How To Safely Remove Stingers

Before you know it spring will have sprung in Alabama and a familiar sound will return – the humming of active insects. Some of the first bugs you may notice around your property are bees, wasps and hornets that are busy building nests and their colonies.

All of these insects serve a purpose in the ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean you want them buzzing about menacingly in your yard. Getting stung by a bee, wasp or hornet is bad enough, but that may not be the worst part of a sting. The venom that’s in the stinger can continue to release, causing pain even after it separates from the insect.

For people with allergies it can be extremely dangerous to have a stinger stuck in your skin. What’s worse is that insect sting allergies can develop at any time. Even if you’ve never had an allergic reaction there’s no guarantee it won’t happen the next time you’re stung.

Getting stung by insects is part of the job when you’re a professional pest control technician. Our techs have learned if you’re stung the first thing you want to do after getting to a safe area is make sure the stinger is pulled out completely.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing a Stinger

Most of the time insects sting because they feel threatened. Even if you had no intention of hurting a bee, wasp or hornet there’s a chance you’ll get stung if you’re too close to their home. Some stingers are easy to remove while others, like the honeybee stinger, are barbed and can be a little more challenging. Regardless of the stinger, it needs to be removed immediately to minimize the amount of venom that’s injected.

Step 1 – Check to see if the stinger is stuck in your skin.

Sometimes the stinger falls out, but many times it’s still stuck in the skin. So the first step is to find the exact location of the sting and look for the stinger. If the stinger is below the skin’s surface, press down on either side of it to push it upward.

Step 2 – Find something flat that can be used to remove the stinger.

Although many people think tweezers are the best tool, it’s actually not what you need. In order to safely remove a stinger you need something flat like a credit card or butter knife. You can also use a nail if nothing else is around.

Step 3 – Scrape don’t squeeze to get the stinger out.

The #1 rule of removing a stinger is to scrape it out rather than squeezing. The reason you don’t squeeze is it could pump the remaining venom into your skin.

Step 4 – Scrape starting behind the point of entry.

In order to lift the stinger up and out you’ll need to get under the stinger. Do this by starting to scrape behind the point of entry and moving forward.

Step 5 – Ice the area if the stinger isn’t coming out.

Icing the area to freeze the stinger can sometimes make the scraping more effective and improve your chances of getting it out all in one piece.

Once the stinger is out you’ll need to wash the area with soap and water. Follow up with a cold compress to relieve the pain and swelling.

The team at Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. can do a pre-Spring check for signs of insect activity as well as conditions that may attract stinging insects. With our lawn pest control service you can enjoy spending time out in your yard without battling bees, wasps and hornets!

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