Being a victim of a wasp’s sting once is painful enough to leave a lasting impression regardless of whether you are a kid or an adult. Wasp stings generate excessive discomfort and can cause extreme allergic reactions in people who have sensitive skin.
And unfortunately, unpleasant incidents of wasp stings are more common than you think. Check the baby wasps for a detailed analysis. But can wasps sting more than once?
Unlike the common misunderstanding, wasps can sting more than once without dying in the process. But did you know that these heavily criticized and aggressive insects can live with you peacefully in one space? If this sounds hard to believe in, continue reading this blog to find:
- What causes the wasps to sting
- Why wasps can sting multiple times
- Not all wasps sting
- How to tell if a wasp has stung you
- The difference between wasps and bees
Contrary to the view that wasps are naturally destructive, they only use their venomous stinger for self-defense. Developing an understanding of their defense mechanism can help us devise preventive measures and ensure protection from any more unpleasant stings in the future.
Why do Wasps Sting?
The reason why you were struck with a wasp’s sting was probably that you unconsciously posed an imminent danger in some way. In other words, know that a wasp will attack you the moment it senses a fearful or threatening situation.
But a fearful situation can occur at anytime so why do the wasps mostly sting during summers? This is because female wasps tend to hibernate and lay eggs during winters.
They start producing new colonies in spring which then breaks down and disperse as soon as summers arrive. In the start, these dispersed, or worker wasps, are disoriented and so end up going in search of sweetened food and drinks. This, in turn, increases your chance of being exposed to wasps.
If you have wasps near your house, you would have noticed that their activity reduces at night. This is because wasps sleep at night and wake up to the slightest exposure of light – even if it’s just your flashlight!
The Stinging Habit of Wasps
Being carnivores, wasps are very active when it comes to hunting. But they can also sting and defend themselves multiple times if they are aggravated or alarmed. This is because they don’t lose their stinger when they sting. With each sting is some venom released, but its amount varies between wasps depending on how much each can hold in their body.
The only time they may not sting more than once is if they run out of venom. They can only sting again once the venom has regenerated. Some species of wasps are also capable of ‘biting’ in addition to stinging when they feel attacked. But most resort to simply stinging in their attempts to deter humans who threaten their safety.
An interesting thing to note is that the male wasps don’t sting at all. This is because it is not physically possible for them to do so. Male wasps don’t have a stinger and hence are neither too aggressive nor too protective – their sole purpose is to breed or pollinate.
Female wasps, on the other hand, are in charge of safeguarding their territory. Every time it stings, a female wasp also releases a pheromone that lets other female wasps know that it needs help.
So in case you thought a wasp stung you more than once, it was probably a whole pack of female wasps hinting you to run away!
What Happens When a Wasp Stings?
Even in instances where wasps stung you more than once, keep in mind that they are not meant to kill you. Human deaths from wasp stings are incredibly rare. But the wasp stings do cause allergic reactions and immense pain.
The symptoms of a wasp sting can be grouped into three kinds of reactions:
Normal local reactions
Majority of the non-allergic victims of wasp stings who face normal local reactions. It refers to developing a raised welt around the sting site with a small white mark in the location where the wasp attacked. Even though this is painful at the moment, but the swelling and pain go away after sometime.
Large local reactions
If you are allergic to stings, you are likely to face more pronounced symptoms of a wasp sting. Large local reactions are more painful than normal local reactions but they are not life-threatening. They include:
- Extreme redness
- Swelling that keeps increasing 2-3 days after the sting
Large local reactions subside on their own within 2-3 weeks but you can opt for treatment for fast recovery.
Severe allergic reactions
The most severe and alarming reactions to wasp stings are called anaphylaxis. This appears in people with sting allergy and needs immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis occurs in response to the venom that has entered the body, resulting in a shock. Someone with anaphylaxis will face some or all of the following symptoms:
- Swelled face, lips, throat
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Diarrhea or stomach cramps
- Decreased blood pressure
- Itching in parts of the body that are unaffected by the sting
- A feeling of nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty in breathing
How to Treat Wasp Stings?
How long the symptoms of wasp sting last depends on the way you treat the sting. As soon as you or someone near you gets stung by a wasp, you should get a clean cloth to wipe off the sting area. While most wasps don’t normally leave the sting behind, make sure to check out for any sting in the affected area and remove it immediately.
You will soon notice a swelling around the stung area. Get an ice and apply it on the swelling every 20 minutes until it starts to subside. Make sure that you cover the ice in a cloth to avoid any direct contact with the skin. Use an anti-septic disinfectant around the sting area to prevent any infections. You may also consider having a painkiller in case there is severe pain.
Related: Best Fogger for Spiders
While severe reactions will require you to seek the help of a doctor, most of the time stings can be treated at home. Home remedies and treatments can be very effective on was stings. Some products that can immediately manage your discomfort include:
- Creams and sprays containing anesthetics reduce the risk of infection.
- Aspirin or acetaminophen can effectively help deal with pain.
- The Antihistamine in oral or cream form helps in subsiding the swelling, redness, and itching.
- A cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar can curb the pain.
During your efforts to treat the sting, be careful with what you do. A minor carelessness can make the effects of the wasp sting very severe.
When a wasp stings make sure to:
- Not swat at the wasp because it will continue stinging
- Protect your head and face
- Watch out for any severe reaction and act accordingly
- Call for medical assistance if you notice an allergic reaction
- Remain calm and not create chaos because that could make wasps sting you more than once
- Not scratch the sting because it would lead to an infection
- Not squeeze or burst blisters
Preventing Wasp Stings
You have to be vigilant and careful to make sure that you don’t have any unpleasant encounters with wasps in the future. To avoid stings try to consciously make an effort to stay away from the colonies of wasps and do not go too close in case you spot any. You can also use wasp foggers.
Wasps love sweet smells which is why you should always cover your food and beverage containers when eating outdoors. You should also quickly wipe off any food or drink spills.
It is also helpful to avoid wearing any fruity and floral fragrances because they may end up attracting wasps.
You can’t always know where you may run into a wasp. But it is ideal to wear close-toed shoes and muted tones when you visit a garden or meadow.
This will effectively reduce your chance of being stung if you accidentally disrupt or walk over a wasp nest – or even fake wasp nests – do they work?. If you do get stung by a wasp once, don’t make any sudden movement because it will only go on to result in more stings. Cover your nose and mouth with your hand and walk in an enclosed space.
If you have noticed a wasp or two in your house, don’t hesitate to call a wasp control professional to inspect your house for any wasp infestation. This will protect you from running into a wasp nest unintentionally. If you see a wasp nest nearby, do not try to get rid of it all by yourself and contact a wasp control contractor instead.
Now you know that not only does a wasp sting more than once but also what makes it sting an innocent human being.
We hope that this detailed account on wasps helped you identify the symptoms of a wasp sting, know the treatments that could work, and understand how you can avoid painful encounters with wasps.