What to put on a wasp sting to stop it hurting?

Now we don’t get the same long heat of summer that you get in the continent, so when that sun does come out, we Brits head to our backyards, open parks and soak up that sunshine. However sometimes, we find ourselves enjoying our moments in the sunshine, with more unwanted guests, of the stinging variety… Stinging Insects!

Most of us have suffered the wrath of a wasp or bee sting before, and if you haven’t, take it from me it hurts! However, for those lucky enough to not suffer from a severe allergic reaction from insect stings there are some home remedies which can help reduce swelling, ease the pain, and help with the irritating itch.

If, however, you are allergic to wasp stings and/or bee stings the best course of action is to contact a hospital straight away.

Home Remedies for Wasp, Bee & Hornet Stings


Ice is a great way to help reduce the swelling from a wasp sting as well as both bees and hornet stings, the cold temperature slows down the blood flow to the insect sting.

To treat insect stings using ice take an ice cube, or an ice pack and place it on the wasp sting for around 20 minutes. This will help with the pain and reduce the swelling.

Note: If using ice cubes wrap in a paper towel or a damp cloth to protect the affected area.


Garlic acts as a pain relief for insect stings. For this home remedy crush a clove of garlic and slather it on the sting. Make sure the juices from the garlic are applied to the sting (this is what makes it an effective home remedy). After that is complete place a plaster on the affected area and let the garlic do its magic.


Another vegetable which is great for treating insect stings is onions. Simply cut an onion in half and place it (flesh side down) on the insect sting, pressing gently until the pain has reduced.


Cucumbers are a great remedy to treat wrinkles, but did you know they are also great for treating insect stings? This is because cucumber is a natural astringent (a natural chemical that tends to shrink or constrict body tissue). For this insect sting, home remedy takes a slice of cucumber and rub it on the insect sting, this will help reduce the pain and cool the area.

Bee Sting Home Remedies

What home remedies can you use for bee stings? Find out how to treat bee stings using items in your home:

Bee sting venom is naturally quite acidic. Helping to reduce the pain and swelling consists of using home remedies which are alkaline as this will help neutralise the venom.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great way to help neutralise the venom of a bee sting. All you need to do is create a thick paste out of baking soda and water and apply it to the sting.


Just like our previous home remedy, make a thick paste by mixing the salt with water and apply it to the bee sting.

Wasp Sting Home Remedies

Help I’ve been stung by a wasp! What can I do to stop the pain? – Find out below

Compared to bee stings, the venom in hornet and wasp stings are alkalines. Using home remedies which are quite acidic is the best way to treat wasp stings by neutralising the wasp venom.

Lemon Juice

To treat wasp stings with lemon, slice a fresh lemon in half and squeeze out as much juice as you can. Dab either a cotton swab or cloth in the juice and apply it to the wasp sting. You can also use bottled lemon juice, however, fresh lemon juice works better.


If you don’t want to use lemon juice you can also use a fresh lemon instead. Slice a fresh lemon in half and place one of the segments, flesh side down, on the wasp sting.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Soak a small bit of cotton wool in apple cider vinegar and place it on the wasp sting whilst applying a small amount of pressure. The acidity of the vinegar helps neutralise the wasp venom.


Much like apple cider vinegar, the best way to treat wasp stings using vinegar is to apply it to a piece of cotton wool and place it on the sting. You can also use a cotton swab soaked in vinegar and rub it on the insect sting.

Hornet Stings

Although some of the home remedies on this list can help to treat hornet stings, they are not a definite cure. Compared to wasp and bee stings, hornet stings (especially one from a giant Asian hornet) can be much more painful, and deadly. This is because hornet venom is a lot more powerful than that of a bee and wasp as it contains a large amount of acetylcholine which is a powerful pain stimulant. This is what makes hornet stings so painful.

