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How Can I Treat Yellow Jacket Stings?

You can treat yellow jacket stings with ice packs to alleviate the pain.
To reduce swelling and pain, taking medications such as Benadryl®, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen can help.
Yellow jackets look like honey bees without the fur and can sting multiple times.
A fever after treating yellow jacket stings should be diagnosed by a doctor.
Baking soda can be used as a paste to reduce the pain of yellow jacket stings.
Individuals experiencing an allergic reaction to a yellow jacket sting may need to call 911 for assistance.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
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Yellow jackets look like honey bees without the fuzz, and unlike honey bees, they will sometimes sting without provocation. You should know how to treat yellow jacket stings because they are initially very painful, and people stung by yellow jackets may develop serious and life-threatening reactions to their venom. First, if a person has a known allergy to bee stings, they should always carry a bee sting kit with them and know how to use it. If you’re caring for a person, or traveling with someone who is allergic to bees, get them to train you on how to use the kit too.

While honeybees often sting as a last defense, and lose their stingers in the process, yellow jackets may sting numerous times, and you may not see a stinger. If there is one, you want to scrape it off, rather than pulling it out. Squeezing the stinger can inject more venom into the sting site, which will at minimum make it more painful.

Some people recommend that you treat yellow jacket stings with ice, since this can help ease pain. Another common recommendation by many medical professionals is to use meat tenderizer in paste on the stings. This actually does assist in reducing pain and may also help reduce swelling. If you don’t have ice or meat tenderizer available, you can use baking soda or a little bit of vinegar.

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You can expect the sting to hurt quite a bit for the first few hours. Medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help. Antihistamines like Benadryl® may also promote comfort and reduce swelling. The downside to these is that they make people sleepy and might mask the symptoms of a delayed, minor allergic reaction to stings. Minor reactions usually occur before major ones, and if you have a delayed reaction to a sting you need to consider yourself bee sting allergic; this means you should start carrying a bee sting kit with you.

Most people can expect some swelling and redness around the sting area, but this swelling should be localized. If a person has massive swelling, this is a not a normal reaction and requires immediate medical care. When swelling doesn’t reduce in a few days, and there are red streaks or any appearance of pus, this is an infection. Yellow jackets do come into contact with feces and dead animals, and this can transfer infection to people they sting. If you suspect the sting is infected, you should see a doctor.

Another part of learning to treat yellow jacket stings is learning to recognize when a person may be having an allergic reaction to the sting. A person who complains of difficulty breathing, has slurred speech, has huge swelling around the sting site, seems confused, or who is running a fever may be having an allergic reaction. This is an emergency medical situation and you should call 911. Severe allergies to stings cause anaphylactic shock and there should be no delay in preventing this type of deadly reaction.

Sometimes when you treat yellow jacket stings people, have a delayed reaction. A delayed reaction may present several hours later with things like fever, general tiredness, or sudden extreme illness. If you note this reaction several hours after you treat yellow jacket stings this also may require immediate medical care. Contact your doctor or go to an urgent care clinic. However you should still call 911 if there is trouble breathing or you feel additional cause for concern is warranted.

Another thing you should bear in mind is location of sting, number of stings and age of the person being stung. You should get immediate care for children who have ten or more stings at once, and for kids that have a sting in the mouth. As you treat yellow jacket stings that are numerous, be sure to watch for any signs of potential allergic reaction, immediate or delayed. When in doubt, get medical treatment.

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anon974921
Post 114

I started reading these posts because it's now October and in May I got stung by a yellow jacket. I still have a small wound from it. I was lying down reading on my kindle in my back yard. I was completely minding my own business and BAM! It felt like someone stuck a hot poker into my right butt cheek! Never thought I could move as fast as I did, running around like a wild woman smacking my butt (couldn't see it, naturally) But whatever it was I wanted it dead! It was next to my lounge chair. Thank goodness I have a privacy fence because my neighbors would have had me committed. Just saying.

anon974529
Post 113

It's mid-October and I thought these things would be gone by now. I was leaf blowing today when I was stung in the face by a yellow jacket. I accidentally flushed them out from a hole in the ground and they didn't come out right away. After a minute or two, I got stung right in the sideburn and I didn't know what it was, but I felt a pinch and a really sharp pain and then I saw a blackish bug flying around me. I swatted him and killed him but then noticed another so I ran inside.

After being in the bathroom for a few minutes, poking for a rash/swelling/ irritation (which I never found), I saw one more yellow jacket inside with me. I was freaked out and I swatted it with the nearest towel and started to calm down. Three more showed up and my mom had to kill them because I was shaking from fear, not as a reaction to the sting. It turns out I carried then inside via my sweatshirt hood. It's been a few hours and the sting still hurts as bad as when it was fresh and I've been icing it. Be careful! I learned the hard way that they will hitch a ride inside to get you once you think it's safe.

anon958958
Post 112

I got stung over 20 times this evening. I went to the ER and got an IV dull of all kinds of crap. It's not helping. My skin feels like it's on fire, I'm very hot, my eyeballs are burning and my skin is hot, red and itchy. I'm going to lose my mind.

anon351402
Post 111

I was outside talking to some people and felt a fluttering under my baggy tank top and thought it was a loose thread, then suddenly I felt a bad pinching/stinging on my stomach and began to swat at my boobs/bra (much to my embarrassment and to the people I was talking to!) and ran inside to see what was happening. I saw two huge red oval-shaped welts with red dots in the middle and the whole area was red.

