Bees and wasps can quickly ruin your day. These stinging insects can quickly cause pain, and potential death. As Fall arrives, outdoorsmen can have close encounters. Checking out duck blinds, deer stands, boat docks, canoes, gardens, lawns, or just hiking around can agitate individual insects, hives, nests, or swarms.
The other day, my friend Jesse was called to help move a deer stand. The new site was a perfect tree where plenty of deer sign could be seen. It takes two to hang a stand safely. As Jesse and Chris approached the tree, Jesse was stung on his neck by a huge wasp. “I saw it coming, and tried to swat it away!’ Within a minute, Jesse knew that something was wrong. He had been stung many times before, but this time the feeling was different.
Chris immediately saw the severe symptoms and rode Jesse back to the house. 911 was called and within minutes, Jesse’s face was swollen, breathing was hard, and he was going into shock! When the emergency team arrived, they quickly administered epinephrine and an IV of fluid. Off to the hospital they went.
Bee and wasp stings are painful and very common. Yellow Jacket stings are the most common. The venom that these insects secrete is pumped into the skin by a barbed stinger, with an attached venom sac. Even when the stinger is left in the skin, the attached sac continues to pump.
Bee, and wasp, deaths are 3-4 times more common than snakebites. Anaphylaxis shock is the greatest problem. The body can quickly go into shock. These symptoms are an increase heart rate, decreased blood pressure, difficult breathing, and severe swelling to the face, airways, throat, and lips. Emergency care is a must!
Routine stings require simple care. Stay calm, add a cool compress, or ice. Remove the stinger quickly, take an aspirin, or acetaminophen. You can apply a cream that contains an antihistamine, such as Benadryl. Monitor the bite site, wash with soap and water, and keep the bite site clean, to avoid infection.
Remove the stinger with tweezers or a cloth. Using the edge of a card or knife are also good tools. Do not squeeze or scratch the sting site. This can lead to infection or help spread the venom. Avoid Calamine lotion, vinegar, and bicarbonate of soda products. They tend to add more discomfort, are for surface use, and will not impact the injected venom.
EPI PENS are a great tool to carry on your person if you have an insect allergy. The epinephrine shot will relax blood vessels, muscles, and calm the body until help arrives. This is a prescription required medication.
Avoid stings! Wear light colored, fitted clothing, with a brimmed hat. Loose clothing can trap insects and allow repeated stings. Closed toe shoes make common sense. Personal hygiene is important. Sweat agitates insects along with other smells. Flowery fragrances and movement will attract insects. Banana, fruity, and coconut fragrances should be avoided.
Remove nests and look for hives that can be hanging under decks, boats, stumps, debris piles, gardens, chimneys, and sheds. Bees also can live in ground nests near roots and rockpiles. A few years ago, my son was climbing a pool ladder when he disturbed a wasp nest. He was painfully stung on his face. The huge nest had been growing there all summer. If you do not know how to deal with these nests, call a trained professional.
Parents, camp counselors, day care staff, outdoorsmen, joggers, pet owners, and anyone that ventures into the bees, and wasps, domain, need to be observant and able to apply First aid.
BEE CAREFUL and BEE AWARE!!!
For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.