Stinging Insects: Everything You Need to Know

The Alvin Pest Control, LLC Blog

Our customers at Alvin Pest Control are always asking us about stinging insects. Their questions include how to tell them apart, how to avoid them and what to do if they’re stung. With that in mind, here are the facts about insects that sting.

What Are They?

Stinging insects are those insects that are venomous and have the ability to inject that venom into a prey or threat through a stinger or other body part. The venom is meant to paralyze or even kill prey and discourage predators and other threats. Interestingly, only the females of bees and wasps sting. Their stinger is actually a type of ovipositor, an organ that would usually allow for the passage of eggs. But ants and even the caterpillars of some moths can sting.

Are They Beneficial?

Insects that sting are often amazingly beneficial to life on the planet. Bees are such important pollinators that many crops would not grow without their ability to pollinate them. Wasps and hornets also pollinate plants, but they also rid the garden of pests such as grubs and caterpillars. Though they have a terrible and somewhat deserved reputation, fire ants even eat ticks that spread disease. When they build nests deep into the ground they help get oxygen into the soil and make it fertile.

How To Deal With Stings

Though most wasps, bees and hornets don’t go out of their way to sting — indeed, stinging kills honeybees by eviscerating them — stings happen. People who are allergic to stings should carry an Epi-pen with them if they are going into an area where stings are a risk. If they’re stung, they should use it but still seek medical help right away. Here’s how people who aren’t sensitive can deal with stings:

Bee Sting Treatment

The first thing to do with a honeybee sting is to calmly leave the area, and remove the sting as soon as possible. Scrape it out with a credit card or fingernail or use tweezers. Wash the wound with soap and water, add a cold pack, and keep the area elevated for a while.

Wasp Sting Treatment

Wasp sting treatment is different from bee sting treatment in that a stinger doesn’t need to be pulled out. The first thing to not do if stung by a wasp is swat at it. This is considered threatening by the wasp, and she’ll release pheromones to have her sisters come and join her. Instead, a person should calmly leave the area and wash the wound with soap and water, then place a cold pack on it. As the wound heals, make sure it stays dry and clean. Covering it with a bandaid is a good practice.

Call Us For More Information

If you need more information about insects that can sting and how to deal with them, call our professionals at Alvin Pest Control.