The strength of hornet venom does differ between each species. Some hornet stings are just like that from a bee or wasp, whilst others can be extremely painful. European hornet stings are usually the most painful as they contain the most venom thus being the most deadly.

The most infamous of all the hornet stings is that from a giant Asian hornet. This stinging insect is reportedly the cause of 30-50 human deaths in Japan every year, and 42 in China. The toxicity of a giant hornet’s venom is extremely nasty causing severe reactions such as melting skin and organ failure.

Healthy Outlook

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Friday, April 25, 2014

It’s April, which means spring is here. I love the spring — the flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer, and I get to enjoy spending more time outdoors. Of course, spending more time outdoors can carry risks. One moment you’re on a nature hike, the next moment you’re on a nature hike getting stung by a bee.

Yes, spring is not just the beginning of baseball season, it’s the beginning of bee-sting season.

All kidding aside, bee stings can actually pose a serious health threat. If someone is allergic to bees, a sting can be a life-threatening situation. In the vast majority of cases, though, bee or wasp stings are not a cause for concern—they usually just cause some pain, swelling, redness and itching at the site of the sting.

Dealing with a bee or wasp sting will obviously be different depending on your sensitivity. But let’s begin with the most common scenario in which a person has a mild reaction. The first thing you need to do is remove the stinger if you were stung by a bee (wasps don’t leave stingers behind). You can get it out with your fingers, tweezers or even the edge of a credit card. Remove it as quickly as you can in order to limit the amount of venom released.

Next, wash the affected area with soap and water. Once you’ve done that, apply ice and take an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen to limit the swelling. If the affected area gets itchy—a fairly common side effect—you can apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to get some relief. The pain and discomfort should go away in a few hours. With a more moderate reaction, swelling around the site of the sting may persist for a few days and even grow larger.

There are also alternative home remedies that you can find recommended on the Internet like meat tenderizer and toothpaste. I can’t vouch for these remedies, although some might have some therapeutic value. What I can say is that ice and anti-inflammatory medication are what most people need to get better.

Sometimes, however, ice and Motrin won’t do it. In rare instances, people who are severely allergic to bee stings can go into anaphylactic shock, a potentially fatal allergic reaction. Signs that you may be having a serious allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting include wheezing, swelling of throat and tongue, rash or hives, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should call 911 or seek immediate medical attention at the nearest emergency room.

People who have had anaphylactic reactions to bee stings need to get an EpiPen and carry it with them in case they are stung again. Users inject a pre-loaded amount of epinephrine with the device, which provides a fast-acting method for reducing symptoms of anaphylaxis. After using the EpiPen, people should still go to the emergency room as they may need further medical care and observation.

Now that I have contributed to adding bee stings to your list of phobias, let me emphasize that only a very small percentage of the population is allergic to bee stings and a sting is rarely fatal. So go out and enjoy the beautiful weather and, if you get stung, the odds are you’ll be fine—just monitor your symptoms to make sure you’re not having a serious reaction.

Healthy Outlook is written by the professional staff of Contra Costa Health Services, the county health department. Send questions to series coordinator Dr. David Pepper at [email protected] For more health information, go to www.cchealth.org.

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Stay calm
“A key thing to know is that the incidence of serious reactions is exceedingly low,” says Dr. Sam Torbati, co-chair and medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Emergency Medicine Department. “Bee and wasp stings are very painful, but they’re not, for most people, dangerous or life threatening.”

Remove the stinger
Honeybees do leave their stingers inside us. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets remain intact after they sting. So if a honeybee gets you, remove that stinger as quickly as possible.

“Don’t try to find the perfect tweezers,” adds Dr. Torbati. “Use your fingers or the edge of a credit card. Flick the stinger out sideways. Remove it fast to reduce further injection of the venom into the skin. The more venom in your body, the more the body will react to it.”

Apply ice to the sting
Ice is very effective at reducing pain and inflammation. It’s one of the best home remedies during the first couple days of treating the sting. While some people swear by toothpaste or mud, ice is the most reliable item around the house for sting symptoms.

