Insect Bites & Stings 2 (Added information from a previous post)


Hello everyone, this is Tracy and today I am going to rehash an older topic that we have done before, but I am going to add a little more information in this blog. I grew up as an exterminator and have been around nearly every insect over the course of the last 30 years. I have been stung, bitten and attacked by everything from carpenter ants to hornets.  It isn’t fun and I can honestly say that I absolutely hate stinging pests. (And I’m not overly fond of spiders either)

There are many insects out in the spring through late fall that just seem to love to bite and/or sting us. They often hurt and some people even suffer severe allergic reactions. The good thing about this blog today, is that I am going to give some information that will help to make the the pain go away a little faster with simple solutions that you can make yourself with products that most people already have in their home. There are also some inexpensive products that you can get at any store like Walmart or your local pharmacy. For the people that already use herbs, and have some on-hand, I will give a list of herbs that definitely help.

There are many pests that are very easy to identify and I have added some pictures for those of you who don’t know what you have been stung by.

The first pest I am listing today is the Bald Faced Hornet. This is a particularly nasty critter that has a real bad attitude. They are fairly large (1 1/2 inches) and very aggressive. If you see one of their nests DO NOT approach it as they tend to sting first and ask questions later. And it isn’t just one that stings you, its the whole darn nest that goes on the attack. Their stingers are about 1/4 inch long and when they get you….it hurts…. alot.

Bald Faced Hornet

Bald Faced Hornet Nest

These are usually found in trees and shrubs, but it is not unheard of the find them in your house or garage. I can’t stress enough to stay away from these. Call in a professional. Even when I was doing pest control professionally I approached them very cautiously.  If you accidentally get caught near one and they attack, the only advice I have is to run. Get as far away from them as you can as quickly as you can. Try not to smash them on your body because when one has been killed they leave a pheromone that tells the others that you are dangerous and more will come to attack.

The only good thing about being stung by a hornet is that their stingers are not barbed. The bad thing about not being barbed is that they can sting you again..and again..and again (up to about 6 times.)  Oh yeah, they can bite too even though the bite doesn’t have venom, it still hurts.

Yellow Jacket–  similar to hornets in temperament they are highly aggressive, meat eaters and not afraid of people. Their nests are found in the ground, on eaves in homes, and they will also make nest inside walls of your home. If they feel their nests are threatened they will attack in force and you will be sorry. Also, like the hornet, their stingers are not barbed so they can sting multiple times and, of course, they bite too. Once again, I would highly recommend that you get a professional to help you get rid of them, but if you’re one of those stubborn, do-it-yourselfers, then tackle it at night when they all go to bed. That doesn’t mean they won’t come out and attack though. I would recommend either boric acid powder or sevin dust.

Honey Bees – are not nearly as aggressive as their cousins, but they will certainly sting if they feel threatened. Their stingers are barbed , so they can only sting you once, then they die. However, you don’t want to just grab the stinger with your fingers and rip it out as their venom sack stays attached to the stinger and if you just try to grab it you run the risk of injecting more venom into the sight of the sting. Use tweezers! You can see the difference between yellow jackets and honey bees in the picture above.

THREE OF THE WORST BITING PESTS

Spiders: I started my extermination at a very young age with my step-dad. Without a doubt I hate these pests more than any other. Since I started in the Pacific Northwest I didn’t see too many brown recluses or black widows growing up, but I certainly saw alot of the Hobo Spiders (aka Aggressive House Spider). They are highly aggressive as their name implies and their bites are often misdiagnosed as Brown Recluse bites. They will actually jump at you and I can say that I had more than a few that jumped onto my face as I crawled under houses.

Brown Recluse Spiders are not as aggressive and will typically leave you alone if you leave them alone, however I would rather be safe than sorry, so I just kill them. You can usually identify them by the “fiddle” shape on their back. I try not to get close enough to see that, but I am trying to give information. If you get bitten by one of these, make sure to try to bring in a specimen if you go to the hospital (which I would recommend).

Black Widow Spiders are not quite as aggressive and the males don’t look like the picture above, hence the name, Black Widow. They will bite and you really should get to a doctor so you can get the proper treatment, however the remedies below will certainly help until you get to see the doctor.

If you have been stung or bitten, here are some remedies that will help

  1. Baking Soda – Make a paste out of baking soda and water (or if you have some use witch hazel) put the paste liberally on the sting(s). It will dry quickly so use it as often as you need to. The baking soda will help to draw out the poison and will help to aid in the discomfort of the sting.
  2. Spices you may have in your cupboard: Angelica, Basil, Borage, Curry Powder, Fennel, Garlic Bulb, Lemon Balm, Onion, Parsley, Sage, Sunflower (crushed seeds), Tarragon. Any one or a combination of these herbs will help remove the poison. To make a poultice simply place the spices in a paper towel, napkin or piece of cloth. Get it wet and apply to affected area.
  3. Herbs that help with stings/bites: You probably don’t have these in your cupboard but they can certainly help with bites & stings. Aloe vera, andrographis leaf (good for snake bites too, but if you’re bitten by a snake go to a hospital), barley grass, Beth root (aka birth root), burdock root, calendula (aka marigold), catnip, chamomile flower, chickweed, coltsfoot, echinacea root, green tea (yes the same green tea you drink just keep in the bag,wet and apply),  juniper berries, lavender flower, lobelia leaf (aka Indian Tobacco), marshmallow root, olive leaf, pau d’arco (as a poultice for snake bites), plantain leaf, senega snake root, witch hazel bark

These remedies will help, but if you are allergic to bee stings, or are bitten by one of the above spiders, then you really should get to a doctor to get treatment. I look forward to any comments on this post, please rate it so I can see what you think. If anyone has any questions, please contact me through the blog and I will be more than happy to answer any and all.

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