It's been an hour and it still stings as badly as it did when it first happened. It hurts so much. It feels like I was stabbed with sharpened chopsticks and it's still in there (I had someone remove the stinger). I just put Benadryl cream on it and took a Benadryl so we'll see what that does.

anon349323
Post 110

I got stung on the side of my wrist while mowing. I ran into the house, not knowing I brought six yellow jackets with me. After eliminating them, I iced my hand and began looking for meat tenderizer. I had to go to two stores while icing it in between to buy some. The ice kept the pain down.

I mixed meat tenderizer with baking soda and plastered it on the sting. This usually works for me, but it hurt so bad I didn't feel any relief. I found this site, and someone recommended Benadryl, so I took one tablet. Someone else recommended Preparation H.

I washed the meat tenderizer baking soda mixture off after about 20 minutes and tried the Preparation H Cool Gel. The pain went away. I was expecting the worst as the stings usually swell up larger around than a silver dollar and hurt a day or two, then itch like crazy for days. The next day it was barely swollen. After 24 hours it began to itch. I blew it with a hair dryer on high. It felt like itch, itch, itch, then it hurt. This only takes less than 10 seconds or so. Then the itch is gone. I use this hair dryer method on mosquito bites and poison ivy. It takes the itch out for 6 to 12 hours, then I repeat when it itches again. Just blow it until it hurts and stop. Hot water under the faucet works too, but not it's always easy to fit afflicted part under the faucet.

I don't recommend the hair dryer or water method for children. They are so tender it could burn them. I haven't reclaimed my lawnmower because I noticed it was still getting attention from some of the yellow jackets. Now to figure out to get rid of them without getting stung again.

anon349061
Post 109

I was stung two times in this week and I have found a very simple solution for this. When you get stung by yellow jackets, just get a newspaper and put some water in it and rub the place where you got stung. You will find there is no swelling and the pain will be more bearable.

anon348389
Post 106

I was stung between 50 and 100 times when I inadvertently disturbed an above-ground nest of yellow jackets. They had built their nest underneath an outdoor table because the ground (where they usually nest) was too wet from recent rains. At first I thought I had disturbed fire ants because the pain from the stings started at my toes and feet. Then I saw the flying insects. They continued to sting me on the tops of both feet, on both legs, on my back (near both kidneys), on my hands and arms, on my upper back and neck. The YJs were stuck to my body, to my clothing (inside as well as outside) and to my sandals. I ran back to my house and took two Benadryl tablets. I called my neighbor and said I needed help and asked him to drive me to the ER.

Before we left for the ER, my toes swelled and began turning purple. My right hand swelled to twice its normal size, and the ring finger began turning purple. My feet and toes felt as though hot nails were embedded in them. The pain was unlike anything I had ever experienced.

On the way to the ER, I could feel myself beginning to shake, and my body felt cold from the inside out. At the ER, I was given intravenous saline solution, IV antibiotic, epinephrine, pain medication (which didn't touch the pain), and morphine (which also didn't do anything to diminish the pain). My feet hurt so much that I couldn't tolerate the weight of the blanket on them. I was shaking and jerking from the cold feeling. Three warm blankets did nothing to warm me. Finally I asked a nurse for some hot chocolate, which helped to warm me from the inside and which helped alleviate the shaking and jerking and teeth chattering.

It has been 18 days. I am tired all the time (from the venom and from taking Benadryl). The itching has been almost unbearable. I have treated at home with Benadryl and Zantac. Although Zantac is an acid-reducer, it is also a Histamine 2 blocker. Benadryl is a Histamine 1 blocker. I have soaked in warm baths to which I added baking soda. I have used anti-itch creams and calamine clear gel lotion. Several of the sting/bites have become infected. On those sites I have used either Bacitracin or Triple-Antibiotic ointments and bandages.

I have experienced cramping or "charley horses" in the calves of both legs and on the bottom of my right foot (where the foot joins the toes). Occasionally, I will experience a flushed feeling throughout my body, and my skin will break out in hives.

I have read all the preceding posts from others who have been stung by yellow jackets. Some posts were from young children whose parent(s) are minimizing the children's pain and symptoms (redness, tenderness to the touch, swelling, red streaks) of the stings.

Do not minimize the symptoms of the sting(s)! If you have redness, swelling and/or red streaks, if the redness begins to travel up or down, get medical attention immediately! Red streaks or redness that spreads rapidly is a sign of infection which requires prompt medical attention from people who know what they are doing.

Get that help from your doctor, from a hospital ER, from an Urgent Care center, or from EMTs (by calling 911). The longer you wait, the worse the situation can become. Take action quickly. Your life, or the life of your child or pet, may depend on that quick action.

Our bodies' response to the sting of an insect can/may/does change with the passage of time. The sting of a bee is different from the sting of a wasp/hornet/yellow jacket/fire ant which is different from the bite of a spider. Any sting, bite or cut on your skin can result in cellulites. which is an infection that requires prompt medical treatment (with injected/oral antibiotics and/or prednisone)in order to avoid possible life-threatening consequences.

anon344716
Post 105

I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. I discovered an underground yellow jacket nest right in front of my picket fence a couple steps away from my front steps. Well I made the mistake of pouring iodized salt down the hole, but not before they said, "Charge!" I got stung on the back on my right shoulder blade, right cheek and the space between my nose and upper lip and when I ran in, I brought in three bees who fortunately didn't bother my Chihuahua and cat. I let the bees out and tried an ice chunk. It swelled on the lip and felt numb. It looked like I got hit. The ice chunk did nothing, baking soda hurt, and then someone suggested toothpaste. Now I smell minty fresh. The Novacaine like feeling is almost gone as is the pain and the only place I'm itching is the back sting. I have no breathing problems and no hives.

