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Insect Allergies: Top 5 Stinging Insects to Avoid

By HERWriter
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Bugs are not pleasant, but when there is a possibility of an allergic reaction, they can be downright dangerous. The venom from an insect’s stinger can cause all kinds of damage and it would be wise to stay away from stinging insects unless you are completely certain you are not allergic.

Even without an allergic reaction, getting stung by a bee can be painful, so be aware of your surroundings. If you are interested in finding out any allergies you may have, go to an allergist or immunologist for a blood or skin test. You can find out which insects you should avoid.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, there are five stinging insects that are well known to cause an allergic reaction. The five insects include yellow jackets, honeybees, paper wasps, hornets and fire ants.

Hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps are very similar in appearance, so if you know what one looks like, any other insect with a comparable shape or coloring should be avoided as a precaution.

According to the Web site, yellow jackets can be found in a variety of places, including Arizona, and are black with yellow markings. From personal experience, they seem to be more yellow than black, hence the name. They have a paper maché-type nest and usually live underground. However, I have seen yellow jackets make a nest in a corner of my grandmother’s house, outside near the pool. Unfortunately, this made swimming a little less fun, especially since it seems most stinging insects are attracted to water. And they have reason to be, in Arizona.

Paper wasps generally have long and slender skinny bodies, with a similar appearance as the yellow jacket, though they can also have brown or red markings. Their nest is paper-like and they can enter from the bottom. These are found in eaves of buildings, behind shutters or in shrubs and woodpiles, according to the Web site.

Hornets are even more unpleasant, as they are bigger than the yellow jacket. They also have a variety of coloring, including yellow, white and orange markings with a brown or black body. Their nests look similar to that of a yellow jacket, though they are gray and brown and shaped like a football. They can generally be found high above ground in trees or bushes.

Honeybees are a common insect with a yellow and dark brown fuzzy body. Thankfully, when a bee stings, the stinger is usually left in your skin and the bee dies. This generally means there is only one sting. The rest of the insects aren’t so considerate and can sting you multiple times. However, you should still worry with bees because the bee will signal other bees to attack, so get inside!

Make sure whenever you’re trimming a bush or tree to be careful and look for any of the above insect nests or you might have an unpleasant surprise and possible allergic reaction, or just a painful injury.

Fire ants are pretty obvious. They are much larger than regular ants and are reddish brown or black and generally live underground, which is noted by the large dirt piles formed around the nest. Beware of this sting: it burns like fire! At least these insects are squishable.

For more information on treatment options and side effects, visit the following Web site:

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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