Childr Health Information

Stinging insects: Bees, wasps and hornets

Print this page Bookmark and Share

Topic: General Child Health

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about stinging insects. Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to go over any information you do not understand.

Hymenpetera is the scientific name for the group of insects that include bumble bees, honeybees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, fire ants and harvester ants. In this handout, references to “bee stings” refers to all of the above insects.

Local - Tenderness, itching, swelling or redness in an area about 1 to 2 inches around the sting (normal). These same symptoms in an area that spreads out bigger than 2 inches from the sting may indicate infection.
Generalized - Generalized itching or swelling, tightness in chest, nausea, vomiting, wheezing, abdominal pain or dizziness (allergic reaction).
Severe - Any of the above listed symptoms plus difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness or thickened speech, confusion, passing out or loss of consciousness (serious reaction).

1. Remove the bee’s stinger by scraping it with a fingernail or the blunt edge of a knife. Do not squeeze the end of the stinger with the fingertips or tweezers; you may release more venom. Wasps and hornets do not leave a stinger.
2. Wash well with soap and water.
3. Place an ice pack on the sting for about 10-15 minutes. Do not put ice directly on the skin as this causes tissue damage.
4. Watch for infection, especially if stung by a wasp or yellow jacket. They are known to carry bacteria.
5. If the reaction becomes generalized, it is best to consult a physician for further evaluation and treatment.
6. For a severe reaction, immediately go to an emergency department or call an ambulance.

These symptoms usually occur within 5 to 15 minutes but can be delayed. Although quite rare, a severe reaction to a sting may be a life-threatening emergency. IF THE SYMPTOMS OF A SEVERE REACTION OCCUR, GO IMMEDIATELY TO AN EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OR CALL 911.

Fortunately, most stings cause only minor localized discomfort lasting for a couple of days.

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information on stinging insects, please ask your doctor.


Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


Sign up for Pediatric Link

Finding the latest trusted child health and safety information doesn't have to be hard. Pediatric Link, Dayton Children's e-newsletter offers timely and up-to-date information for health care professionals from the experts you trust at Dayton Children's.  Sign up

Upcoming Events

Dayton Children’s cordially invites you to attend our upcoming state-wide pediatric trauma symposium. The symposium will be held at the Wyndham Hotel, Miamisburg, OH on April 25, 2014.

Get your family started on a healthy lifestyle

Join the Beavercreek TWIG groups 11, 17, and 22 for the annual spring luncheon, Run for the Roses, on April 26, 2014 at the Beavercreek Golf Club.

View full event calendarView full event calendar

The Right Experts

Just right for all kids


The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815