I am allergic to honeybees, one of which stung me yesterday, but was kind enough not to leave its stinger in. What got me was when I poured the salt filling the hole, of those that came out, about 30 were skimming the salt as if trying to remove it. Yeah, bad move, but I couldn't help it. What amazed me was that only three bees went after me when the rest were trying to figure out how to unclog their hole when everyone else could've gone after me. I provoked them, so I can't be mad at them. I know they were only protecting themselves. But I'll never do that again with the salt. I'll just leave 'em alone.

I know one thing: the yellow jackets killed all the honey bees that had been in that hole. Talk about an eviction notice. I went out tonight with a pen light to see if they were still hovering and didn't see a single yellow jacket. Either I buried them good and the jackets outside couldn't get back in their hole or they moved on. Their signal to attack is amazingly fast. You literally don't know what hit you because these yellow jackets strike so fast.

Just to be safe, I took a couple of Tylenol for the pain also. In reading up on them, I found out they'll attack, provoked or not. I have wild mint and it’s blooming, which draws honeybees, bumblebees and flies and now these yellow jackets, and when I tried to remove some on the other side of their underground hole on the other side of the fence, they went after me. The three yellow jackets didn't mind leaving my house when I opened the door for them as they accomplished their mission on nailing me. They mean business, all right.

anon344635
Post 104

I am up so late because my 18 year old son was stung by yellowjackets two days ago. We counted about 15 to 20 stings on his right forearm, elbow, right leg and the back of his neck. At the time he was stung, he was helping an older lady with her yard and stepped on a nest. After he got them all off of him, he continued working. He said they hurt really bad, but he had to finish before it rained.

He came home, took some benedryl, took a shower and went to his regular job until 10 p.m. When he got home, he showed me his right forearm looked like Popeye's. His hand and fingers were swollen and his arm was getting stiff while the stings were still burning. I had him take more benedryl and apply benedryl cream. The next morning, he said it woke him up several time during the night itching and burning and he could not raise his arm over his head. While he was lifting his arm to show me he couldn't lift it up because of the pain, I saw something in his armpit. I bent down to look there was about a golf ball size knot that was bright red.

I immediately took him to urgent care. They said his lymph nodes were fighting the venom and it was the worst they had ever seen without it making the person very sick. They gave him a shot and more meds to take at home. A few hours later he was very pale and not feeling well, so he went to take a shower and my nephew came running in yelling, “He needs you in the bathroom and he needs you now. Hurry.” I went into the bathroom and he was sitting in the bathtub, shaking like crazy. So I yelled for my husband and grabbed some towels. I started drying him off and asking him questions. At first, he did not answer me. He was very lethargic. When I started drying his hair he said he got really dizzy and sat down and could not get back up. So we got him out of the tub, dried him off, and then he started coming around a little.

We helped him to the couch and got him something to drink. He started to relax a little. He said he had no strength, and was very dizzy, and then he got up rand to the bathroom puking. I was so scared. I started getting ready to take him to the ER, but he said he felt better and he just wanted to lie down.

He has been asleep now for about three hours and I'm checking on him every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure he's not running a fever, checking his breathing and making sure no more symptoms occur. Yellowjackets are no joke. All the information I've read on here has helped me calm down some, but I won't be going to sleep any time soon.

anon343078
Post 103

I got stung on my head yesterday while mowing grass. I've been stung in the past with only localized reactions, but this sting yesterday on the head caused a systemic reaction very quickly! I felt my face start to get hot and tingle within second, then the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet started to burn and itch; it was like they were on fire.

I stood there for a minute or two as a friend searched for the sting on my scalp and started to feel like I was going into shock. I had to sit down or I felt as if I'd fall down. After a couple of minutes of sitting, I made my way to my shower. At this point, less than five minutes after the stings, I felt very hot all over, but most intensely in the extremities. I felt my lips and face go kind of numb and swell, although not too bad. I spent about 15 mins in a cool shower and felt much better. The burning and swelling sensation began to subside. I put ice on the sting and sat down. I was done mowing for the day. After about 20 minutes, I thought a cold beer would be nice, but the alcohol seemed to rekindle the reaction so I put the beer away and had some cold soda instead.

I felt a little stiff this morning, but otherwise O.K. The sting spot on scalp itches a little, but not too bad. I don't really feel like going out to mow today -- not a pleasant experience at all!

anon342645
Post 102

I got stung by some more yellow jackets again today. I had gotten stung about four years ago several times over that summer and finally had a major reaction and called 911 as I thought I was dying as I could not even stand up firm and was very faint. My ankle swelled up to look like like an inflated fake balloon foot.

As soon as my company left the next morning (my dad and stepmother), I immediately went to the ER (it was a weekend event). They gave me several shots. I don't remember what they were, but they included antibiotics. On Monday I went to my family Doctor and he prescribed an Epi pen and told me to always carry it around but not to use it unless I started to go into Anaphylactic shock as there was a possibility that I would not have the same reaction on the next occurrence, but that it could possibly be even worse!

