In most cases, a single yellowjacket or wasp sting does not cause serious injury. However, in some cases people have allergic reactions that can be life-threatening—even when previous stings caused no reaction. The risk of a severe reaction increases with multiple stings.

Initial symptoms of a sting usually will be pain, redness and swelling. In more severe cases, the victim may have hives, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or headache. Symptoms of severe allergic reaction typically occur within 30 minutes and may include shock, dizziness, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the throat. Anyone exhibiting this type of allergic reaction must receive immediate emergency medical attention—call 911.

Unlike honeybees, whose barbed stingers are usually left in the victim’s skin, yellowjackets and wasps can sting repeatedly. The best thing to do if you are attacked is to leave the area.

Here are some tips to avoid stings, courtesy of University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management System:

  • Avoid areas where a yellowjacket or wasp nest is visible. If you do go into an area with bee or wasp activity, wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. A mosquito/gnat veil can be used to protect your head.
  • Avoid wearing perfume, cologne, or scented soaps in areas where there is bee and/or wasp activity.
  • Wear shoes when walking through vegetation, especially clover or other blooming plants.
  • Avoid brightly colored clothing.
  • If a bee or wasp lands on your arm, try to remain calm until the insect leaves, or brush it away gently and slowly with a piece of paper.
  • Insect repellent applied to your skin or clothing will not protect you from stinging insects.

For more information about yellowjackets, wasps and other stinging insects, feel free to call our experienced Sacramento pest control professionals at 916-457-7605.