What No-One Tells You About Wasp Stings

What No-One Tells You About Wasp Stings

Posted by Muzi On 21 Dec, 2017

We can all agree on the painful hell that wasp stings create. Although many people in Melbourne like to think that they are the pure spawns of Satan trying to create hell on earth it, wasps are not all that demonic and do not attack just out of acting hostile.

Even for those residents in Melbourne that haven't gotten stung by a wasp yet, there is complete unison in knowing that their stings are a very painful reality. While speaking about the same, there is quite a bit that no-one tells you about their stings, except for the fact that they are painful.

Below are a few must-knows about wasp stings that people usually don't know or don't tell you about:

The reason for their stings:

Wasps stingJust like every other creature wasps are created with a defense mechanism that is usually provoked to cause them to sting people. They do not sting out of the pure liking to do so and only sting when they feel intimidated. Here are a few reasons these pests feel the need to attack people in Melbourne or just all over the world:

  • Defense
    Like almost every other female, a wasp woman prioritizes her duty towards protecting her home and will strike if she feels like her home is in danger. Wasp females too have the same reaction and will sting anyone and everyone around during the time that she feels her nest is under attack.
  • Distress
    All living things feel the need to find an outlet for their distress, and these pests are known to be easily distressed provoked and will bite as a reflex! In most cases, they are distressed and provoked during the attempt to get rid of them from the surroundings.

Does a wasp-sting affect the wasp too?

If there is anything 'Bee movie' taught us it is that a bee sting is not just painful for a human but life-threatening to the bee as well. This is not the same with wasps. They can enjoy attacking for as much as they want without it being a threat to their own life. The only thing life-threatening about it is for people or residents in Melbourne that are allergic to wasp stings.

Why the sting of a wasp doesn't kill the pest itself?

For most of us in Melbourne, knowing that a wasp does not die after attacking is quite a disappointment.

We also tend to question why they continue to live post the bite, when bees don't. The simple answer to that is the difference of anatomy in them. Since the shape of a bee's stinger is barbed the stinger gets stuck in the skin of the person that is stung, while attempting to pull back the stinger is ripped off the bee's body leading to its death. Wasps have stingers that are unlike those of bees and hence do not get stuck in people's skin during a 'sting operation'.

Do male wasps also attack?

The answer to the above question is a simple 'no!' The males are used solely for the purpose of breeding to increase the family like most other insect males. They cannot bite because males do not possess the egg-laying ovipositor that transforms into a stinger like the female wasps, hence it would be reasonable to say that males do not possess stingers at all. This does lead many residents in Melbourne to suddenly wonder 'how many females really exist?'

The pain scale:

The pain scale regarding insect stings is most commonly known as the Schmidt Pain Index and while discussing the pain that is provided by a wasp sting, it is necessary to calculate the same on the Schmidt pain Index.

The inventor of the Schmidt Pain index Justin.O. Schmidt was known to create the table after purposely inflicting various insects' bites upon himself to structure the table. Quite a way to reinforce the 'no pain no gain' quote. The table includes the basic need-to-knows about various insect bites. Below is the information from the table related to wasps:

  • Yellow Jacket
    The yellow jacket's bite lasts up to 10 minutes and the pain rates a 2.0 on the scale. The description in the table explains it to be the same as putting out a cigar on your tongue.
  • Paper Wasp
    This one that is rated as 3.0 on the Schmidt index scale and the pain can last for anywhere between 5-10 minutes. The table describes it to be like the feeling you would get if hydrochloric acid fell on a paper cut.
  • Tarantula Hawk Wasp
    The Tarantula Hawk Wasp’s sting is given a 4.0 rating on the Schmidt Pain Index and the burning sensation is known to last for 5 minutes, the table defines the pain to be equivalent to getting a shock from a hair drier that has fallen into your bubble bath.

The reason for the pain:

If you guessed venom to be the reason for the pain, you were right! The body's reaction to a wasp-sting can vary from person to person and can also vary from incident to incident. If you're wondering why it carries venom, here is the answer:

  • To hunt
    A wasp's sting is known be useful for paralysing their prey and carrying them back to their nest without the prey being able to put up a fight.
  • To protect
    Their venom is used as a defense mechanism to protect themselves in cases of being threatened by larger species.

The Allergies

A lot of people are allergic to different kinds of insects and a lot of residents in Melbourne are allergic to wasp stings. It is more common for a person to survive an allergic reaction to being stung by a wasp; however, one needs to be careful.

The reason for a person's death in some allergic cases is because of the severity of the allergy towards being stung.

How to treat a wasp sting?

It is best to be well aware of the procedures to treat a wasp sting as one may never know when it might come handy. Of course, the consultation of a professional is necessary but here are just a few first aid tips to help you:

  • Clean
    Just like any other wound cleaning is necessary and it is important to clean the part of the skin that has been stung with soap and water or a medical disinfectant. This will help remove some of the venom from the wound.
  • Stay Cool
    Yes, it is important to stay calm as haste and worry can never helpful, but it is also important to apply a cooling ice pack for 10 minutes every hour.
  • Call for help
    For those that are allergic to wasp- stings it is best to call an ambulance and seek medical help before any severe reactions.

Dealing with wasp stings will now be easier. It is important to remember to consult a professional for best advice on how to prevent dealing with them in the first place instead of exposing yourself to the risk of being stung.

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