I got stung again a couple of months later and waited and did not have a reaction that time. Today, about four years later, I got stung again while mowing the side of my road in the mountains here in SC and got stung about four times and the pain was horrendous, but I am okay so far.

Today, my right thumb and left arm near elbow are all swollen up and I tried a meat tenderizer and tobacco patch which is helping a lot. The ice therapy actually increased the pain even more! Also, just as an FYI, please don't burn up the yellow jacket holes, but instead use a solution of dish soap detergent and dilute it in some water. This is much more green and is better for the environment. Or, call a professional if you wish. I hate to kill anything, but I have four small Chihuahuas to think about so I will destroy this particular colony of yellow jackets. The soap solution kills instantly by destroying these and other insects' exoskeletons. You can use it with a spray bottle all around your home and will see immediate results as soon as the spray hits the wasps, yellow jackets, etc. Just please use caution and make sure that you are not destroying the good and beneficial insects also. My doctor also told me to take 150 MG of benadryl immediately and if the person stung is going into shock, of course call 911.

anon338615
Post 101

I was stung by a yellow jacket. It was not the first time so I went to the doctor the next morning and got a steroid shot and a z-pack. The only thing I could think of to help with the swelling and the itching was hemorrhoid medicine (Preparation H). I cannot believe how much it helped. Within a few minutes the swelling had gone down a lot and best of all, the itching stopped. I really hope this helps someone else.

anon336967
Post 100

I have been stung multiple times by YJs, with different reactions. Sometimes the stings burn for a few hours and then subside; sometimes it is much longer with itching afterwards (this is your histamine reaction to the sting, not just the sting itself). I have had huge localized reactions from about half the stings, and sometimes infection requiring medical treatment (these tiny tempests can carry bacteria). These reactions have been more enduring than the stings I have received from other bees and wasps.

For me, ice is the most useful pain reducer - lots of ice for as long as it is needed. It hurts more, briefly, then numbs the pain. I use the ice directly until the pain is numbed, then keep the area cold by wrapping the ice in a cloth for a little skin protection. Frozen peas in a baggie are good for curved areas. A dose of antihistamine is a good precaution. It is important to stay as calm as possible, use some breathing/relaxation and distract with movie/game/book/music/light work. Eat lightly with good nutrition in mind to limit nausea that can happen with multiple stings, and drink lots of extra water throughout the day and for as long as the reaction seems active.

Plan to deal with the nest of bees while you recover. Don't bother getting angry; just care for yourself. If you feel afraid after being stung, then hire a pro to deal with it until you are calmer. You will need some researched knowledge, common sense, respect and steady nerves to avoid further aggravation from the nest. Getting mad at "nature" rarely gets a good result.

If there are multiple stings, you will need to slow it down for a few days as your body does its work cleaning up the stings. Stay calm and take good care of yourself for the fastest recovery. And call the medical professionals with any doubts - it never hurts to call, and could save you serious trouble.

If you are developing an allergy, you need to know it. If you are prone to allergies (have a highly reactive system), be extra careful here. If you have kids who are stung, stay calm and keep them close by until you are sure they have bounced back.

anon289187
Post 99

During a family walk in the woods, my 5 year old son fell on top of a yellow jacket nest. My hubby and I got about six or eight stings each and luckily, my son only got three. We got quickly back to the house where we stripped our clothes off and hopped in our pool. It was so cold, but we didn't care We stayed there for an hour.

The stinging feeling is terrible. We went back inside and took Tylenol, held ice packs to the stings and watched for reactions. Luckily, none of us had one. I have never felt stings like that and I hope to never again. They are itching now two days later and I used some anti itch spray. But geez, those buggers *hurt*!

anon287560
Post 98

Yellow jackets are awful! I've been stung so many times by bees and hornets and sure, the pain is sharp but after a short while it goes away. Not with yellow jackets; it's like the initial pain just stays and stays and stays, and then there is the swelling! I got bit on both knuckles of one finger and it feels like the stinger penetrated the bone! Never saw the nest. I think it was underground and they came up because I was watering and flooded their hole.

anon286128
Post 96

I own a landscape company. I have been hit twice in one month. About three weeks ago I got hit about 30 times on the stomach, knee, ankle and leg. They were very swollen and itchy. I didn't do anything but continue working and sweating.

Yesterday I got nailed about 15-20 times around my left ankle, knee and wrist while trimming bushes again. Again, I didn't do anything but keep working for another six hours. My ankle is so swollen it looks broken and very is very stiff. I have used cortisone, baking soda/water paste, benadryl. I am hurting from this last round.

Sad thing is I just looked at another yard today that is a giant cleanup. We are bound to run into something. Either snakes or bees. I hate bees. I can deal with snakes.

anon282784
Post 95

@Post 91: Oh my gosh, I also got stung by a yellow jacket Saturday and here it is Tuesday and I can hardly stand the pain in my whole arm, shoulder and neck! I only got stung by one yellow jacket on my arm and you would think it had been a dozen. But, why days later does my whole arm, shoulder and neck still hurt? Not sure if I should go to the doctor these many days later.

anon282367
Post 94

I am 16 years old and I was outside at a cookout when I got stung. I think that I only got partially stung because there was no spot/tiny hole where you could see that I had gotten stung. All there was was a white bump, the kind you get when bitten by a ant or something. I immediately showed my mom while panicking and she said that we would have to find some tobacco to absorb out the venom and reduce swelling (since we were out in the country).

