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Wasps and Wasp Stings

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When people think of a wasps in Texas, they are in general thinking of the “paper wasp”. About two dozen paper wasp species have been documented in the United States. More than over one-half of them can also be found in Texas. Their nests can be found on porches, in mailboxes and other areas around the house almost year round. Unfortunately, for them, they too often build their nests in areas that do not allow them to coexist with us humans.


Paper wasps are docile and rarely sting unless their nest is threatened; as opposed to yellow jackets which will commonly attack unprovoked.


Social wasp colonies are begun in spring by a queen that was fertilized the previous year and survived the winter by finding a warm place to hibernate. Rising temperatures mean that warm places are becoming easier to find, which means that more queens are surviving the winter.


They have demanding social lives. To keep track of who's who in a complex pecking order, they have to recognize and remember many individual faces. Now, an experiment suggests the brains of these wasps process faces all at once—similar to how human facial recognition works.


Wasps are predators, feeding insects to their young. What makes them beneficial is that they prey on many insects, including caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other pests. They are also pollinators for plants.

Symptoms and Treatment:

Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times because they don't lose their stinger with their sting. They will also inject a venom into your skin with their sting. After the initial sting, it mostly causes only minor discomfort, which can be treated at home.

Common wasp sting symptoms include pain in the sting area, swelling and redness that extends out of the sting site, itching, heat at the site of sting, and potentially hives if your body has a reaction to the sting.

Allergic reactions (nausea, vomiting, sweating, trouble breathing, problems swallowing, generalized hives) are uncommon but might require emergency management. Also seek medical evaluation if you have been stung in the mouth, nose, or throat.

Remedies and Treatments for Wasp Stings

If you have been stung by a wasp, it is common for the site to have a large reaction. That does not usually indicate a cause for concern.


Luckily, there are many home remedies and treatments that can be done to alleviate the pain of a wasp sting:

First, wash the affected area with warm soap and water. Cleaning the site can remove any bacteria or venom the wasp might have carried. This will also help wash out some of the venom left behind by the wasp.

Wrap a thin cloth around an ice or cold pack. Apply this pack to the sting site for 30 to 60 minutes, in intervals of 10 minutes on and off. This will help reduce the swelling and pain of the wasp sting.

To reduce the swelling, take an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen. This will help lessen pain from the wasp sting and also reduce swelling at the sting site.

Another symptom of wasp stings is itchiness at the injection site and surrounding area, depending on how far the sting has spread. To relieve the itchiness, which can increase for hours after the initial sting, apply an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or calamine cream to the entire red and swollen area. This will also help alleviate the pain of the wasp sting. continuous swelling over the course of a couple of days, you may have an infection.

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               Kell West Regional Hospital

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