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The Dangers of Wasps

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  • 02-11-2021
The Dangers of Wasps

Do you have a wasp nest near your home or business? You may be wondering: what are the dangers of wasps? This article looks at the risk of wasp stings and possible symptoms of a wasp sting.

Are Wasps Dangerous?

Wasps are one of the worst insect infestations you can have on your property or in your garden. There are countless species of wasps besides the common yellow jackets, such as hornets and paper wasps, and one thing they all have in common is that they are aggressively territorial. Unlike bees which are reluctant to sting except as a last resort, wasps are more than happy to sting you, perhaps even multiple times, just for looking at them funny. 

Usually, wasp stings are not a serious threat to most healthy humans, but it doesn't stop it from hurting like hell, though they still aren't quite as bad as the sting of a hornet. That changes if you happen to be allergic to wasp stings. For a person with a wasp allergy, a single sting could be potentially fatal if they are not immediately treated.

Furthermore, swarms of wasps have been known to attack people and animals who get too close to their nests, and while one or two wasp stings won't cause much harm, several dozen can present a serious threat to human life. 

So yes, wasps are dangerous. If you find out that you have a wasp infestation on your property, whether you are allergic or not, it is something you should deal with for your own peace of mind.   

What is the difference between a bee and a wasp?

What is the difference between a bee and a wasp?

Mistaking bees for wasps and wasps for bees is a common thing. Due to evolutionary chance, it just so happens that the common bumblebee and their mean cousins have the same colour scheme, and they are both flying stinging insects. Mistaking a bee for a wasp isn't much of a problem most of the time. 

Bees, in general, are a far more benign species that tend to focus more on going about their business pollinating plants and being general busybodies. 

This even temperament likely has a lot to do with the fact that when a bee stings something, they die. Their stinger is connected to most of their internal organs, which get dragged out along with the stinger when they do attack. Therefore a bee will only sting when it is utterly terrified or when it is protecting its nest.

The problem occurs when you mistake a wasp for a bee. Unlike bees, a wasp can sting multiple times with no issue, and it will do so gleefully for any number of reasons, such as if it just feels like it. 

There are some distinct differences that can help you tell these species apart. Typically bees are fuzzier and rounder than wasps which have a more elongated and sleek appearance.   

Problems with Wasps

Wasps are likely to become a problem if they decide that your home is their home too. Just about every species of wasp will invade an area and set their wasp nests before proceeding to defend that nest with a fervour rarely seen in the animal kingdom outside of other eusocial species. 

Even when you consider other insects such as ants, wasps are particularly territorial, and they translate that territorial nature into aggressive action towards any perceived threat to the nest.  

One common issue with having a wasp nest on your property is that when a wasp is killed near the nest, it will release a pheromone that will call other wasps to attack. This can cause serious problems, particularly for pets or small children. That is one of the reasons why dealing with a wasp nest quickly and effectively is important. 

Problems with Wasps

Why Wasps are Dangerous

To reiterate. Wasps are dangerous pests and present a very real health hazard to you, your family and any pets that live on your property. Wasps will sting when they are interrupted while pollinating or foraging for food. 

Some reasons wasps are dangerous

They will sting if you approach their nest recklessly.

They will sting if you make sudden movements or otherwise agitate them.

They may also sting if they detect certain pheromones or chemicals. There have been cases of wasps becoming agitated due to the chemicals used in certain food flavourings.

A pack or a swarm of wasps can cause severe injury if they decide to attack, and if they attack someone who is allergic, that person life is in danger due to anaphylactic shock.

The destruction of a wasps nest will cause surviving wasps to become even more hostile to surrounding life, and they are more likely to sting you.

Therefore it's important to have a professional pest control service get rid of the nest as doing a botched DIY treatment can quickly cause more problems than it solves with wasps.

Symptoms of a wasp sting

Whether you are allergic or not, getting stung by a wasp will hurt. you will most likely feel a sharp pain like you've been stabbed by a tiny knife followed by a burning itchiness as the venom gets to work.  If you are not allergic to a wasp sting, then you will likely only show minor symptoms to being stung by a wasp.

This typically includes some minor swelling in the form of a raised welt a the site where you got stung. At the middle of that welt, you will be able to see a small white area where the puncture was made into your skin. For a minor sting, the pain and swelling should subside after a few hours on their own, but the initial few minutes will be very unpleasant. 

It is also possible that after being stung, you will show a larger local reaction. This type of reaction suggests that you are experiencing an allergic reaction of a sort to the wasp venom, but the reaction is not quite anaphylactic nor life-threatening. The symptoms of a large local reaction include more pronounced effects such as extreme and long-lasting redness and swelling around the site of the sting. For example, when a person forearm completely swells up like a balloon. 

A large reaction could also cause nausea and vomiting to occur. These symptoms typically subside after a week or so, but you should also contact your doctor and inform them of the reaction. They will likely recommend you an antihistamine which can help relieve most of the symptoms.

Anaphylaxis following a wasp sting

An anaphylactic reaction is the most severe kind of allergic reaction you can have to a wasp sting. Going into anaphylactic shock is a life-threatening reaction and can occur extremely quickly after being stung by a wasp, typically a few minutes. 

Identifying the symptoms of anaphylactic shock quickly is vital so that you can seek medical attention and call for an ambulance immediately. 

Anaphylactic reaction symptoms

Severe facial swelling

Laboured breathing

Hives or urticaria breaking out all over the body, not just the area of the sting.

Dizziness

Low blood pressure

Light-headedness

Loss of consciousness

Nausea

Vomiting

Diarrhoea

Cramps in the stomach

Accelerated pulse

anaphylactic reaction to wasp sting

An anaphylactic reaction may not necessarily include all of these symptoms, but at least a couple of them will show in tandem within minutes of being stung. 

If a person has a history of anaphylaxis, they should be carrying an EpiPen or a bee sting kit. These EpiPens contain epinephrine which helps stabilise a person going into anaphylactic shock by helping with blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. 

As soon as anaphylactic shock is identified, you should immediately use the EpiPen and call an ambulance. Even in a situation where the reaction isn't as severe, after using an EpiPen, it is highly recommended that you spend time in hospital as there is sometimes potential for the reaction to rebound as the allergens remain in your system.

Are you looking for wasp nest removal in Bedfordshire or Hertfordshire? Our wasp pest control experts offer nest removal services for Milton Keynes, Stevenage and the surrounding areas. To learn more about our wasp pest control and nest removal, feel free to follow the links below.