We found a lady with a cigarette and she wet the end and applied some tobacco to the sting area. Because neither me nor my family smokes, I thought it was disgusting at first. Then as I left it on, I realized that within 15 minutes that the swelling and redness was completely gone as well as the stinging sensation! I guess the point of the story is: Tobacco on a yellow jacket sting really works!

anon282037
Post 93

I'm 12 years old and last night, I was in my driveway walking back and forth, dribbling my basketball, walking barefooted, when I felt this sharp feeling on the bottom of my toe (the toe next to my pinky toe). It felt like I just stepped on a thorn. So I lifted my foot up to pull it out and found a yellow jacket stinging my toe.

I dropped my basketball and ran inside my house. The first thing I thought of doing was running into my parents' bathroom and grabbing the tweezers to pull out the stinger, but there wasn't a stinger, so I turned on cold water in my parents' bathtub and stuck my foot under the water. By then, my toe was already swollen to half the size of my big toe.

So, I called my parents because they weren't home at the time. My mom told me to make a paste by taking the baking soda and mixing it with just a little water, then put it onto the sting. It still hurt a little but wasn't as painful. When I took the paste off about an hour later, it started to start hurting more again.

When my parents got home, my mom gave me one advil pill before I went to sleep, but that did not help at all. So, then this morning when I woke up, my toe was really red and swollen and itchy. When I stood or walked on my foot it would feel like it was literally on fire. Later today my middle toe and pinky toe were also swollen along with the toe that I got stung on, plus the whole top part of my foot. My mom doesn't think it's an allergic reaction but nothing seems to work. I also tried ice but that did not work. My foot just keeps getting worse.

Does anyone have anything helpful to try?

anon280016
Post 91

Yesterday I was stung under my right ring finger by a yellow jacket. I think there are very few people who could possibly know how bad that hurts a 30-year -old grown man. The first three minutes I thought it might be a good idea to take it off at the joint. As the pain subsided, the swelling started in and now my finger looks a lot more like a toe. The swelling even split the cuticle. I hate taking bent-the-drill, as I call it, because it makes me so loopy, so I'm just waiting for the swelling to go down. It's possibly unrelated, but my arm hurts from my tricep up through the shoulder and into my neck. I thought I would share this story because I certainly can't find anyone else to reference with.

anon277743
Post 90

I was in the woods bringing up earthworms to fish with. I saw a hole and couldn't tell what was in it. So I used the stick I had to kind of poke around in it. I then discovered it was some kind of flying bugs. I ran away but couldn't see them flying, mainly because I was sweating so bad and my glasses were covered with sweat.

I went back close to where I was before and put the stick in the ground to chase up some more earthworms. I felt a huge sting to my belly and immediately ran away. My sister in law saw one on my shirt and I tried to get it off but it just got on my ring finger and stung me. I have never encountered YJs before, but I sure will know next time. I am 32 and this is my first kind of sting ever. I didn't have a huge reaction but it is seven hours now since it happened and it still stings pretty good.

anon275211
Post 89

I was stung by a yellow jacket yesterday when I was getting the mail. It nailed me right above the right elbow. The initial sting was very painful and left the telltale single puncture wound, which immediately reddened and swelled. The swelling and pain got progressively worse, and I took 2 Excedrin, which seemed to help. This morning, I woke to severe itching and pain that extended up the arm and into the joint. I probably should have rested today, but had to clean because I have company coming in a couple days. Working that arm so hard probably wasn't a good idea. It is now past midnight, my arm is severely swollen, hot to the touch, and the pain in my shoulder is pretty bad, despite taking a pain reliever a couple hours ago. I really hope I haven't developed cellulitis. If it's worse in the morning, I'll have to go the ER.

I feel for those poor people who get stung multiple times by these damn things. Just the one sting is making my life miserable. I'd advise that anyone who gets stung in a limb to take it easy for a couple days. Working my arm so hard today has resulted in agony. I may have circulated the venom by doing this and am not even sure I'll be able to sleep tonight. I've always kind of hated the summer months, and this reminds me why.

anon226238
Post 88

I was stung three times on my arm today by yellow jackets. I immediately applied alcohol on the site. I believe alcohol somehow neutralizes part of the poison. The minor swelling went away in about an hour. I also took Benadryl ten minutes later. It looks like 10 out of 10 people described the pain as terrible and extremely painful. I think the alcohol makes a difference because I do not have severe pain, just minor pain and bearable.

anon218871
Post 87

I got stung once on the cheek today while cutting grass. I have never felt pain so intense. I came inside and put ice on it, and I haven't been able to take the ice away from my face for more than two or three minutes without the pain getting too extreme again. And I've taken a ton of ibuprofen, but the pain has not eased up at all. I tried tobacco but it hurt too bad to take the ice away from my face. This has been going on for about eight hours. If it doesn't stop hurting soon I'm going to lose my mind.

anon205777
Post 86

I got stung twice by a yellow jacket. It hurt for days. Covering it with a bandaid helped me to not scratch it. It itched so bad at one site that I itched it until it bled, so covering it with a bandaid helped me to "not" do that. Ice helped lots, too. One area where the disgusting insect stung me finally healed after 22 days! It stung me while I was asleep on a bus - twice! Ugh! I probably won't sleep on a bus again. I used some handy wipes I had to cool it off and that helped, too.

anon205056
Post 85

I got stung a few weeks ago while outside at the park. The sting was on my thigh. At first I had no swelling or redness, but the next day my leg got extremely red and swollen. The swelling went down about 12 inches and the area was very hot. After a few days I went to a doctor who told me I had cellulitis from the sting. Apparently the wasp had given me a pretty bad infection.

buford051010
Post 84

I was stung six times by a yellowjacket. All the bites were on my legs. They swelled up pretty bad, and my legs felt like they were on fire.

