Getting Rid of Stinging Insects Safely and Effectively is PermaTreat's Specialty.
Virginia has its fair share of stinging insects like bees, wasps and ants that possess stings which can be quite painful...and sometimes dangerous. Hundreds of stings by bees or wasps can be fatal due to direct toxicity from the venom. Fire Ants swarm" when threatened and can inflict hundreds of stings quickly. In rare cases where a victim is immobilized or unconscious, Fire Ant stings can be fatal.
There are dozens of insects whose stings or bites cause problems, and they can be split into two categories: venomous and non-venomous. The difference is due to the nature of the sting. Venomous insects attack as a defence mechanism, injecting painful, toxic venom through their stings. Non-venomous insects bite in order to feed on your blood. Although local irritation and allergic reactions to the saliva and anti-coagulants do occur from non-venomous bites, severe reactions such as anaphylactic shock only happen from venomous stings.
Venomous stings are usually very painful, red, and swollen up to twelve inches around the sting site. This is called a local reaction. In sensitive individuals, a systemic or "whole body" reaction occurs, with redness, hives (itchy raised skin lumps), and swelling far away from the sting site. These systemic reactions can be life threatening and it is important to know the difference between them.
Over 2 million Americans are allergic to stinging insects. The degree of allergy varies widely...most people are not allergic to insect stings, and generally insect stings result in only local itching and swelling. Severe allergic reactions are not uncommon, and the speed of reaction to even a single bee sting by those with bee sting allergy can be frightning. Severe allergic reactions to insect stings are responsible for at dozens of deaths each year in the U.S.
If you are known to be allergic to insect stings, then the next sting is 60% likely to be similar or worse than the previous sting. Since most stings occur in the summer and fall, you are at greatest risk during these months. Males under the age of 20 are the most common victims of serious insect-sting allergic reactions, but this may reflect a greater exposure to insects of males, rather than a true predisposition.
When bees sting, they leave the sting and venom sack attached. Venom continues to pump in through the stinger until the sack is empty or the sting is removed. The only good part about this is that bees die after they sting. Wasps and hornets however, don't leave their stings behind and can sting you over and over.