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Archive for the ‘Wasps’ Category

Are People With Venom Allergies The Only Victims Of Fatal Bee, Wasp And Ant Stings?

While there exists plenty of arthropod species that can inflict painful bites or stings to humans, very few arthropod species are considered medically significant. Almost all medical professionals agree that black widows and recluse spiders are the only spiders in the US that are medically significant, but most people who have sustained a bite from one of these spiders recovered without professional medical intervention. However, a little more than 100 people die from arthropod-related injuries every year in the US, and most of these fatalities result from honey bee and yellow jacket envenomations. But is venom really the culprit in these fatalities? After all, the exact cause of death in the vast majority of fatal wasp and bee envenomation incidents is anaphylactic shock, which is not technically death by venom toxicity.

Anaphylactic shock is an extreme allergic response to a foreign material, and this condition is fatal unless proper medical treatment is administered in time. Those with an allergy to Hymenoptera venom (bees, wasps and ants) are at high risk of experiencing anaphylaxis following one or a few stings. It is often assumed that most people are not allergic to arthropod venom, and therefore, most people are not at risk of anaphylaxis following bee or wasp stings, but this is not exactly the case. While some people are born with a sensitivity to certain arthropod venoms, those who are not can develop a sensitivity to venom in response to repeated stings, but others may become less sensitive with each sting sustained. It is not known why repeated stings cause some people to develop an allergy to venom while others become more tolerant of it, but those who have experienced a progressive worsening of envenomation symptoms with each successive Hymenoptera sting should visit an allergy specialist or immunologist for proper testing.

People who do not have a venom allergy can die in response to numerous stings inflicted by swarming wasps and bees. Wasp swarms are particularly dangerous, as each individual wasp inflicts stings repeatedly. Some experts believe that the rate of annual arthropod-related fatalities in the US may be higher than reported. For example, a small number of deaths that have officially been attributed to heat stroke or heart attacks may have been caused by arthropod envenomations, and some fatal car accidents may occur in response to drivers sustaining arthropod stings.

Have you ever sustained a painful spider bite?



What You Need To Know About The Highly Venomous And Aggressive Red Wasps That Often Build Nests On Residential Trees And Structures

Numerous wasps that are capable of delivering painful stings have been documented within Louisiana. Some of these wasps include yellow jackets, great black wasps, mud daubers, potter wasps, European hornets and paper wasps. The most aggressive and dangerous wasps in the state include yellow jackets and European hornets (which are wasps). Another wasp species that has been spotted in the state, Polistes carolina, is known for inflicting painful stings that can result in serious medical conditions. This wasp species is commonly known as the Alabama red wasp, and this species is only one of two red paper wasp species described in scientific literature.

The Alabama red wasp is easy to recognize on account of its large red body which has been known to exceed one inch in length. Although Alabama red wasps are scarcely mentioned as being dangerous wasp species in the US, their populations become abundant throughout the eastern states during the summer, which has made them notorious among residents. Generally, paper wasp species are not particularly aggressive, and they will only sting when provoked or handled. This is not the case when it comes to the Alabama red wasp, which is one of many paper wasp species found in the US.

These wasps live in colonies that can grow to contain hundreds of individual specimens. Alabama red wasps break down plant matter in order to use the resulting material to build paper nests. Once these nests dry, they resemble a honeycomb-like structure, and if a nest is found in a residential area, contacting a pest control professional for nest removal may be a wise idea due to the aggression exhibited by this species. These wasps also nest within hollow trees, and paper nests are commonly found on the underside of eaves and on the underside of bridges. Due to their abundance during the summer months, Alabama red wasps frequently sting humans, and when this occurs, swelling, pain and local itchiness usually result. These wasps are also known for inducing severe allergic reactions, so if a sting should be sustained by a person with known allergies to insect venom, medical care should be sought out immediately.

Have you ever spotted an Alabama red wasp?





This Louisiana Wasp May Keep Yellow Jackets In Check, But They Are Not Your Friends

Louisiana’s hot and humid climate makes the state an ideal home for all kinds of insect pests. Surprisingly, some insect pests in the state are partly beneficial to residents, as they kill other insect pests. While most insect pests within the state do not provide this free pest control service, but the bald-faced hornet happens to be one insect that is both dangerous and beneficial due to its habit of preying on other dangerous wasp species.

Despite being called a “hornet” the bald-faced hornet, and all other hornets, are actually just a particular group of wasps. The same is true for “yellow jackets,” as all yellow jacket insects are wasps. In fact, some wasps are considered both yellow jackets and hornets, and this is the case with the bald-faced hornet. The bald-faced hornet is related to the yellow jacket, and they are often categorized as such, but they are not “true” hornets, as their bodies are stout and lightly colored. These hornets are considered by experts to be beneficial due to their habit of hunting flies and other yellow jackets. However, experts are also quick to point out that bald-faced hornets are also extremely aggressive, and there have been reports of this species attacking people without provocation.

