The hot, dry summer is cited as the reason for the wasp infestation we’re experiencing this year.
Rick Unrau from Rick’s Pest Control says the infestations have skyrocketed beyond belief and is keeping him pretty busy. He notes, wasps will build hives in many different places.
“They’ll build nests anywhere,” he says. “In an old dog house, in an old birdhouse, inside the attic of somebody’s home, in the wall, behind siding, in the ground, underneath the concrete step...wherever they can find a home, they will build.”
Around a year ago, Unrau dealt with quite a big wasp nest inside a home in Seven Sisters Falls. Inside the attic, he found the nest which was approximately 2.5 feet wide by 4 feet long.
“It took eight hours to exterminate because it was so massive,” Unrau recalls. “And I think I had about 50 to 100 stings from all the wasps.”
While a bee can only sting once before it dies, wasps and hornets can sting multiple times.
After a bee sting, it’s important to get the stinger out right away says Dr. Denis Fortier, Vice President of Medical Services and Chief Medical Officer for Southern Health-Santé Sud. As long as the stinger stays stuck in the skin, more venom will be injected into the skin. He notes the best way to get rid of the bee stinger is to scrape the area with a flat surface, like a credit card. This technique will allow the stinger to be removed without squeezing more venom into your body.
After any type of sting, Dr. Fortier says we can expect a localized reaction such as painful swelling, redness and itchiness. Removal of any constricting jewelry and clothing is important to prevent further complications related to swelling.
“It’s going to bother you for anywhere from a couple of days up to 10 days,” he adds. “The treatment for that is antihistamines, local things like ice, cold water...perhaps a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like Ibuprofen or Advil.”
A severe allergic reaction will require an injection from an Epi-Pen and an immediate visit to the doctor. That’s because some reactions are so severe, they require multiple shots of epinephrine.
The good news is there are steps we can take to deter the stinging insects from taking up residence in our yards and homes, and reducing the chances of getting stung. Unrau suggests filling cracks along buildings, closing up holes. He notes it doesn’t help to put up fake hives unless we add a drop of lemongrass oil inside, because that tricks the wasps into thinking the area is claimed by honey bees and that will keep wasps away.
Unrau also says it’s important to keep food and drinks in sealed containers and to clean up all fermenting fruit.
Written by Judy Peters