Additional remedies
Over-the-counter antihistamine creams and products such as calamine lotion can be helpful. “Anti-itch creams that have a combination of antihistamine and topical steroid are terrific because the topical anesthetic numbs the skin and helps with pain,” Dr. Torbati says.

If you have ongoing redness and swelling over a large area of skin, oral antihistamines are useful because you can get more antihistamine effect in your system.

Stings that lead to infection
Though infections of the sting site are rare, keep an eye out for progressive symptoms. If redness and swelling expand over several days and are accompanied by a fever, you likely have a bacterial infection and will need some form of antibiotic.

Eight home remedies for bee stings

Before using any remedies, inspect the sting site.

If the bee’s stinger is still in the skin, remove it by wiping the area with gauze or scraping it with a fingernail. Do not squeeze the stinger by hand or with tweezers.

Honey bees can only sting once, because they leave their stingers behind them. Removing the stinger and its venom sac from the skin will prevent further irritation.

Below, we describe home remedies that relieve swelling and pain caused by bee stings and explore related research:

1. Ice

Share on PinterestIce can reduce pain and swelling.

Immediately after a bee sting, wash the area thoroughly to remove any remaining bee venom.

Then, apply ice to reduce pain and swelling:

  1. wrap an ice pack, or a bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a cloth
  2. place the bundle against the site of the sting
  3. hold the bundle in place for several minutes
  4. repeat as needed

Always use a cloth to protect the skin from the ice. Ice can damage the skin if it touches it directly.

2. Essential oils

A number of essential oils have antiseptic, antibacterial, or antifungal properties.

Though essential oils have long been used in home remedies, there is little high-quality evidence to suggest that any can relieve the pain or swelling of a bee sting.

The following oils are often used in home remedies:

  • tea tree oil
  • witch hazel
  • lavender oil
  • thyme oil
  • rosemary oil

Before applying essential oil to the skin, mix it with a neutral carrier oil, such as olive oil. Typically, the mixture is about one drop of essential oil for every four or five drops of the carrier oil.

It is important to note that essential oils can cause allergic reactions.

3. Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera is a plant-based gel that naturally soothes and moisturizes the skin. According to a 2015 study, aloe vera extract has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Spreading a little gel onto the bee sting can reduce swelling and help prevent the site from becoming infected.

Aloe vera gel is available to buy in many drug stores and online.

4. Calamine lotion

People often use calamine lotion to relieve itchy skin, and it may also help reduce pain and itching caused by a sting from a bee or wasp.

If the site of the sting becomes itchy, try rubbing on a little calamine lotion. It is available for purchase in health stores or online.

5. Honey

Share on PinterestHoney can combat inflammation and reduce swelling.

Honey has many medicinal properties. It contains compounds that combat inflammation, so it may help reduce swelling.

The natural antibacterial agents in honey may also help prevent infection and speed healing. For these reasons, some medical professionals use honey extracts in wound dressings.

Try spreading a small amount of honey onto the sting. Do this indoors, so the smell of the honey does not attract more bees.

6. Baking soda

Some people believe that baking soda neutralizes bee venom. However, no high-quality research suggests that baking soda can help relieve discomfort from a bee sting.

Baking soda can also damage the skin because it is very alkaline, so medical professionals tend not to recommend this remedy.

7. Apple cider vinegar

Some people claim that apple cider vinegar can help reduce the swelling of a bee sting.

However, clinical research has yet to show that apple cider vinegar has many of its purported health benefits.

Also, as an acidic substance, it can harm the skin if used incorrectly.

8. Toothpaste

One unconventional home remedy involves spreading alkaline toothpaste on the site of the sting to neutralize the venom.

There is no clinical research to support this use of toothpaste.

To try it, spread a small amount of toothpaste onto the sting site, but proceed with caution. The skin may react to the toothpaste, especially if it is left on for longer periods.

