Kidadl

FOR ALL AGES

Do Yellow Jackets Sting? Facts About The Buzzing Bee-Lookalike

Contents
Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Outdoor & NatureLearn more
Do yellow jackets sting? They have sharp stings which cause mild to severe pain and swelling.

Share this article

Yellowjackets, also known as yellow jackets, Vespula, Dolichovespula, or Paravespula, are insects commonly referred to as wasps.

Yellowjackets are stinging insects and are members of the Insecta class and the order Hymenoptera. Most of these wasps are yellow and black in color.

Many people get confused between yellow jackets and bees. Most bees have slightly fatter bodies with dull colors, whereas yellow jackets have bright yellow jackets that shine when they fly. Yellow jackets are hairless wasps with a thin waist.

Yellow jackets are beneficial species for our home gardens and our environment as they rely on insect pests for food. Thus they safeguard commercially grown fruits and vegetables. But during the summer and fall, when food is scarce, they become a problem for humans. They search for the foods and drinks which humans consume and can make a real nuisance of themselves. In countries like the US, most of the stings people complain about are from yellow jackets. Let's learn more about the reasons behind why they sting, the symptoms, and the treatment for these symptoms.

If this article about whether yellow jackets sting grabs your attention, why not check out our other articles to find out how bees make honey and if bees eat honey?

Why do yellow jackets sting for no reason?

Our current topic is, do yellow jackets sting? In general, bees leave their stinger in when they sting you and sting only once. But yellowjackets pierce your skin and sting hard. They can also sting multiple times. Do yellow jackets swarm, or are they seen in groups? Let's explore the reasons behind it.

Ants, termites, and yellow jackets are social insects that are always seen in social groups. Individually they don't have the power to deal with predators, but a group of yellow jackets is almost always threatening. So why do yellow jackets sting? Why do they sting humans, and do they sting us for no reason?

Because they are social insects and work together in building nests on the ground, yellow jackets can become aggressive and defend themselves when their nests are disturbed. They generally build nests in old furniture, abandoned places, or sheds. When you disturb such places, you might have to face angry yellow jackets. They work and build nests together by swarming and are very protective of their nests. Yellow jackets can chase people for several yards if they feel threatened. As they build their nests on the ground, there is a chance people may step on or break their nests. They can be deadly insects, and if they sting, there is a high chance of a severe reaction. When people are stung multiple times, they may have an adverse reaction. In this case, they must go to a doctor or hospital. You might even consider calling pest control to completely eradicate these stinging pests from outdoor areas around your home.

Can you treat yellow jacket stings at home?

While honey bees create hives, yellow jackets build nests in concealed areas. When yellow jackets sting a human with their sharp stings, it causes sudden pain followed by inflammation. The area around the sting might change color a few hours after being stung. Some people experience symptoms such as severe itching followed by swelling, vomiting, and fatigue; if your symptoms get worse, you need to get to a doctor as soon as possible and follow the treatment they prescribe. So never underestimate these stinging insects!

Let's find out some of the home treatments that can treat this insect's sting before heading to the doctor. The initial symptom of a yellow jacket sting is redness and shocking pain and you should consult a medical professional before trying any of these methods.

Removal Of The Stinger: Though yellow jacket stings don't leave the stinger in your skin, sometimes there is a chance you may observe a tiny black dot. Carefully remove it with the help of a clean fingernail.

Cleaning The Sting Area: First, wash the sting site with mild soap or plain water. Keep it dry to reduce the chance of further infections. Apply a cold pack on the stung area to relieve pain and swelling, then elevate the sting site to avoid further swelling.

Meat tenderizers can help in reducing pain and swelling. Make a paste of meat tenderizers with water and apply it at the swollen part or sting site. If you've run out of these ingredients at home, you can also use baking soda. Even ammonia-based deodorants can help to reduce itching. Use painkillers to reduce the pain or apply a steroid cream after consulting a doctor.

If you see excessive swelling or any other symptoms like excessive itching, fainting, shortness of breath, or vomiting, get the person who has been stung to a doctor or the E.R. immediately.

Bee or yellow jacket? Which one doesn't have a barb on their stinger, and which one can bite multiple times?

How long does the pain last?

Did you know that yellow jackets don't have a barb on their stinger? Yellow jackets can both sting and bite. They bite to get a better grip so they can push their stinger further into the body. Because of this, they can sting you multiple times, which causes severe pain.

When a yellow jacket stings you, it inserts a stinger into the skin and injects its venom, which may cause an allergic reaction in a person and can cause severe pinching pain. This is because of the protein contained in the venom. Once the yellow jacket sting happens, the pain usually lasts for one to two hours, and the redness lasts for about three days. The swelling lasts for up to two days. The swelling may depend on the area where the person was stung and the person's allergy status. It generally takes almost one week for the yellow jacket sting to go away.

So, prevention is probably better than cure when it comes to yellow jacket stings. If you come across or disturb yellow jacket nests, move slowly away from the site, covering the face and sensitive parts. Fast movements can cause yellow jackets to sting more. It's best to go somewhere with dense vegetation or inside a building.

Trash cans should be covered tightly and frequently washed so that they do not become bee or yellow jacket residences. Open soda cans attract these insects too, so beware while drinking soda in open areas. Windows should also be screened to prevent yellow jackets from entering the home.

Don't mess with yellow jackets outdoors. If you kill one yellow jacket, it releases a hormone and alerts other yellow jackets nearby. So killing one yellow jacket may lead to getting attacked by several.

Can a yellow jacket sting cause severe infections?

Yellowjackets, which are often mistaken for honey bees, are aggressive wasps that inject venom with their stings. These stings may need immediate attention and care. In contrast with other bees which sting once, yellow jackets can sting multiple times by stabbing their stingers into you and this can cause the symptom of pain. The pain can range from mild to severe. What infections are caused by a yellow jacket sting? Let's learn more about this insect's sting.

As they spend a lot of time flying in secluded areas, yellow jacket stings carry bacteria. Severe itching and scratching may lead to severe infections. If you get stung, it's advisable to leave the area immediately, as it can attract more nearby wasps to come and sting you. Sometimes their venom can cause allergic reactions and swelling in some patients. In such cases, the person who has been stung will need immediate medical attention. The sting may create breathing problems, tightness in the chest, and stomach pain. In some rare cases, the yellow jacket's sting is life-threatening, so be sure to keep an eye on the symptoms in your body after a bite or sting and seek care if needed.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do yellow jackets sting? Facts about the buzzing bee-lookalike insect, then why not take a look at how long do queen bees live? Or group of bees?

Author

Written By

Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

Was this article helpful?

Subscribe_Hero
Get The Kidadl Newsletter
1,000's of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

By joining Kidadl you agree to Kidadl’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receiving marketing communications from Kidadl.