I applied a baking soda paste to the swollen areas, and that helped out so much. I also had alkaline water. XOOMA Alkaline Water enhancer was the next best thing. I didn't have $4,000 for an alkaline water machine. Alkaline water helps detoxify your body of any toxins taken in from the yellowjacket stings. I started rebounding (bouncing) on my mini trampoline. Rebounding cleans out your lymphatic system. Rebounding will move your lymph fluid, which will help eliminate the toxins and debris out of your body cells.

Free antioxidants. Get electrons free. Just stand barefoot on the ground. Do your research. These are free health benefits. Free radicals are stabilized by extra electrons. Grounding, (earthing) standing barefoot on the earth's surface will also detoxify and reduce inflammation.

When putting all of these into action, I found the swelling and intense pain were gone within 45 minutes. I still have redness, but all of this made a big difference. Again do the research: grounding, rebounding and alkaline water.

May be too much information for some of you, but start reading up on the health benefits.

anon192285
Post 83

Yesterday my best friend and I were amusing ourselves by seeing who could hop a fence faster. When I got to the tallest fence at the elementary school, I was lucky enough to try and hop the one part with a yellow jacket nest in it. I got stung once but now my hand is the size of a softball and itches like mad. The only funny thing about this whole ordeal was watching my best friend do a "Holy crap! Yellow jackets! Save me!" dance, run across a busy intersection and fall down a hill, only to realize the buggers had been chasing me the whole time.

anon189476
Post 82

I was mowing the yard a week ago and apparently hit a nest of yellow jackets. As I ran through the yard ripping my shirt off and trying to take off my work boots and socks-as they were crawling into my shoes and stinging me like crazy. I ended up with about 10-12 stings on my calves and ankles, one under my arm and another on my bicep. The pain was intense, like needles sticking out of my legs.

It is a week later and the itching is crazy. Scratching, scratching, scratching my legs. I am now paranoid about mowing the yard as I don't know where those venomous bastards are living.

I have always had an irrational fear of bees and this episode ensures that this phobia will certainly never go away in my lifetime. The grass is growing as I speak, but I can't get myself to go out there and cut it. They're probably out there saying, ''There's the hussy who destroyed our home! Get her now!” Irrational? Yes. But it is what it is. I love winter. No bugs. Guess I'll move to the North Pole.

anon178629
Post 81

I just got stung by a pretty large yellow jacket yesterday early evening, while I was pruning and pulling weeds around my rose bushes. I had no idea that there was a nest underground.

The darn YJ stung me through my sweat pants. I did not know that they can pierce through your clothing. When the YJ stung me, it felt like I just got pricked by a rose thorn. Then, I saw the YJ fall to ground and I stomped it with my shovel. I ran away right away cause there were other mad YJs swarming around.

I have been stung twice couple of years ago and my arm swelled up so bad that I had to keep going back to critical care to have them drain the swelling liquid. It was not pleasant, as they had to cut the skin in order to drain. The doctor at that time said to me: "if you ever get stung again, do the epipen instantly and then call 911.

So, I went inside my house, called 911 and found my epipen. They were great, they gave me instructions over the phone on how to administer, as I was freaking out. The fire department showed up like in two minutes, took my heart rate and checked my breathing. An ambulance came (I wanted to drive myself to the emergency room) but they said no, because anything can happen on the way to the emergency room.

I was seen by a doctor and they gave me different meds to take. I sat there for a while because they wanted to observe me and wanted to make sure that I was ok before they released me.

The YJ stung me on the back of my left thigh and it was extremely painful and really hard to sit down. I was even limping around, hard to walk.

I hate those bugs. I went to the store today and got 10 of those yellow rescue cones and put them all around my house.

If you are allergic to bees, wasps or yellow jackets, make sure you have an epipen. I really believe that it actually saved me. Good luck to all.

anon169025
Post 80

I was stung by a yellow jacket on my nose a few hours ago. I was just walking and this yellow jacket lands on my face. When some big yellow thing lands in between your eyes, instincts tell you "swipe it off!" which naturally gave the yellow jacket an invitation to sting, which after doing so, buzzed madly for a few seconds and flew off.

I ran inside the house and following my friend's advice, I lumped a ton of soap on the sting and put a glob of toothpaste on it too. I left it on for a long while. Now, three hours later, there is only mild redness and barely any swelling. There is no itching either.

anon168994
Post 79

i heard toothpaste works.

anon163708
Post 78

Last night about midnight, i got stung by a yellow jacket. It hurt tremendously. i immediately ran cold water on it. it still burned bad, so i put baking soda/water on it and it soothed some. so i went to sleep.

the next morning it was very itchy and my whole arm was red. i had gotten stung on the wrist so there was bad swelling. of course i realize I'm allergic because i sit down and my heart beats are faster than normal and i have hives and persistent pain. but I'm only 11 years old and my parents and insisting on that I'm not allergic, but my arm hurts i have a headache and I'm tired! ugh. i guess i will live.

anon158184
Post 77

Start rubbing iron material immediately. it helps in reducing pain as well as swelling.