At any sign of a reaction, rinse off the toothpaste right away.

What’s the best way to treat a bee or wasp sting? It seems every family has their own secret remedy. From meat tenderizer or tobacco juice to vinegar or baking soda, there’s no shortage of “cures” out there and people who swear by them.

In reality, these home remedies have no real scientific or medical basis. While most aren’t necessarily dangerous, they also aren’t particularly effective. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing individuals and parents can do after a bee or wasp sting. Taking the right steps can minimize the typical pain, redness, swelling, and itching that most people suffer after a sting. For people with a severe allergic reaction, the right response could save their life.

For most people, a sting won’t cause more than pain, swelling, and redness right around the sting—what’s known as a local reaction.

However, a small percentage of people are allergic to insect stings and suffer a much more severe and dangerous reaction, known as a generalized reaction. Stings in these people may cause anaphylaxis and can be fatal. In fact, between 60 to 70 people in the U.S. die every year as a result of allergic reactions to stings, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tens of thousands more have very serious reactions that aren’t fatal.

Next time you or a child receives a nasty sting, look for signs of a generalized allergic reaction.

Signs of a generalized allergic reaction

Symptoms usually develop very quickly and may include

  • A feeling of uneasiness, tingling sensations, and dizziness.
  • Generalized itching and hives
  • Swelling of the lips and tongue
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Collapse and loss of consciousness

Anyone who has any of these symptoms should go to the emergency department immediately.

People who had a generalized allergic response in the past will very likely have one again after another sting. However, sometimes people who never had an allergic reaction on previous stings have a generalized allergic reaction to their next sting. Fortunately, this first reaction is less likely to be one of the fatal ones.

People who know they’re allergic should always have access to an epinephrine auto-injector. An auto-injector is a portable device that injects you when you push it against your skin—you don’t have to know how to “give a shot.” Epinephrine (adrenaline) is a drug that treats allergic reactions and can be life-saving. Use the auto-injector at the first sign of an allergic reaction.

Patients and parents should note—a more severe local reaction (greater pain or more extreme swelling) is not an indicator of increased risk for a generalized reaction, nor is receiving multiple stings.

If there’s no sign of a generalized allergic reaction, follow these 3 steps

Up to 1 million people go to the Emergency Department for bee stings every year. Most of these visits are for local reactions that you can treat at home by following these steps.

1. Remove the stinger with a dull-edged object

Bee stings and wasp stings are relatively similar, with one big exception. After a sting, honeybees leave a barbed stinger behind (and the honeybee dies). Wasps, on the other hand, have a smooth stinger that can sting multiple times without becoming detached from the insect.

Following a honeybee sting, the stinger should be removed as quickly as possible. In many cases, the bee also leaves behind the venom sack, which continues to pump venom as long as it stays intact. So the sooner you can remove it and the stinger, the sooner you can stop the flow of toxins.

A blunt object such as a credit card or butter knife gently scraped across the affected area is the best way to get rid of the stinger. Avoid using tweezers or anything else that could puncture or squeeze the venom sack and make symptoms worse.

2. Apply a cool compress

Once the stinger is out, a cool compress can help alleviate pain (just don’t dunk the whole area in ice). An antihistamine taken orally or applied as a cream can help alleviate itching and swelling.

3. Elevate the area

Depending on the location of the sting, elevating the area can also reduce swelling.

The level of swelling caused by a sting can often be startling. In fact, a sting on the hand can result in the hand swelling up to twice the normal size. This swelling, along with the area feeling warm and tender, can sometimes be confused for infection—also known as cellulitis. Individuals and parents should know it’s rare for infection to develop after a sting, especially within the first few days. The swelling caused by a local reaction may decrease within a few hours, but it can take a few days to fully resolve.

Keys to preventing stings

The best way to avoid complications from a sting is to avoid being stung in the first place. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you know you or your child will be outside and around bees or wasps.

