Stinging Insects Pose Health Risks This SummerNPMA Staff
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Wasp, Hornet, Yellowjacket and Bee Prevention and Treatment
With the start of summer comes the appearance of common stinging
insects, such as bees, wasps, hornets and yellowjackets,
and the various related health risks that range from irritating but
relatively harmless stings to the threat of serious allergic
reaction. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) stresses
that when it comes to stinging insects, the best way to avoid the
associated health risks is to practice simple prevention and
“It’s important to understand what we can do to mitigate the
health problems these stinging insects present,” said Dr. Jorge
Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA. “For most people,
painful stings typically result in swelling and local soreness, but
3 percent of the population experience more widespread allergic
reactions, like rashes and hives, and extreme cases can result life
threatening symptoms like shortness of breath.”
Stinging insects are beneficial in that they pollinate plants
and flowers and eat other harmful pests, but they also dole out
painful stings and cause people anxiety about being stung. While in
reality, bees and yellowjackets rarely sting unless provoked, more
aggressive species like wasps can sting in painful attacks if they
The NPMA offers the following tips when dealing with stinging
- If one lands on your skin, resist the urge to swat and instead
gently blow on it.
- If stung, remove the stinger, clean the area with soap and cold
water and apply ice. Benedryl and hydrocortisone ointment may also
help calm the reaction.
- Should you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as
tongue and throat swelling, wheezing, dizziness, shortness of
breath or drop in blood pressure, call 911.
- If allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an
epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.
- If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your
property, contact a
licensed pest professional to safely remove the threat.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization
with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support
the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of
public health, food and property.