Red wasps are the most common pests that one encounters during summer. They look very similar to hornets, but on closer inspection there is a difference of color between the two. Presented to you in this HealthHearty article is information about the insect, along with the symptoms, and treatment of their stings.
Wasps belong to the genus Polistes, and paper wasps are the most common ones found. Generally these insects build their nests around human habitation as there is abundance of food and safety for them. Although normally non aggressive, they may become aggressive when it comes to defending their nest and queen. In this HealthHearty article, we will concentrate on red wasps. They get their name from their appearance, which is rusty-red in color. Their size is around one inch in length.
There are two different species- Polistes Carolina and Polistes perplexus, are almost identical to one another. They can be distinguished by the black markings on their thorax. Red wasps are like hornets and yellow jackets. Their nest size is known to be the largest in the Vespidae family. It is the queen who starts making the nest using wood and live plant fiber.
Their residences resemble inverted umbrellas that have exposed octagon shaped cells. The nest-building activity often takes place in the spring. The Polistes Carolina prefer open areas for building their nests such as under the roof, or in voids; whereas the Polistes perplexus like nestled and sheltered areas with natural settings like the hollow of trees or wooden structures.
Red wasps are known to live on sweet and sugary nectar. Therefore, they can also be seen around the kitchen and different food joints, especially the ones which sell sweetmeats. To feed the larvae in their nests, they collect live prey like caterpillars.
These wasps prefer moving around human beings. However, they may cause harm when they feel threatened. They sting when they see a threat either to themselves or to their colony. Loud noises, dark and bright colors, and particular kind of smells, especially perfumes, pastries, etc. attract these insects. Wasps have the ability to sting multiple times. Pain and swelling are the prominent symptoms. The swelling can also be accompanied by itching for about half an inch around the sting site, but in some cases the swelling may be around 2 inches. In certain rare conditions, people can also experience rash, itching all over the body, trouble in breathing, wheezing, etc. Children, if allergic to wasp stings, can also suffer shock.
The first step in the treating a wasp sting is to remove the stinger. Sometimes, removing the stinger is easy but in some cases a blunt knife or tweezers may have to be used. While removing it from the skin, make it a point to scrap in the direction opposite to the stinger entry. One has to take care when using this kind of a first aid. If proper care is not taken, it can cause more venom to be injected into the skin while one is trying to pry and prod the stinger out of the skin.
Once it has been removed, an ice-pack should be applied around the sting. Do not place the ice directly as it can burn the skin. Either make use of a washcloth or put the ice in a plastic bag and then apply it on the sting. Continue to apply the cold compress for about 10 to 15 minutes after which the skin should be allowed to dry out completely.
After the skin has dried up completely, you can use any topical, over-the-counter, anti-histamine ointment on the sting site. However, if you also experience pain, then a topical anesthetic cream can be applied on the affected area. If you have baking soda at home, then you may want to make use of it as a home remedy. Moisten the baking soda and apply it on the affected area.
If you have fuller’s earth, you can also make it into a mud pack and apply it similarly on the site of the sting. Combining vinegar with baking soda and applying it on the sting site is also very helpful. There is no scientific evidence which proves that these methods are beneficial but people do swear by these home remedies.
If you notice wasp nests around your home, you will have to take measures for insect control. There are a number of products available in the market that will help you rid your surrounding from these insects. However, make sure you do not crush the wasp as the chemicals released in the process can attract others.
If a person experiences shortness of breath, has a throbbing headache, becomes wheezy, etc. after a red wasp sting, then he needs to be taken to a physician immediately. In case of hives, redness or widespread itching, do not neglect the condition and have it looked at by a doctor.