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How to Treat a Yellow Jacket Sting

How to Treat a Yellow Jacket Sting

Many times a yellow jacket will sting without warning or being provoked at all. For many, knowing how to treat a yellow jacket sting is a matter of life and death as the venom injected during the sting can be toxic the victim is allergic.

Remove the Stinger

The first step to treating a yellow jacket sting is to make sure the stinger has not been left behind.  Yellow jackets, unlike honeybees, usually do not leave the stinger behind and are able to sting a victim more than once.  In the case that the stinger has broken off, don’t squeeze it out.  Instead, gently scrape the area with a credit card.

Immediate Action

The sting site will be very painful and will immediately begin to swell.  For immediate relief to reduce the swelling and ease the pain apply ice to the site. Home remedies that may help soothe the pain are meat tenderizer, baking soda, or vinegar.

Dealing with the Pain

Yellow jackets are more likely than other bees to sting without provocation, can sting a victim more than once, and have a more painful sting than most.  To manage the pain of a yellow jacket sting taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen will help.  An antihistamine can help reduce the swelling.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Bee Allergy: Some people who are not allergic to bee stings can be singularly allergic to yellow jacket venom.  If you have been stung or are treating someone who has been stung watch for any signs of breathing difficulty, confusion, slurred speech, or exaggerated swelling seek prompt medical attention.

Infection: Days after the yellow jacket sting, if the area is still swollen or is producing pus, the area may have become infected and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Multiple Stings: Yellow jackets can swarm, and each can sting multiple times making this bee a vicious adversary that should not be provoked. If you have been stung multiple times, seek medical attention.

Mouth Stings: Even if you have never been allergic to bee stings in the past, a sting inside the nose or mouth requires medical attention as the swelling has the potential to interfere with breathing.



“Know thy enemy—a primer on yellow jackets.” Oregon State University Extension Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.

“Insect bites and stings – Overview.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.

“Bee Sting Treatment.” N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.


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