, whilst also taking some basic precautions when outdoors.
Insect stings should not be confused with insect bites.
Stinging insects such as wasps, hornets and bees, will only sting you as an act of defense or when they believe you pose a threat to the colony or nest.
When it comes to stinging insects, only the females can sting. When a wasp stings she injects venom into or under your skin. This has an immediate effect causing a sharp, burning sensation. The same can be said for both hornets and bees.
It is the venom that people are allergic to rather than the stinging insects themselves.
While wasps and hornets sting to defend themselves, biting insects (such as bed bugs) attack to feed on your blood. To give the insect time to feed, insect bites have evolved so that the pain is not as sharp as a sting (although the bite of a Horse fly is very painful), leaving the insect unnoticed whilst feeding upon you.
The most common sting suffered from an insect is a wasp sting. These aggressive creatures have stung a fair share of people multiple times.
Wasp sting symptoms
How to treat a wasp sting
Severe allergic reactions to wasp stings are referred to as “anaphylaxis”. Anaphylaxis occurs as a response to wasp venom, and happens very quickly.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to a wasp sting
Compared to wasps, hornets are quite timid. They will only sting if their nest is threatened. However a hornet's venom is much more powerful than that of a wasps, resulting in a much more painful sting.
Although hornets are a form of wasp, they produce a more painful sting than their cousins.
Hornet sting symptoms
How to treat a hornet sting
Hornets produce the most painful insect stings and thus a more severe allergic reaction.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to a hornet sting
If you have any of the above symptoms within 30 minutes from a bee, wasp or hornet sting then call an ambulance immediately as you could go into anaphylactic shock
Find out more information on Hornet and wasp Stings
Yes - a bee’s stinger is barbed, causing it to get stuck in your skin. As the bee tries to fly away it inevitable rips its stinger from its abdomen, this is what causes the bee to die. This leaves the stinger and the venom sack trapped in your skin, the venomous sac will continue to pump venom for more than a minute. Find out how to remove a bee stinger.
Once stung by a bee, the area around the sting will quickly redden and a raised weal (fluid under the skin) will form. The weal will reduce after a few hours, but it may remain itchy for more than a day.
Bee sting symptoms
How to treat a bee sting
If you think you could be allergic to bee stings view the following symptoms below.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to a bee sting
Find out more information on bee stings
If you know you are sensitive to wasp stings, you should take care to minimise the risk of being stung. There are practical steps that we can all take to avoid stings.
To avoid wasp stings when outdoors you should:
Never try to swat wasps or bees. This will increase the likelihood of them stinging you and may excite a swarm.
Do not wave your arms and try not to panic as this will also excite the insect. If you enter an area with many stinging insects, walk calmly and slowly away to avoid wasp stings.
Some people are much more sensitive to hornet and wasp stings than others, although young children tend to be particularly sensitive.
However, the key group at risk are the three percent of the population who suffer from an allergic reaction to bee stings.
An allergic reaction to wasp stings can develop at any time, even if they have not reacted to a previous sting.
For those who suffer from a more moderate allergic reaction to bee stings, there may be more general swelling around the wound. Consult your doctor if the swelling is severe or persistent.
Those stung by a wasp or bee on two or more occasions in previous years are at higher risk of developing an allergy. Generally those who suffer large local reaction to insect stings continue to have similar reactions to subsequent stings.
Anaphylaxis is a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic response to a hornet, wasp or bee sting. Signs pointing towards bee sting anaphylaxis include swelling, hives and lowered blood pressure. In severe cases, a person will go into shock.
Anaphylaxis can cause some people to go into anaphylactic shock. Its the anaphylactic shock caused by a wasp, hornet, or bee sting that can be very fatal, sometimes causing death. If you think you are, or know someone who is, going into anaphylactic shock seek emergency medical attention immediately.
A wasp trapped indoors can be dealt with using a Wasp & Fly Killer spray.
However, bees are beneficial to the environment and are protected so should not be killed.
If there are high numbers of wasps or bees in your home or garden, it is likely there is a nest nearby.
It is important to deal with wasps nests as early as possible – wasps become more aggressive in late summer and it is much safer to deal with them earlier in the year.
In the case of a Bees nest you should contact a Bee keeper or Bee Keepers Association to have an experienced person re-locate the nest for you rather than harming the Bees.
Find out more in our wasps and bees section or call us for more advice on 2430309.