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Insect stings are uncomfortable and can often be distressing particularly if a person suffers from several stings.

However, the risks of being stung can be minimized by removing wasp nests and other stinging insect nests in or around your property with this assistance of a pest control professional.

Allergies to insect stings

Some people are much more sensitive to insect stings than others and young children tend to be particularly sensitive.

However, 3% of the population is extremely allergic to insect stings. An allergy to insect stings can develop at any time, even if they have not reacted to a previous sting.

Call an ambulance immediately if someone has a severe reaction to an insect sting.

Symptoms may include fainting, dizziness, nausea or difficulty in breathing or swallowing.


Symptoms of an allergic reaction

For those moderately allergic to insect stings, there may be more general swelling around the wound. Consult your doctor if the swelling is severe or persistent.

Call an ambulance immediately if any of the following symptoms are seen within 30 minutes of a sting:

  • Swelling around the throat, mouth or tongue that could constrict breathing

  • Wheezing, choking or an inability to catch breath

  • Fainting, dizziness or headaches

  • Any chest pains

  • Nausea or stomach cramps

Remember, allergies to stings can develop at any time.

Those stung on two or more occasions in previous years are at higher risk from developing an allergy.

Another group at high risk to insect stings are those who suffer from other allergies (such as to pollen or pets).

To avoid being stung when outdoors:

  • Try not to swat wasps or bees. This will only agitate the insect.

  • 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.

  • Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants when spending long periods of time outdoors.

  • Cover all food and beverage containers when not consuming.

  • Avoid wearing perfume or using scented shampoos as some scents attract insects that sting.

Preventing insect stings

People who are sensitive to insect stings should take care to minimize the risk of being stung, but there are practical steps that we can all take.

Dealing with wasps and bees in your home or yard

If there are high numbers of wasps or bees in your yard or garden, it is likely there is a nest nearby.

It is important to deal with nests as early as possible – wasps in particular become more aggressive in late summer and it is much safer to deal with them earlier in the year.

Ehrlich offers professional service for wasp nest removal and advice on how to get rid of wasps, hornets & bees.

Call Ehrlich Pest Control at 800-837-5520 for more advice on wasp stings and bee stings.

Insect stings vs. insect bites

Insect stings should not be confused with insect bites.

An insect, like a wasp or hornet, stings to defend itself when it perceives a threat either to itself or the colony. It stings by injecting poison into or under the skin. The effect is immediate and results in a sharp, burning sensation.

While some insects sting to defend themselves, others (like mosquitoes), bite to draw 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).

Wasp stings and bee stings

The most common stinging insects are wasps (including hornets) or bees. Wasps are the most aggressive and may sting with little provocation.

Bees are much less likely to sting, usually when they are stood or sat on. The key sign of a bee sting is that it leaves its stinger lodged inside the skin and a venomous sac will continue to pump poison for more than a minute.

In contrast, the only sign of a wasp or hornet sting is likely to be a small puncture hole.

Once stung by a wasp or bee, the surrounding area will quickly redden and a raised welt will form. The welt will lessen after a few hours, but it may remain itchy for more than a day.

Bee sting and wasp sting treatment

There are practical steps Ehrlich recommends if you are stung by an insect.

If stung by a bee:

  • Remove the stinger promptly. This should be done carefully using tweezers.
  • Take great care not to squeeze the sting sac as this will inject more poison into the wound.

If stung by a bee or wasp:

  • Wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Reduce swelling by soaking in cold water or by covering the sting with an ice pack (but never hold ice directly on the skin).

To relieve itching: 

  • Apply an anti-histamine cream for bites and stings or take an oral anti-histamine tablet.
  • Calamine lotion can also be applied to ease the itch. If the itching is severe, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have any more insect sting questions or would like to setup a free inspection with an Ehrlich technician, please contact us online or call 800-837-5520.

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Signs of different wasp nests

Wasp nests can be dangerous to handle. Rely on professional treatments to keep safe from stings