Bee and Wasp Sting
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Bee and wasp sting facts
- Insect stings overview
- What are the types of wasps?
- What are the types of bees?
- What are causes of bee and wasp stings?
- What are the symptoms of a bee or wasp sting?
- When should I call a doctor about a bee or wasp sting?
- How is a bee or wasp sting diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a bee or wasp sting?
- What are the complications of a bee or wasp sting?
- How can I prevent a bee or wasp sting?
Bee and wasp sting facts
- Bees and wasp stings may produce local reactions or systemic (body-wide) allergic reactions.
- Localized pain, redness, and swelling are the most common reaction to a sting.
- Severe allergic reactions to stings are known as anaphylactic reactions and may be life-threatening.
- Treatment of a local reaction involves cleansing, removal of the stinging apparatus if present, and application of ice packs.
- Epinephrine is the treatment of choice for severe allergic reactions.
- A self-administered injectable form of epinephrine is available for individuals at risk for anaphylactic reactions.
Insect stings overview
Bee and wasp stings are common causes of medical problems. Bees and wasps, together with fire ants, are all related insects that belong to the Hymenoptera order. Bee and wasp stings can cause significant reactions, ranging from localized pain and swelling to serious and even potentially fatal conditions. At least 40 deaths occur each year in the U.S. as a result of serious anaphylactic sting reactions.
What are the types of wasps?
There are over 25,000 species of wasps found throughout the world. Some of the most common wasps include:
- The yellow jacket and hornet, both of which live in groups, or colonies, in temperate climates.
- Yellow jackets, which have black and yellow stripes on the abdomen, form underground nests.
- Hornets are predominantly black with some yellow markings on the head and thorax. Hornets form paper-like nests that are attached to trees, bushes, or buildings.
Allergies & Asthma
Improve treatments & prevent attacks.