  • Avoid wearing bright colors, scented perfume, or hair sprays.
  • Remember bees and wasps are social creatures. They only sting humans to protect their hive. The old rule of thumb is true—if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.
  • Bees and wasps are pretty slow fliers—most people can get away from them just by walking quickly.

Bee sting reaction

When bees or wasps sting a person, they inject venom through their stinger into the skin of the victim. Wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets have stingers without barbs that are usually retracted upon stinging, and these insects can sting people multiple times. The honey bee has a barbed stinger that remains in the victim’s skin with its venom sack attached. About 3% of people stung by bees and wasps have an allergic reaction to the sting, and up to 0.8% of bee sting victims experience the severe and life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Most people will have only a localized reaction to a bee sting. In the normal reaction to a bee sting, the skin is reddened and painful. Swelling and/or itching may also occur, but the pain usually disappears over a few hours. In the so-called large local reaction to an insect sting, the swelling, redness, and pain may persist for up to a week. Areas adjacent to the site of the skin may also be involved in the large local reaction.

Bee sting allergy symptoms

In a systemic allergic reaction, the entire body is affected. The victim may develop hives, redness, or swelling at sites on the body distant from the site of the sting. Symptoms can also include:

  • vomiting,
  • nausea,
  • diarrhea, and
  • dizziness.

In anaphylactic reactions, victims experience wheezing, difficulty breathing, and a drop in blood pressure that leads to shock if not treated promptly. Around 50 people are killed each year in the U.S. due to severe anaphylactic reactions to bee stings. These type of reactions usually occur within minutes of the bee sting. Since most people who have allergies to bee stings will have a worsened reaction to every subsequent sting, those individuals with bee sting allergies should talk to their doctor about taking special precautions, including carrying an injectable form of the drug epinephrine (used to treat anaphylactic reactions) at all times.


Stinging insects such as bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets use their stings to subdue prey (primarily insects and spiders) and to defend themselves or their colony. While various species display different degrees of aggressiveness, the same basic reasons for attacking and stinging are the instinctive desire to feed themselves or their colony members and to protect and defend their colony.

Appearance and Nest Location

In the United States there is only one true hornet – the European hornet (Vespa crabro). The adult European hornet is approximately 1-1.5 inches long. Its head, thorax, first abdominal segment and legs are reddish-brown. The rest of the abdomen is dark yellow with brownish bands and small spots. European hornet nests are usually built in cavities above ground. Locations such as hollow trees and wall voids are the most common nest sites. However, in rare situations, nests may be built in sheltered, yet somewhat exposed sites. European hornets are not as aggressive as baldfaced hornets, but will nevertheless sting if their colony is disturbed.

Another stinging insect commonly called a hornet are the baldfaced hornets. This species, Dolichovespula maculata is not a true hornet and resembles a larger version of the yellow jacket except they have whitish-colored facial and thoracic markings. Baldfaced hornets build their gray, rounded, paper-like nests high above ground on branches of trees or in hollow trees. Baldfaced hornets are some of the most aggressive stinging insects.

Categories of Reactions and Symptoms

Typical symptoms and reactions to stings by bees, yellowjackets, hornets or other wasps do not differ to a large extent except when a victim is stung multiple times by many individual insects and the victim is highly allergic to the insect’s venom. Generally, hornet stings produce the following reactions and symptoms:

Localized reactions. These are the most common types of reaction to a bee or wasp sting. Symptoms include pain, swelling, warmth, redness at the site of the sting and itching. Symptoms begin almost immediately after a sting and may last a few hours. Large local reactions often come with increased swelling and may last up to a week. Some individuals may experience nausea or fatigue with large local reactions.

  1. These symptoms do not cause major medical problems and are usually limited to or are very near the sting site.
  2. Secondary bacterial infections. This type of skin infection develops if the sting site is frequently scratched and bacteria are given a suitable condition in which to develop. Failure to adequately clean, disinfect and medicate sting sites enable infections to occur.

