Stung By A Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jacket Stings and Symptoms
I was near the crepe myrtle when I first felt a sharp needle-like pain in my wrist. I looked around, but saw nothing - then I felt it again. By the time I realized that a yellow jacket got into my wrist-length suede leather garden gloves, it was too late for negotiation.
I squealed, ripped off my gloves, and ran into the house to wash the wound. I was in a bit of shock. There were no bees buzzing around where I was working, I was wearing protective garden gloves and clothing, no perfumes, and was stung at least two times.
Somehow, some way, in the first ten minutes of tending my garden I was covertly visited by one crazed yellow jacket that went up my garden glove and attacked. I was stung by a yellow jacket.
The Yellow Jacket Stinger Exposed
The Gloves Come Off
This wound hurt and itched. In fact, my hand up to my elbow itched. The first thing I did was wash the wound and put bactine on it. But by the time Day 2 rolled around, I realized the situation could get worse if I didn't pay serious attention to it. The wound literally had me awake off and on for two nights. The itching arm woke me up.
Having been stung before it was my belief that I was not allergic to a yellow jacket sting. After reading some very helpful information, I learned that there are three (3) different types of yellow jackets, with each being more aggressive than the other. I also learned that just because one was not allergic to the sting the first time, it does not mean that one is immune from the effects of a sting in the future.
A Yellow Jacket Nest In The Mulch
My hubby was weed-eating when he heard my squeal, and said he would check out what was going on. When he went over to where I was working, he found an underground yellow jacket hive hidden under the mulch. I must have been stepping all over it when propping up my drooped flowers.He came inside to check on me, then went back outside to see what I got into. When he came back in, he had a grin and said, "By Graphthar's hammer I will avenge Thee!"
A VIEW TO A KILL
He found the yellow jacket nest hidden under the mulch. He raked the mulch back from the nest a couple of times (carefully) exposing the yellow jackets' lair. Later that evening around dusk, he went back out to a calm, unsuspecting nest and sprayed it with one of the popular commercial grade sprays you find at the local department, hardware, or grocery store. He checked the nest the next morning for activity. If the nest was still buzzing, he would repeat the process.
I would highly recommend anyone who is older or highly allergic to bee stings to consider getting an exterminator to handle more complex nest situations. Yellow jackets are aggressive enough without poking around a nest. It would be wise not to put yourself in the position of being swarmed.
Photo Of A Yellow Jacket Sting
My War Wound
Day 2 was a tough one. The sting area swelled, itched, and just about drove me nuts. Thinking if I squeezed the wound it would get the poison out was stupid. It only agitated the stinger in the venom sack and made matters worse.
Day 3 I was considering going to a doctor to have it checked. Then I remembered something from childhood: Hydrogen Peroxide kills germs. I got to thinking that the wound was now hot, the stinger still in, maybe it was infected somehow even though my cleaning the wound was a constant. Cleaning the wound with peroxide was a good thing in my case because it did its job.
Day 4 the worst of the itch was almost gone, and I got a good night's sleep. The redness is still there, but finally began to fade.
Keep Your Cool
An ice pack or cold compress on the wound will temporarily help relieve the swelling and itchy sting.
Yellow Jacket Videos: Stings, Hives, and More - The Yellow Jacket Experience On YouTube
Below are videos describing what yellow jackets look like, what their nests look like, what people have done when under attack, first aid tips, and more. Sharing information to help others is what this is all about.
Handle With Care
Treating The Yellow Jacket Sting
My Most Recent Reaction With Yellow Jacket Stings
The biggest reason I can attribute my bad reaction to the sting was my improper immediate response.
First and foremost, I did not get the stinger out by thinking I 'washed' it out with water, soap, alcohol, etc. In fact, I may have embedded the stinger into the venom sac deeper into the wound by doing these things.
Not many people realize that before tobacco was demonized, it was considered valuable for its herbal properties. This is one example of such medicinal use. The last time I got stung, my husband had a cigarette, took it apart, chewed the tobacco, and made a poultice for my sting. I kept it on the sting for a few minutes, and the stinger and venom were all brought to the skin surface. The wound stung for a couple days, but there was no redness, itching, swelling, etc. That was about twenty years ago, and neither of us smoke anymore.
There are other home remedies for helping with bee stings for those who are not severely allergic. A small baking soda and lemon juice poultice placed over the sting is said to draw the poison to the surface, too. An old farm remedy was to take three leaves from the yard (blade of grass, clover, chickweed, or any other non poisonous leaf) rub them together and place on top the sting. The juice from the three leaves will draw the stinger to the surface of the skin.
Growing up with fruit trees around the yard, I learned the value of keeping things cleaned up as much as possible. Pears, apples, and even hummingbird feeders often draw wasps and yellow jackets to the nectar. If you have or live near fruit trees, try to keep the area clean of dropped fruit to avoid luring the bees.
Information About Yellow Jacket Stings
It was difficult for me to find links that truly pertained to my stinging dilemma. After spending an afternoon 'in search of,' I decided to build this site to help others who find themselves in a similar situation. Here are the links that helped me most.
