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How can you stop a wasp sting from hurting and how long do wasps’ nests last?


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A wasp on a leaf
There’s nothing like a wasp to really ruin your outdoor event (Picture: Getty)

It’s that time of year when any attempts to squeeze in a last-ditch picnic or barbecue before summer finally fades away, could well attract a few unwanted wasps.

Recent reports have suggested that Britain’s facing an onslaught of angry German wasps this year, with the striped intruders able to instantly send out alarm signals to mobilise an entire nest to go on the attack.

Of course there’s nothing like a wasp sting to really put a dampener on those outdoor activities – but just what can you do if you’re stung, and just how long do wasps’ nests last?

Here’s what you need to know…

How can you stop a wasp sting from hurting?

Unless you’re one of the small number of people who is allergic to wasp stings – which in that instance can cause anaphylaxis, requiring emergency treatment – a wasp sting shouldn’t cause you any serious harm, but that doesn’t stop it being damned painful when it happens.

If you’re stung, you’re likely to experience pain, redness and warmth at the site of the sting, as well as hives and itchiness.

The best way to treat a sting is as follows:

Not necessarily something you want to be stung by (Picture: Getty Images)
  • Wash the affected area with soap and water to remove as much of the venom as you can
  • Apply a cold compress to the area for around 10 minutes to reduce the pain and swelling, then remove it for 10 minutes and continue to apply every half-hour
  • Keep the wound clean and dry, and cover with a plaster or bandage if needed
  • Take an over-the-counter pain relief such as ibuprofen if needed
  • Use a hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to relieve itching

Although some home remedies such as vinegar or baking powder are said to relieve symptoms, the NHS does not recommend using these for an insect bite or sting, saying they are unlikely to help.

How long do wasps’ nests last?

Wasps’ nests usually last around a season, with the colony building their nest in the Spring, and abandoning it after the Summer – they will not return to the same nest the following year.

If you discover a wasps’ nest near your property which is not causing you problems then the best thing to do is leave it alone as the wasps will eventually move on.

However if you have a nest on your property – such as in your loft, for example – that could potentially cause a problem, you should not try and get rid of it yourself, as wasps can become aggressive when it comes to protecting their nest, and you could find yourself being repeatedly stung by an angry mob.

If a nest is a problem and you want to get it removed, the British Pest Control Association recommends that you should always seek professional help in doing so.

MORE: Boy, 6, stung to death by hundreds of wasps while helping gran in garden

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