Systemic (affecting the whole body) allergic reactions. These reactions occur in people or pets that have produced a type of antibody, known as immunoglobulin E, against the same insect venom from a previous sting. Systemic allergic reactions are critical medical issues, but occur in a very small percentage of stings. Symptoms of systemic allergic reactions include swollen red bumps on the skin, flushing of the skin and difficulty breathing due to swelling of the pharynx epiglottis and narrowing of the bronchial passages. The reactions may vary in severity from mild skin to life-threatening. Anaphylaxis, the most severe immunologic reactions, occur more commonly in males and people less than 20 years of age. Severe cases may develop into life-threatening hypotension, which includes low blood pressure, circulatory disturbances, and difficulty breathing. In most cases, anaphylactic reactions occur in individuals who experienced previous stings with minimal reactions. After experiencing an anaphylactic reaction, the risk of a reaction in future stings is above 50%.

  1. Toxins in venom cause toxic reactions, not the body’s immune response.
  2. Most often these are due to multiple stings that introduce an unusually large amount of venom into the body. Symptoms can include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fainting and convulsions. Swollen red bumps, rash and other skin-related symptoms are less common in toxic reactions than in systemic allergic reactions. Because stinging insect venom is a strong stimulant that causes the immune response, people who have experienced toxic reactions may produce antibodies to the venom and be at risk for future systemic anaphylactic reactions to stings.

Delayed reactions occur, but are uncommon and may show up days to weeks after the sting. These reactions constitute less than 1 percent of all reactions to insect stings. Delayed reaction symptoms vary greatly by individual but may include inflammation of the brain, nerves, kidneys, and blood vessels and blood clotting issues.

With the summer months almost upon us, I thought I would brush up on my knowledge of ants and stinging insects, in preparation for their peak season.

While exploring the internet and many entomology books in search for the holy grail of stinging insect knowledge, one topic kept poking its head up time and time again. Like an entomology whack-a-mole, the Schmidt Pain Index was everywhere I looked.

With quotes such as “like rubbing acid into a paper cut,” I knew I had to find out more about this list.

What is the Schmidt Pain Index?

The Schmidt Pain Index was created by Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Centre in Arizona. Essentially it is a big list of all the stings you can get from an insect to which both Schmidt and his team subjected themselves in order to collect this data.

The pain index puts each insect on a pain scale of 0-4. 0 being completely harmless, with no pain whatsoever to 4 which in Schmidt’s words “You don’t want to know. The pain is so immediate and intense and it shuts down all illusions of life as normal. Imagine sticking a finger in a 240-volt electrical socket.”

As well as determining a level of pain for each insect, the Schmidt Pain Index also provides information in regards to the duration of the pain. The description of the pain suffered by each insect sting can be quite hysterical, but getting stung by some of these insects is no laughing matter. Not only does this provide information around the pain, but it does so in a way everyone can understand.

Schmidt has also gone on to study the chemistry behind the pain caused by insect stings (the venom), as well as how and why insects use venom as part of their defense mechanism.

The Pain Index

By 1990, the Schmidt Pain Index covered 78 different insect stings and bites all with their own ratings and unique descriptions. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite ratings.


Everyone has encountered ants in their lifetime, but how many of you have been bitten by one? Each species of ant brings its own unique level of pain to the table from the mild snap of the fire ant to the excruciating agony of the bullet ant. These tiny creatures are not to be messed with.

Fire Ant

  • Pain scale rating: 1.2
  • Duration of pain: 2- 5 minutes
  • Description: Sharp, sudden, mildly alarming. Like walking across a shag carpet and reaching for the light switch.

Bullhorn Acacia Ant

  • Pain scale rating: 1.8
  • Duration of pain: 4 -6 minutes
  • Description: A rare, piercing, elevated sort of pain. Someone has fired a staple into your cheek.

