Aerex Pest Control gets hundreds of calls regarding stinging insects like bees and wasps every year. With these calls, pest inspections and treatments comes many questions from our customers. Don’t let stinging insects ruin your summer. Learn how to identify these buggers and protect yourself from their stings.
Please take note: While Aerex Pest Control is devoted to helping customers stay educated on the topic of stinging insects, we cannot, do not and will not treat honey bees!
1. Why do bees die after stinging?
The only type of bee that dies after stinging is a honey bee. When a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull the stinger back out. In fact, the bee leaves behind more than just the stinger, but also part of its abdomen and digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves.
2. Do wasps die after stinging?
No. Contrary to popular belief, a wasp does not die after a single sting. In fact, wasps can sting multiple times. The reason a honeybee’s stinger gets left behind after a sting is because it is barbed. The jagged edges of the barbed stinger get stuck and thus the bee is unable to remove it. Wasps have a smooth stinger, allowing them to sting and remove it easily. Be aware! Many species can be very vicious about this, often stinging over and over in a single area. For example, social wasps like the paper wasp, hornets, and yellow jackets tend to be more aggressive.
3. What are the signs of an allergic reaction?
Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction after a sting will vary from person to person. Take special note of any of the following symptoms and seek medical help immediately:
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing
- Tightening of the throat
- Hoarseness or difficulty speaking
- Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting
- Fast heartbeat
- Skin that severely itches, tingles, swells, or turns red
- Anxiety or dizziness
- Loss of consciousness
4. How do I remove a stinger from a bee?
Rule #1 – don’t pinch! This could cause the venom from the sting to sink deeper into the skin. Scrape the area with a fingernail or use tweezers to remove it. No matter what the method of removal, getting the stinger out quickly is more important than how it’s removed.
5. How do I take care of a bee or wasp sting?
Always monitor any bite or sting. This will help prevent infection or alert you of an allergic reaction. Most stings only require basic remedies such as washing the sting with soap and water, using an ice pack for the swelling and over the counter pain killers (like ibuprofen) for pain. For itchiness, an over the counter antihistamine will do the trick. A sting can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to completely heal. Keep an eye on it, and always keep the area clean to prevent infection.