Flying Insects That Sting More Than Once

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Bumblebees can sting a person more than once.

Unlike biting insects, stinging insects possess a piercing organ called a sting, which delivers venom. A few can even sting repeatedly. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that more than 500,000 people end up in emergency rooms each year due to insect stings. A typical reaction to an insect sting is redness, pain and swelling at the site. Sometimes, a person may have a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, which includes difficultly breathing and a swelling of the tongue.

  1. Bumblebees

    • The bumblebee's furry body is black with yellow stripes, and it is about once inch in size. Unlike the honeybee, which stings once and then dies, a bumblebee can sting repeatedly. A bumblebee lack barbs (or hooks) attached to the end of its sting. Only female bees sting because the sting is a part of their reproductive anatomy. Bumblebees nest in the ground, but they can also be found around patios, decks and attics. The most common reaction to a bee sting is a painful, itchy bump at the site of the sting that can last for a few hours to a few days.

    Wasps

    • Wasps differ from bees in that they do not store or produce honey and they are typically more aggressive in nature. Wasps tend to have skinnier and smoother (hairless) bodies compared to bees. Wasps tend to build their nests under rafters or in dark areas of buildings. Typical reactions to wasp stings are similar to bee stings; however, a person may suffer an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) from a bee or a wasp sting that will require emergency medical attention.

    Yellowjackets

    • Yellowjackets are a group of wasp species that sting repeatedly. A yellowjacket's body is black with yellow stripes, and it is about three-eighths to five-eighths of an inch in size. A yellowjacket can sting more than once, and inject venom into the person it stings. Yellowjackets are attracted to sugar and hang around places of food, such as garbage cans. They make their nests underground as well as in trees, shrubs and old tree stumps.

    Hornets

    • A hornet is a type of wasp that can sting you more than once. Hornets' bodies are black with white or yellow markings. A bald-face hornet is a type of hornet that has large white patches on its face and is about three-quarters of an inch in size. The bald-face hornet has a smooth sting, which enables it to sting a person repeatedly. It builds its papery nest hanging from trees or shrubs and attacks anyone who enters its space. A European hornet is a large type of wasp (about 1.5 inches in size) that is black with yellow markings and typically builds its nest in hollow trees. The European hornet flies at night and can sting a person repeatedly with its smooth sting.

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