Bees & Wasps – Flying Insect Stinging Machines

Bees & Wasps – Flying Insect Stinging Machines

Stings from flying insects such as bees and wasps are incredibly common in Australia.  This is particularly true in the summer months when people are more likely to be walking outside without shoes or gardening.  Fortunately, the majority of stings from these animals result in local symptoms only.  That being said however, in some individuals these insects pose a deadly force.



Bees are not aggressive insects.  They will only sting if they feel they are under serious threat or

to protect their queen. Often stings occurs as a result of stepping or squashing a bee with your hand.  Bees can only sting once, and they die soon after stinging.  This is because as the sting is removed from the bees abdomen, it results in physical damage causing death.  So it really is true that a bee puts it’s life on the line when delivering it’s painful sting.

Bee stings tend to cause local pain, that resolves over a few hours.  After a sting, bees usually leave behind a barb which should be removed carfeull with tweezers.  Squeezing the barb between fingers can potentially result in more been venom entering the sting site. Local swelling is also common that can last many days.  The severity of the swelling depends how severely the body reacts to the bees venom.  Some

people who are allergic to bees can develop a serious life-threatening allergic response known as anaphylaxis.  During anaphylaxis, the throat can swell causing problems with breathing.  In addition to this, the blood pressure can drop dangerously low causing someone to pass out.


Wasps can be aggressive, and if provoked that will actively go out and try to sting someone.  Wasps can sting multiple times, and do not dye after stinging someone.  They do not leave any barb behind in the skin like bees do.  The symptoms from a wasp sting, irrespective of the wasp species, tend to be very similar to bee stings.  The biggest issue is the risk of allergy which can be life-threatening.


If you are stung by a wasp or bee, it is best to get appropriate advice from someone who specializes in this.  You can contact your local poisons control centre on 131126, they operate 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

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