anon138369
Post 76

i got stung while riding on my bike! I'm now into my second night and i just cannot sleep because of the itching! I hate wasps I want to kill every single one of them! I didn't even provoke it. It landed on my chest and almost immediately stung me!

anon126244
Post 75

This is a very informative article, keep the great blogs coming!

anon119025
Post 74

We were cleaning out my storage shed because we had seen many yellow jackets going in and out. Soon as we took a blanket off a cardboard box, we were swarmed. My bf got stung around his head but I got stung in my eye. I pulled it out and ran in the house. He came in with them behind him. All around my eye and face it's puffy and red and filled with fluid. Taking benadryl and ibuprofen. Hope it goes down soon. I look monstrous.

anon114802
Post 73

well i got nailed eight times today. i was mowing over an underground nest and didn't know it. i thought i had been hit buy a rock but when i looked down i had the little bleepers all over my legs.

What was bad is i had to go back to get the mower that was still running. i went in the house and told my wife what happened and I'll be damned if i didn't carry one inside with me and got stung again.

i got me some payback tonight. a gallon of gas down the hole and then i built a fire on top of the nest. when it went down to just hot coals, i stuffed them down in the hole until it was blocked off.

my stings are still stinging and itching real bad. i had four on one leg, one on the other, one on my belly, one below my left eye, and one in my eyebrow on the other eye. I bet they don't bother me anymore though.

anon114582
Post 72

My husband was mowing one evening two weeks ago. He mowed past our crab apple tree, not knowing there was a nest. I saw him swatting his back and a minute later, he pulled the mower to the front of the house.

He collapsed within three minutes of being stung. Had what looked to be a seizure. I called paramedics. He stopped breathing and I did cpr on him for about 10 minutes till they arrived. They worked on him about 45 minutes at our house. They couldn't get him on the mediflight because his heart wasn't beating. They rushed him to the hospital and worked on him another 45 minutes and were unable to save him. He wouldn't breathe and his heart would beat. He had been stung a million times in the past and nothing happened so no one knew he was allergic. Either he got stung so many times or he finally developed an allergy.

anon111396
Post 71

sheltie owner: anon40468: First, I am so sorry to read that your dog passed. What a sad and difficult time this must be for you.

Please do not blame yourself for her death! Even if you think that helps you move through through the grief process.

You did not neglect your dog in any way and you are a responsible and loving owner because you took your dog to the vet! Most people don't do that because they assume that dogs will be okay and that they feel pain differently. For all you know, the medication that the doctor gave her could have been the culprit (though they will never admit that).

Research the meds and see what the side effects are and see if other owners have had this happen to them. If you're not sure why the dog passed, it is not fair to shoulder the blame. You don't know what the intention of her 'soul' was. Dying five days afterward strikes me as odd, but she might have been stung more than you know. Most deaths occur within the first hour of envenomation.

The entire situation might have just been too much for her. By the way, yellow jacket venom does cause almost instant diarrhea, so the excrement around the house sounds normal. Perhaps there was swelling in the mouth and throat and because the cranial space is so small, there might not have been enough room for swelling.

A human can tolerate up to 100 stings per pound of body weight. But, if a person is stung many times, and then dies from the reaction, it is likely that it was only the one sting that did it.

Your dog was what? 40 pounds? I wonder what the the number would be for a dog. Here is some info. re: Massive envenomation by Vespula in dogs: abstract (only) journal article: Journal of Emergency Veterinary Medicine, Lori S. Waddell DVM, Kenneth J. Drobatz DVM, June 1999 Volume 9 issue 2 pages 67-71. Check for it at Wiley Online Library.

Only time will help with the grief.

anon111389
Post 70

I was stung by a yellow jacket and was lucky enough to feel it in time to run away from what could have been a swarm situation.

Turns out I was a couple feet from an underground nest which contained thousands.By the way: Don't take care of this yourself! Call a professional beekeeper after you treat your sting.

First, get to Benadryl, just in case this is the day you find out your body is becoming allergic. Then get the stinger out if it's there and ice it ASAP. The pain is immense and so is the swelling (you can drug yourself all you want, narcotics included, and it won't help much). The only effective pain killer is ice and lots of it.

Yellow jacket stings are considered the most dangerous kind of sting a human can get. Even though you may not go into anaphylactic shock, you can still have reactions.

It is totally normal to instantly have diarrhea and extreme pain for two days. They are most actively aggressive towards humans at the end of summer and early fall. They become desperate for sugars.

If you get stung, run away! Not just to treat yourself, but you don't want the hormonal signal sent to the hive by the stinging bee to be received. The 'reinforcement' YJs don't even need to be in the hive to receive the signal to attack you.

As for long term side effects, I got stung between the fingers once when I was 30 and I had arthritic pain in my finger joints for three months after that. I have heard other stories from people that experienced this secondary pain, so you can expect that even though the situation on the outside of your skin is healed. You may have body aches in the area of the sting for a couple months -- the venom is that serious.

So in a way, all humans are allergic to YJs, just in different ways

anon110177
Post 69

Today i was leaving my house to go to work when a yellow jacket got stuck to me on my shirt and i got scared and got it off and killed it. Then i went to my car and some yellow jackets attacked me and went down my shirt and stung me and stung me on my finger. It hurt very bad. i put neosporin for pain and ice. I put mud on it but it didn't help. i think im going to be fine.

phx2hot4me
Post 68

I got stung by yellow jackets, in late afternoon yesterday. I go to my mountain cabin maybe two times per month to take care of the grounds. I've never seen bees or yellow jackets in that area before, and was not prepared at all for the attack.