- The Leading Respiratory Hospital in the Nation - National Jewish Health
Some people can suffer serious or even life-threatening allergic reactions from an insect sting. Yellow jacket wasps can be especially problematic at this time of year.
- DEADLY YELLOW JACKET STINGS Â« Hillary and Me
DEADLY YELLOW JACKET STINGS Not a darn thing, but I was severely stung by them on Friday and I feel compelled to relay the experience to anyone that can hear me. Every once in a while, there is something that happens in life that is more important th
- Treating Yellowjacket Stings
Practical Gardening and Yardcare information for homeowners and non-professionals - by a professional.
- Insect Stings (Bee Sting, Spider Bites) - Insect Sting (Bee Sting, Spider Bites)
Information on the symptoms, treatment and diagnosis of instect stings/bites by professional health specialists.
Best Yellow Jacket Defense - My Favorite Anti Wasp Device
This is an electronic fly swatter (a.k.a. bug zapping tennis racket). It operates on two D cell batteries, and works on the same principle as the hanging bug zapper. The current from the batteries is strong enough to render a yellow jacket into a dead or harmless state. It is simple to use. Put the batteries in, press the button, when the little light is on, you are ready to go. This thing is great when you are on the deck, patio, garden, or on a picnic.
The Right Racquet
This 'high tech' fly swatter is about the size of a tennis racket. With the use of this electronic paddle, there is no diving, smashing, running from, or chasing a bee, wasp, fly, spider, or yellow jacket while you are being attacked. This anti-bug device is light weight, easy to use, and it really does work. See a bug coming at you while you are on the patio, hold the paddle up, press the button, and zap. It works so well, I got my Mom one, too.
The Most Important Thing
If you have a serious allergic reaction to bee, yellow jacket, wasp stings, call your doctor or seek immediate help.
Special Note About Pet Stung By A Yellow Jacket
Is Your Pet Allergic To Bee, Wasp, Or Yellow Jacket Stings?
It is common for most people to think their pets are impervious to pain, allergies, or reactions to bug bites and stings due to their 'nature.' However, it is smart to be on the lookout for invading stinging bugs around your dog's outside areas.
Monitor your dog's drinking fountain, water bowl, food dish, and other items regularly, especially on hot dry days. Yellow jackets are attracted to sources of water and food especially when it is in the 80s-90s and hasn't rained.
Keeping the living space safe is important especially for those of us who keep flowers and plants on the deck. Patio living can be a risky business because water, plants, and flowers often attract bees, wasps, and yellow jackets.
If you notice your pet has been stung, look for signs of allergic reactions. A few years ago my spouse had to take our dog to the animal hospital due to a yellow jacket sting. After being stung, the dog came in the house and rolled around on the floor and rubbed his head on the towel. My spouse thought nothing of it until the dog started batting his head and his face started to swell. By the time he said he got the dog to the animal hospital, his head was as big as a football. From what the staff could tell, he snapped at a bee and it stung him in the mouth. He was allergic to the sting, and had we not got the dog to the hospital, he would have had respiratory problems. Dogs can be allergic to bee and wasp stings just like people.
Just recently, our dog got stung again. This time he was stung around his eye. We were praying that the poor fellow would not be blinded by this sting when we left the house. His eye was half swollen shut by the time we got him to the clinic The swelling hasn't gone completely down, but the vet on staff made sure he was taken care of immediately due to his history. We were told we did the right thing by bringing him as fast as we did, and we were sent home with instructions to keep an eye out for any further reactions.
If your dog is having allergic reactions to a bee, wasp, or yellow jacket sting, it is always best to get them to the vet as soon as possible. If you live too far from a vet to get your pet there within minutes or hours, call your local vet or animal clinic for instructions on what you can do to help your pet at home.
Sliced Cucumber Repels Yellow Jackets
How To Keep The Yellow Jackets Away Naturally
If you find yourself in a place where the wand of death is inconvenient, and repellents and insecticides are less than desirable, you may find this information helpful.
My spouse and I were at a local restaurant dining on the patio when from out of nowhere, the yellow jackets began to converge on our table. The servers were batting them out of the way, and we were waving them like crazy to keep them from getting our food and stinging us. When the server left our table, we thought we were in trouble. Then he returned with a plate of cucumbers. He set the plate of sliced cucumbers on the deck rail beside us, and lo and behold, the yellow jackets stayed away. We learned that there was an element in the cucumbers that repelled the yellow jackets naturally.
We left the restaurant a little smarter and used this information for around the house. The yellow jackets go for the water in the plant trays on the deck. A plate of sliced cucumbers kept them at bay. Recently the yellow jackets were converging on the bird bath, annoying the birds trying to get a drink. I placed sliced cucumber around the bath, and the yellow jackets left the area.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by. If you survived the Yellow Jacket Experience, or if you have an old or new method of treating a yellow jacket sting, you are welcome to share your experience here to help others.
© 2008 Tonie Cook