Is a sting dangerous for people

What to do if you get a hornet sting? Hazards and Treatment

A hornet sting is painful, but is it also dangerous? What is true of the myths surrounding the great wasp?We clarify and give tips on how to relieve swelling and itching.

The fact that many people are afraid of hornets (Vespa Crabro) is related to the size of the insect and the pain of the sting. The rumor that seven hornet stings can kill a horse and three stings can kill a person is not true. A hornet sting is no more dangerous than other insect bites in people without allergies.

How dangerous is a hornet sting?

Hornet: Your sting is much more painful than a wasp or bee sting. (Source: Chromorange / imago images)

Hornets have larger stings than wasps and bees, but their venom is no more dangerous for humans. In terms of its composition, it is even less poisonous than that of bees and wasps. In addition, much more poison enters the body when a bee stings than when a hornet stings.

A hornet sting, on the other hand, is much more painful than a wasp or bee sting. This is not only due to the size of the sting, but also to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine contained in the hornet poison, which is responsible for the severe pain.

Hornets and bees: Hornets hunt wasps, spiders and bees to feed their offspring.

Unlike wasps, hornets are more peaceful and less aggressive. They only sting for self-defense when they feel threatened or their nest. Unlike bees, hornets can usually pull their sting out of the skin undamaged after the sting. You are therefore able to stab several times.

Symptoms: swelling and itching

After a hornet sting, there is swelling and reddening of the skin around the puncture site. There is also severe itching. Nevertheless, you should not scratch the wound, otherwise bacteria can enter.

The skin's defense reactions are usually harmless and subside by themselves after three to four days - if this is not the case, however, you should consult a doctor. For people without allergies, only stitches in the neck and head area can be threatening.

First aid: how to treat a hornet sting

Insect bite: If the symptoms of a hornet sting do not go away after a few days, consult a doctor. (Source: Leonid Eremeychuk / Getty Images)

1. Use disinfectantto prevent possible infection of the puncture site. Make sure that it is suitable for use on the skin.

Tip: If you have been stung and there is still a sting in your skin, it is probably a bee sting and not a hornet sting. How to properly remove the sting and treat a bee sting, read here.

2. Treat the sting with heat first. This can relieve pain and itching. To do this, carefully place a hot washcloth on the stitch.

3. Then cool the injection site with cold envelopes, cool packs or ice cubes. Be careful not to put it directly on the skin, as it could suffer from the cold. Instead, wrap the cooling element in a tea towel to protect the skin. Cooling gels or pens from the pharmacy also relieve hornet stings.

Important: If you have a sting in the mouth or throat, see a doctor as soon as possible or call an emergency doctor. The swelling of the puncture site can lead to shortness of breath - there is a risk of suffocation. As an immediate measure, it is advisable to suck on ice cubes and make ice-cold compresses on the throat.

Hornet sting in children

If children are stung by a hornet, proceed as with adults. Keep calm, place a warm washcloth on the wound and then cool the puncture site. The worst thing for the little patients is the pain.

Symptoms of an allergy

Swollen foot: If you have severe reactions to an insect bite, see a doctor. (Source: vidka / Getty Images)

Typical symptoms of an allergy to a hornet sting are:

  • severe swelling
  • watery eyes
  • nausea
  • difficulties swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing heart

These signs appear after just a few minutes. In such cases, notify the emergency doctor immediately. In the further course, you could suffer an allergic shock if you have a strong allergy. The circulatory system fails, which can lead to fainting and respiratory failure.

If you know of your allergy, you should never be without antihistamines, adrenaline and cortisone when insects are flying. The emergency kit for allergy sufferers alleviates a possible allergy reaction in the event of a bite. Your doctor will explain to you beforehand exactly how you should proceed in an emergency.

Hornet sting in dogs and cats

Hornets can also sting dogs and cats when they feel threatened. What remains is a reddened, swollen area that itches and burns. While a hornet sting in a dog or cat is usually safe, it should be treated to relieve the symptoms.

Cooling is necessary after the stitch. Like with humans, cool packs or cold compresses help here. Cooling gels are particularly suitable for sensitive areas such as the nose or ears. The wasp sting in dogs and cats usually heals on its own after a few days.

Dog: Insects like hornets, bees, and wasps also sting pets when they feel threatened. (Source: kozorog / Getty Images)

However, watch your animal for a sting. If you have symptoms such as circulatory or breathing problems, fatigue, vomiting or severe restlessness, see the vet immediately, as these can be signs of an allergic shock.

If the wasp has stung in the mouth, throat, neck or eye area of ​​the animal, you should also see a veterinarian immediately. Because swelling in the mouth and throat area can cause the animal to suffocate.

Interesting facts about the hornet

Hornets at the entrance of the nest: Hornets are protected species. Their nests must not be removed without permission. (Source: blickwinkel / imago images)

No other species of native wasps is as large as the hornet. The queen can grow up to 35 millimeters. Workers are on average 18 to 25 millimeters and drones 21 to 28 millimeters.

Often other insect species of this size are mistaken for hornets. These so-called mimicry insects include hornet swarms, hornet hoverflies or keulhorn sawfly. These actually harmless insects protect themselves from predators with their dangerous appearance.

Hornet hawk: it is easy to confuse it with a hornet. (Source: imago / blickwinkel)

Do not remove the hornet's nest yourself

Hornets build their nests in cavities, such as bird nest boxes or wooden cladding of facades. Since hornets are under species protection, nests may not be removed or relocated without the approval of the municipality or the city. However, this is usually not necessary, as the hornet's nest is only inhabited in the summer months. During this time the colony grows to a size of up to 700 animals. From mid-October the workers die and the queen looks for a place to overwinter in the ground or in rotten wood.

A hornet colony in the garden can have advantages. Hornets keep other insects such as bees, wasps and spiders away because they use it to feed their offspring. In addition, hornets are not attracted by sweet food or drinks. Adult animals feed on saps and windfalls.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.