The Dangers of Stinging Insects

Fossils of wasps and bees found in earth’s northern hemisphere show that these stinging pests have been around for 200 million years or longer. They exist in every part of the world and they range in size from 2 millimeters (.08 inches) to 1.5 inches long.

Though their stings are painful and their venom can be deadly, bees, wasps, and hornets are vital to vegetable crops, fruit trees, and flowers as they disperse pollen from one brightly colored blossom to another. They feed on nectar, a sugary substance found within a flower, which they also use to raise their young and in the instance of honey bees, to make honey.

Some bees and wasps are solitary, constructing a small nest and laying a single egg, while others live in colonies that grow into the thousands, containing an egg-laying queen, the infertile but stinging female worker bees, and male drones that search for nesting sites and for other queens to mate with.

Honey bees are the only type that makes honey, though the color and flavor will vary depending on the blossoms the honeybee collects nectar from

Bees and wasps are territorial and some species can be quite aggressive. Honey bees, for instance, are tolerant of having their nests disturbed and they only sting once before dropping off. Other types can attack and sting continuously. The sharp pain of a bee sting is caused by a penetrating stinger that pumps a tiny amount of venom into its victim. The venom usually causes localized pain, swelling, and redness, and in extreme cases could affect a person’s breathing and blood pressure.

what to do if you're stung >>

Since bee venom contains substances that trigger an immune response in humans, specifically the release of cortisol, scientists have experimented with using the venom to treat or cure autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and MS. A breakthrough hasn’t happened yet, but they have demonstrated that the venom might eventually be used as a vaccine for people who are seriously allergic; injecting a small dose periodically could allow the immune system to protect itself from future stings.

*Though this blog post contains links to informative source articles written by health experts, the writers at never give health advice!