Monday, June 22, 2009

Ouch! That Stings!

Yesterday I shared information about hornets nesting near our cabin. When our friends John and Mr. Hat came to visit, Mr. Hat got stung by a hornet. Hornets are very aggressive in defending their nest. Mr. Hat learned that the hard way. The stinger is a modified ovipositor and, unlike bees, wasps and hornets can sting multiple times. When we got back to the cabin I got out The Doctors Book of Home Remedies to see what was the best course of action.

Mr. Hat (and I) were a little worried that there might be a bad reaction, but fortunately it was mild. The venom injected causes sharp, instantaneous burning pain followed by continued pain, redness, swelling and itching. In normal situations, the discomfort can last from hours to a day.

What did the book suggest?

  • Don't get stung. Easier said than done. Wear white, don't wear perfume, take zinc, oil your skin and/or run for shelter or water.
  • Don't smash the wasp or hornet. If the venom sack is broken it releases a chemical that incites the others to attack.
Well, too late for that. What next?
  • Wash the site with soap and water.
  • Use ice to reduce swelling.
  • Apply an antiseptic.
What about the pain?
  • If you are not allergic to aspirin, moisten the skin and rub a tablet over the site to neutralize the venom.
  • Apply heat or use a hair dryer over the site.
  • Apply household ammonia (also available as commercial towelettes for stings).
  • Use a paste made from baking soda and water.
  • As strange as it sounds, apply meat tenderizer.
  • If nothing else is available, apply mud and let it dry.
I am not a medical expert. If at any time the victim is having difficulty breathing or experiences extreme swelling, seek immediate medical assistance. Stings can be fatal for individuals with allergic reactions.

Keep your eyes and ears open this time of year. Prevention is worth a pound of cure. -- Margy


  1. I do not like hornets!!Sorry Mr. Hat was stung I hope he is OK.
    Sorry I haven't commented for a while I have been helping mom get settled.
    ~~Hugs Betty~~

  2. Hi Betty - I hope your Mom is getting settled in. -- Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy