ThedaCare Health Matters

Bee-ware of flying stinging insects

This is the time of year that wasp and hornet stings become more frequent. You may have noticed that the wasps and hornets are very active and aggressive as the summer comes to an end and we enter the fall. Their food sources are declining and they are seeking sweet meals. They commonly will try to share your food or drink. This increases your chances of being stung. Stings can lead to a trip to the emergency room or a doctor office visit.

Most stings in our area are from wasps or more specifically, yellow jackets. Wasps and hornets tend to be more aggressive than honey bees. They tend to attack and defend their nest from an intruder who comes close. Wasps and hornets make nests in the ground or under the eaves of the house or tree branches. They can sting, inject venom and then withdraw the stinger and strike again.

Honey bees are less aggressive and generally need to be provoked to sting. They can only sting once, but they leave their barbed venom sack attached to the skin. The sack should be removed as soon as possible, but avoid squeezing it to avoid injecting more venom into the skin. A fingernail or a credit card can be effective to remove the stinger.

  To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.