Its Labor Day weekend, summer is winding down and bee and wasp stings are on the rise. Bees and wasps are most active in the late summer and early autumn when a colony is at its peak. Daylight hours are shorter and temperatures begin to get a little cooler and these stinging insects become more aggressive. Be mindful of their nests because they will aggressively defend them. Only the females are capable of stinging, males do not have stingers.
Insect stings probably injure more people each year than all other venomous animals combined. They send over 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. Usually, recovery from most stings is quick and occurs within several days. Yet, in people with insect sting allergies, a bee sting may trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly.
Allergic reactions can get worse each time you get stung. In fact, people who have experienced an allergic reaction to an insect sting have a 60% chance of a similar or worse reaction if they are stung again. It may be best to seek the advice of a medical allergist if symptoms from a sting are severe or worsen after each sting.
The most aggressive stinging insects are vespid wasps, which include hornets and yellow jackets. Also, their stings hurt the worst of any stinging insect. Plus, honeybee stings also cause them to release pheromones that prompt other nearby bees to attack.
Still, bees and wasps are beneficial insects. Bees are responsible for every third bite of food we eat and at all possibilities should not be destroyed. Honeybees are one of the most beneficial insects on the planet. Their role in pollination is vital to all sorts of fruit and vegetable crops. Wasps are parasitic to other flying pests.
But, sometimes if they are found in high traffic areas they can become a threat to you and your family. If they need to be destroyed use one of the many commercial products available. Use them in the evening before dark after the wasps have all returned to their nests. Late evening or early morning treatments are preferred since these insects are generally less active at cooler temperatures. It is generally not advisable to attempt control of stinging insects during the daytime because adults are active and may attack in defense of the nest.
Try to avoid areas where stinging insects gather. Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing or highly scented cosmetic products (such as perfume and hair spray) where wasps and bees are abundant.
Be careful at picnics, around open garbage containers at parks, festivals, eateries and at sporting events. Food scraps and liquid from sodas and sports drinks are highly attractive to wasps. The idea of fruits and sport drinks being given to athletes at youth sporting events should seriously be rethought.
Be careful when gardening and cutting lawns and watch for wasp nests in the ground. Yellow jackets are highly attracted to fallen fruit which should be avoided and/or removed promptly from your property.
Symptoms of a reaction from a sting could include any of the following: hives, diarrhea and stomach cramps, vomiting, wheezing and difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, throat tightness or closing, fainting, dizziness, itching, swelling, change of voice or feeling of doom. Reactions can occur within minutes and get continuously worse over several hours.
Simple treatment involves disinfecting the wounded area with soap and water. Meat tenderizer, which contains an enzyme that breaks down the venom or a baking soda paste, can be applied to the sting site to help relieve pain. Applying Benadryl lotion and taking Benadryl Allergy antihistamine or Claritin may help to relieve any itching or slight reactions.
If a reaction is serious, medical attention should be sought immediately. Have someone drive you to an ER or call 911 for an ambulance.