Tons of people are fearful of wasps stings because they can cause painful and allergic reactions that can be deadly. More active during the summer months, wasps have the ability to sting people they feel are too close to their nest or causing them harm. These stings can be very painful and those who are stung multiple times may need to seek medical care to prevent further issues.
Unlike bees, wasps can sting more than one time. They do not lose their stinger if they do sting you. This means each one can sting you multiple times during a single attack.
What’s the Difference Between Bees and Wasps Allowing More Stings?
Bees and wasps are both very different, though they are related. Wasps tend to be slimmer than bees and look quite different from them. Wasps are also more aggressive than bees, so you’re more likely to be stung by a wasp than you are by a bee. While both are capable of stinging you, bees will lose their stinger after they sting because it is barbed and cannot be easily removed from your skin. Wasps, on the other hand, have a smooth stinger, which means it can be removed and used to sting you multiple times.
Can All Wasps Sting?
Only female wasps can actually sting you. Male wasps do not have stingers as their purpose is mainly to breed or pollinate. Females, however, have stingers and are capable of stinging. They also release a pheromone when they sting which lets the other female wasps know they have stung something and are in need of help. This gets other female wasps to the area quickly, which can lead to more stings.
Why Would a Wasp Sting You?
Wasps have stingers as a way to catch their prey. This is how they collect food to eat, by stinging the creature they want to eat and killing it with the toxins in their sting. Humans are too large for the toxins to work and typically won’t die from a sting unless they have a severe allergy. Instead, when wasps sting humans, it’s typically because they feel threatened. They will sting if they feel they need to protect their home. They can also attack if they feel agitated, which could happen simply because a human is close to their nest or waving their arms trying to get the wasp to go away.
Do Wasps Die After They Sting You?
Bees generally die after they sting someone because their stinger is removed once they use it. Wasps, however, do not lose their stinger after they sting something, so they are not going to die as a result. Wasps can sting multiple times during one attack and live past the attack to be able to sting again if they feel threatened or annoyed at another time.
How Many Total Times Can a Wasp Sting?
There is no exact amount of times a wasp can sting before they can’t sting anymore. Since they do not lose their stinger when they sting, they can use it as many times as possible. They do have venom that is released when they sting something. That venom is limited by how much they can hold in their body, with some wasps being able to hold more in reserve at one time. When the wasp runs out of the venom, they will need to wait until they have generated more of the venom before their stings will hurt again. So, they may stop stinging while their venom regenerates. Once they have more venom, they can begin stinging again if they feel they still need to attack whatever is threatening their nest.
Why Do Wasp Stings Hurt?
Wasps stings hurt because of the sting itself and because of the venom released with the sting. While the amount of venom is minuscule and will not kill someone unless they are severely allergic to the stings, the venom is still strong enough to be painful. Different wasps will have different venoms and will release a different amount of venom when they sting, meaning some wasp stings can be more painful than others. On a pain scale of 1 to 4, yellow jackets have a score of around 2.0 while a tarantula hawk wasp typically has a score of 4.0. When wasps sting someone multiple times, the pain can be very severe, though it usually does go away on its own in about 5 to 10 minutes.
How Can a Wasp Sting be Treated?
Wasp stings are generally treatable at home unless you’re having a severe allergic reaction or you have been stung a huge number of times. Begin with washing the area around the sting with soap and water. This helps to remove as much of the venom as possible. Use ice or a cold pack to reduce swelling and pain and keep the area clean and dry to prevent an infection. The area that was stung can be covered with a bandage or with hydrocortisone cream if it starts itching. Over the counter pain relievers can help with the pain and antihistamines can help reduce itching if needed. If you are not sure if it was a wasp or bee that stung you or of you seem to be having a worse reaction to the sting, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention.
What Happens if You’re Allergic?
Those who are severely allergic to wasp stings are going to need immediate medical attention. If available, an EpiPen can be administered as soon as the person is stung. Then, they should call emergency services to be taken to the emergency room immediately. They may need oxygen, steroids, or other medications to improve their breathing as well as epinephrine to help stop the allergic reaction from getting worse.
When are Wasps More Likely to Sting?
During the winter, female wasps tend to hibernate, so there is a smaller chance of you being stung. They generally become far more active during the summer months when it’s warmer outside. Most homeowners who have wasps near their home will begin to see more activity from the wasps during the spring months as the area gets warmer, with peak activity occurring through the summer. Wasps also sleep at night and work during the day. This means you’re more likely to be stung during the day by a wasp, though they can be woken up if you shine a flashlight on the nest or the nest is otherwise illuminated.
Can Wasps Nests be Removed?
When wasps build a nest near or on your home, the likelihood of you being stung increases because they’ll want to protect their nest from you. It is not advisable for anyone to try to remove a nest on their own, as doing so can lead to them being stung. If you have a nest and you do want to try to do the removal on your own, make sure you try to remove the nest during the night as this is when they are more docile and less likely to sting. You’ll want to wear clothing that protects your entire body and avoid using flashlights or any other lights that can wake up the wasps.
The nest should be removed by covering it with a garbage bag, remove it from the structure, then sealing the garbage bag. If possible, have pest control products on hand to try to remove the nest for extra protection against the wasps. You should not do this one your own if it’s possible you’re allergic to wasps or if the nest is in a hard-to-reach place. Any attempt to remove a wasp nest can lead to you being stung, so it’s always a better idea to contact a professional for wasp nest removal when possible. They have the experience and equipment to remove the wasp nest and minimize potential risks.
How Can Wasp Nests be Prevented?
While wasp nests can be removed, the better idea is to prevent wasps from building a home near your home in the first place. Make sure your home is in good condition, with any potential entry points to the home sealed so nothing can get inside. Make sure all windows have screens that are in good shape so the wasps cannot enter through the windows. If you are concerned about wasps in your yard around your home, look into wasp traps that can catch any wasps flying around. This can help catch wasps entering the area before they build a nest.
Wasps can be dangerous, even if you’re not allergic to them because they can sting more than once. If you have noticed wasps around your home, make sure you take quick action to have them removed by a professional to reduce the risk of stings to you, your family, or your pets. This can help minimize the chance you’ll be stung by a wasp and help keep everyone around your home safe through the summer months.