Bee and wasp stings
Bee and wasp stings cause several human deaths in the United States
each year. The ability to sting, coupled with great mobility, make bees
and wasps some of the most feared of all insects. A bee or wasp sting
results in local pain, swelling, redness and itching for most persons. To
minimize the sting, a poultice of meat tenderizer or salt can be applied
to the site as soon as possible after the incident and left on for about 30
Use about 0.5 teaspoon mixed with enough water to produce
a paste. Commercial swabs are available that do about the same thing.
Some people may react violently if they are stung. Symptoms can include
difficulty in breathing, dizziness and nausea, as well as the more
common symptoms listed above. With severe reactions, medical attention is needed. Anyone with a history of hypersensitive reactions
should have a sting emergency kit available and should wear a medical
alert bracelet or other alert item. Consult your physician about
Stinging insects such as ants, bees and wasps belong to the order
Hymenoptera. Some hymenopterous insects such as sawflies and
horntails do not possess stingers. In groups that do sting, only the
females have stingers. Wasps sting repeatedly, but bees sting only once
because bees have a barbed stinger that remains in the victim’s skin.
When the bee moves or is brushed away, the stinger is pulled from the
bee’s body along with the venom sac, which continues to pump venom
into the victim. The bee dies after this one sting.
Most bees and wasps are social insects living in colonies, where tasks
are divided among three castes: queens, males and workers. Queens are
responsible for nest establishment and egg-laying. In most species, only
one queen is present during most of the season. Workers are all
females equipped with stingers. They constitute the vast majority of the
colony’s individuals. Males are usually small in number and appear for
only a short time during the annual cycle.
Honey bees are about 0.5 inch long with a fuzzy light brown to black
appearance, with striped brown and black abdomens. They are
considered to be the most beneficial species of insect because they
pollinate plants and produce honey and bee’s wax. However, because
they sting in defense of their nest, honey bees may become a pest if
nests are in the wrong location.
Wild colonies of honey bees nest in existing cavities such as hollow
trees. Domestic bees are housed in manufactured hives. A honey bee
colony occupies the same nest from year to year. A queen and many
workers survive the winter inside the nest. At various times during the
year, new queens are produced and the old queen and a number of
workers leave the hive to “swarm.” Swarming is the process of
searching for a new home. If the swarm settles in a place where bees
are not welcome, such as the wall of a house, then they become pests.
There is a lower risk of being stung around a swarm because it is a
period of vulnerability and the colony has no hive or honey to protect.
Ideally, honey bee swarms should be picked up before they start to
establish a nest in an undesirable location. Some beekeepers will
capture and remove swarms. Once a swarm establishes a nest inside a
wall, it requires killing the bees.
Haley pest control provides this service for a fee. A pesticide is
injected into the nest can kill the colony. A second treatment should be
made as a precaution within 7 days after the first. After all activity in the
nest has ceased, open the wall and remove the dead bees, honey and
wax. If left behind, wax can melt, allowing the honey and wax to run.
This would damage the finished side of the wall. Nests above ceilings
are an even greater problem in this regard. Remains of the nest can also
attract other household pests such as dermestid beetles and mice.
Haley Pest Control offers Pest Control and Termite Control in Lawrence, KS and in Topeka,
Kansas, Baldwin, Eudora, Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Leawood, Shawnee
Mission, Stanley, Ottawa, Kansas City, Basehor, Linwood, Tonganoxie, Mclouth,
and Perry-Lecompton. We offer Pest Management and Exterminator services for the
following counties: Douglas, Johnson, Jefferson, Franklin, Shawnee, Wyandotte
and Leavenworth, KS.