The appearance of a yellow jacket sting can vary depending on the sensitivity of the sting victim. Generally, a sting site will swell, turn red, will be extremely painful, and possibly begin to itch. The venom that the yellow jacket injects while stinging can cause further reactions in a victim such as substantial swelling and tenderness of the area extending beyond the sting site. In others, a yellow jacket sting can cause a life threatening response.
Of further concern is the fact that yellow jackets can and do sting their victims multiple times causing further complications depending on how much venom is introduced to the victims system.
Why a Yellow Jacket Sting Hurts
When a yellow jacket stings it injects venom beneath the victim’s skin. Bee venom is primarily comprised of melittin, which stimulates the nerve endings of pain receptors under the skin. The sting results in a sharp pain followed by a dull ache that can last for several days.
How to Identify a Yellow Jacket
Yellow jackets are one of the most aggressive species of social wasps and when on the defensive around a food source will vigorously attack. They are also aggressively defensive when they sense that their colony is vulnerable.
Most yellow jacket species are medium in size and black with yellow stripes running horizontally across the body. They have a thread of a waist attaching the thorax to the abdomen. Unlike the bumblebee, yellow jackets are hairless
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“Yellow Jackets : Extension : Clemson University : South Carolina.” Clemson University. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Dec. 2010. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/beekeepers/factsheets/yellow_jackets.html.
“About Bee and Wasp Stings.” West Virginia University. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Dec. 2010. http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/wildlife/bees.htm.