Adult bald-faced hornets capture and chew flies to pieces before feeding them to their larvae. These hornets can be found in just about every location of Louisiana including forests, backyards, meadows, gardens and urban areas. These hornets are, like most hornets, extremely aggressive and they will not hesitate to attack when they perceive a threat or when their nest becomes disturbed. Although bald-faced hornets can be found in most US states, they are particularly numerous in Louisiana, as the subtropical climate in the state allows these hornets to easily overwinter by hiding away within hollow logs and plant matter. This wasp species’ nest resembles a grey football and they are often found attached to tree branches, shrubs and the corners of a building’s exterior. If a nest is spotted, a pest control professional should be contacted for its removal in order to prevent attacks.

Have you ever sustained a sting from a hornet?


Sustaining Numerous Wasp Stings Can Induce Neurological Deficits That Include Brain Swelling And Lasting Memory Loss

When it comes to wasp attacks, most people assume that only those with allergies to insect venom are at risk of dying from such attacks. This is a reasonable assumption, but quite inaccurate as well. While most wasp attack fatalities resulted from severe allergic reactions, a minority of wasp attack fatalities result from an overdose of toxic venom. However, health care professionals know that odd physiological responses can sometimes occur in people who have sustained insect bites or stings, and wasp stings are no exception. As it turns out, in rare cases, victims of wasp attacks who sustain numerous stings can experience bizarre and unpleasant neurological symptoms and they can even develop neurological conditions that sometimes result in brain tissue death, brain and spinal cord swelling and nerve damage.

Not long ago, a 45 year old man sustained 50 stings from wasps while he was mowing his lawn. The man drifted in and out of consciousness while being taken to the hospital. Once the man’s vitals stabilized, he appeared to be in good spirits, but he suddenly began alternating between complete unconsciousness and alert conscious states. The man was also unable to speak for periods of time, and while in an unconscious state, he stared blankly with dilated pupils. The man would fall into an unconscious state every two to three hours, and upon waking, he would lose all memory of being in the hospital. With steroid therapy, the man’s neurological symptoms disappeared within a matter of months.

Although rare, some people who have been injected with high amounts of toxic venom during wasp attacks have developed neurological complications as a result. These attack victims have developed eye disorders, weakness in skeletal and respiratory muscles, brain and spinal inflammation, development of necrotic brain tissue, nerve damage, cerebral bleeding, oxygen impediments to the brain and more in response to sustaining numerous wasp stings. In most cases, normal neurological functioning is restored in these individuals, but some have gone on to suffer lasting neurological deficits after wasp attacks. There are several theories concerning how wasp stings could induce such unusual neurological symptoms, but the ultimate cause of such symptoms remains unknown.

Do you think that these neurological symptoms occur in response to unusually high doses of wasp venom?



The Wasp Species That Will Eat Out Of Your Hand

What is the fiercest type of insect that you can think of? Scorpions, certain spiders, or maybe certain centipedes? Well, none of those three animals belong to the insect community, as scorpions and spiders belong to the arachnid class, and centipedes belong to the chilopoda class. When it comes to insects, naming an intimidating species can be surprisingly hard. Of course, there are many insects that are considered dangerous, such as mosquitoes and other disease spreading insects. And there is certainly no shortage of insects that are commonly perceived as frightening to humans, such as cockroaches. Insects that are annoying, such as biting or buzzing insects, can be named all day, but which insect species can rightfully be called intimidating? Well, there are flying insects that sting, of course. There is good reason to become intimidated by flying insects that sting, as every year numerous fatalities result from bee and wasp attacks. Although bees are well known for stinging people, most species will not sting unless they feel threatened. Bees can only sting a person or animal once before losing their stinger forever, and many species die in response to having lost their stinger. Many people can agree that wasps pose a particularly intimidating threat to humankind, especially as far as insects are concerned. In fact, wasps are so well associated with malevolent behavior toward humans, that most people would never believe that a human-friendly wasp species even exists in nature. However, a group of wasps known as sand wasps are not at all a danger to humans. In fact, these wasps are gentle enough to eat flies right out of a person’s hand.

There exists many different species of sand wasp, the largest of which is the Bembix americanan spinolas. These wasps are known for hovering close to humans. Understandably, this intimidates people, as these wasps are not only large, but they also possess black and yellow stripes that closely resemble the notoriously mean spirited yellowjacket wasps. However, this sand wasp species only hovers close to people because this is exactly where it can catch delicious flies, as flies often hover around humans. Needless to say, it can come as a shock to witness a wasps eating flies directly out of a human’s hand.

Do you believe that wasps, as a species, are unfairly perceived as being inherently dangerous to humankind?

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