Red Harvester Ant

  • Pain scale rating: 3.0
  • Duration of pain: 1- 8 hours
  • Description: Bold and unrelenting. Somebody is using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.

Bullet Ant

  • Pain scale rating: 4.0+
  • Duration of pain: 12- 24 hours
  • Description: Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3″ rusty nail in your heel.

Did You Know: The Satere-Mawe people of Brazil use bullet ants as part of their initiating rights to become a warrior. The young boys must wear a glove made from live bullet ants and endure 10 minutes of bullet ant stings.


Most people have crossed paths with some sort of bee in their lifetime, from the humble bumblebee to the busy honey bee. The majority of the time we see them collecting nectar, helping to pollinate plants. But have you ever been stung by one? If you have, you might be able to relate to Schmidt’s accurate descriptions.

Sweat Bee

  • Pain scale rating: 1.0
  • Duration of pain: short
  • Description: Light, ephemeral, almost fruity. As if a tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.

Honey Bee

  • Pain scale rating: 2.0
  • Duration of pain: 4-10 minutes
  • Description: Like a matchhead that flips off and burns your skin.

Did You Know: Bees die after stinging you. Their stingers are barbed thus causing it to get stuck in our skin. As the bee tries to pull away she rips her stinger from her body which causes her untimely death.

Wasps and Hornets

Now it’s on to the bee’s more aggressive cousins — Wasps and Hornets. Anyone who has ever come across one of these stinging insects knows how painful their stings can be so it’s no surprise a range of different wasp species were featured on the Schmidt pain index.

A little-known fact is that hornets are actually a species of wasp.

Bald Faced Hornet

  • Pain scale rating: 2.0
  • Duration of pain: 3- 4 minutes
  • Description: Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.

Yellow Jacket

  • Pain scale rating: 2.0
  • Duration of pain: 4- 10 minutes
  • Description: Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.

Paper Wasp

  • Pain scale rating: 3.0
  • Duration of pain: 5- 15 minutes
  • Description: Caustic and burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.

Tarantula Hawk

  • Pain scale rating: 4.0
  • Duration of pain: 3 minutes
  • Description: Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.

These are only a handful of the insect stings and bites rated by Schmidt and his team. Schmidt is currently working on the latest version of the pain index. It is said that the new pain index will include even more insect stings that Schmidt will subject himself to in the name of science.

Insect Stings

As you can tell from the insects described on the Schmidt Pain Index, suffering from an insect sting can be quite painful unless you’re talking about bullet ants, in that case, it will be excruciating.

If you feel you have a pest problem which can cause a nasty sting, then taking the time to contact a professional can save you from being another victim of the insects on the Schmidt Pain Index.

Wasp sting

For severe reactions:

Call 911 if the person has an allergic reaction (severe swelling or difficulty breathing). You may need to go to the hospital if the reaction is severe.

If you have an allergy to bee, wasp, hornet or yellow jacket stings, always carry a bee sting kit and know how to use it. These kits require a prescription. They contain a medicine called epinephrine, which you should take right away if you get a bee sting.

To treat the wasp sting:

  • Try to remove the stinger from the skin (if it is still present). To do this, carefully scrape the back of a knife or other thin, blunt, straight-edged object (like a credit card) across the stinger if the person can keep still and it is safe to do so. Or, you can pull out the stinger with tweezers or your fingers. If you do this, do not pinch the venom sac at the end of the stinger. If this sac is broken, more venom will be released.
  • Clean the area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Place ice (wrapped in a clean cloth) on the site of the sting for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. Repeat this process. If the person has problems with blood circulation, decrease the time that the ice is on the area to prevent possible skin damage.
  • Keep the affected area still, if possible, to prevent the venom from spreading.
  • Loosen clothing and remove rings and other tight jewelry.
  • Give the person diphenhydramine (Benadryl and other brands) by mouth if they can swallow. This antihistamine drug may be used alone for mild symptoms.

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