Several of them got on me and bit me furiously and aggressively. I ran inside while covering my face and trying to shake them off; they stayed on me and continued the attack inside my house. I got really scarred, because they were everywhere, and kept biting me all over.

I have stings/bites on one finger, hands, arms, neck, back, next to one eye, behind one knee. One hand is extremely swollen still, and all bites are so itchy I could hardly sleep last night. I took Benadryl (like the firemen told me to do - I had called 911) every four hours, used cortisone cream, itchy stick, ammonia, aloe vera (leaf from my garden); however, nothing was working.

My son in-law (living out of state) told me today to make a paste with toothpaste and baking soda and apply it on all the bites to take out the poison. This has worked better than anything else I tried.

I've not been feeling well today, but went out shopping anyway - I felt faint inside the store, and went back home in a hurry.

The swelling is still there, and the summer Arizona heat makes it worse.

anon108119
Post 67

It's not safe to assume that if you weren't allergic the last time you got stung that you won't be now. Allergies come and go.

My son and I were looking for bugs in the back yard. I tried lifted a stepping stone, but it didn't want to come up. As I was walking away my son screamed and then we saw a bunch of them buzzing us. They stuck to our clothes. I was stung three times and he was stung once. The one on my scalp is killing me, but we don't seem to be having a serious reaction.

Scares me though. When my brother was a kid he was stung several times on his face when we were on vacation and he had to be rushed to the Dr. for a shot of adrenaline, I think. He couldn't breathe and everyone was scared to death.

His face swelled so much that even after several days, I told the kids in our neighborhood that he was my cousin and they believed me because he was still so unrecognizable.

He is not allergic to them anymore, at 50.

anon107881
Post 66

i was walking around outside today and as fast as I heard the buzz in my ear, a yellow jacket nailed me right in the cheek. That was 12 hours ago and it still hurts. It's more swollen now than it was then.

I instantly got a headache, jaw ache and ear ache from it. I'm just glad it stung me and not one of my kids. Mud did absolutely nothing for it and ice only seemed to numb everything but the sting area. I bought "stingEze" at the pharmacy and that too numbed everything but the sting.

anon107549
Post 65

I just got stung on the nostril by a yellow jacket. It hurt like hell and half my face was numb like I got a shot of novacaine from the dentist. My sinuses were a mess but I put ice on it and took some ibuprofen and it felt better a day later.

anon106229
Post 64

A week and a half ago I was in my front yard and got stung on my calf. My ankle swelled up so much to the degree that my sock left a half-inch indentation around my ankle. Also it was bright red and itched liked crazy for about three days.

Three days after that I was walking up to my front door and got stung on my ear. That was bright red, swollen and itchy. It looked like santa got mad at one of his elves and slapped him upside the head, not to mention I had just gotten a haircut and I keep my hair short so I kind of looked like frodo.

So here I am, less than a week after the ear sting and I got stung in my walkway on the same calf. Again itchy, bright red, and swollen. These darn yellow jackets are really starting to just plain annoy me. I'm minding my own business just walking along and here comes some angry little ol' bee who has nothing better to do than mind his own business.

I'm going to hang some traps I guess and keep stocked up on the benadryl. Anyhow that's my bee story. Hang tough, everyone.

anon105028
Post 63

My husband was mowing the yard yesterday and ran over a nest of yellow jackets at the base of a pine tree. He was stung four times very quickly and within 10 minutes was struggling to breathe and had collapsed on the driveway. He had never had a reaction like this before to bee stings of any kind.

When the paramedics arrived, they gave him an epi injection and oxygen immediately. After his bp dropped to 58 and two more epi injections and benadryl, he was taken to the hospital. By the time he reached the hospital, his bp and respirations were all back to normal. We were very lucky.

We will never be without epi-pens or benadryl. We never thought about the importance of these things because we have both been stung before and had no reaction worse than site swelling.

Be careful out there, and if you can get an epi-pen to have on hand, do it. I never want to feel helpless again while watching a loved one fight to breathe.

anon104678
Post 62

Thank you for this information and for affirming how painful this is! I was stung yesterday on my pinkie toe. The pain is immense, the throbbing almost unbearable- these colorful descriptions are accurate!

Elevating and icing my foot seems to help some, though the throbbing comes and goes. I also took a few benadryl and some pain relievers but I'm not sure how well they worked aside from knocking me out!

anon102236
Post 61

I work as a pest control tech in canada and I've done over 50 nests and got stung for the first time ever by a yj wasp today. one on my hand(by thumb) another on my arm. it was annoying but i forgot about it later on in the day.

anon101874
Post 60

I was stung once about a month ago, and it took a week for the discomfort to go away.

Yesterday I got stung six or seven times mowing a plush green lawn. I had no idea they nest there too. My right ankle and calf is swollen, my left leg, not so bad. I've been taking two Benadryl every four to five hours. It is more discomfort then anything else. The itchiness is very frustrating though.

anon101536
Post 59

I got one about an hour ago under my arm, but on the bicep. I was running down the court in the middle of a city league game and I felt this intense pain and it was a YJ stuck to my arm. I knocked it off and began applying pressure.

I came out of the game and applied tobacco from a black and mild cigar. I just showered and put more tobacco and alcohol on it with in a wrap. Feels better. Arm is big but I am better!

anon101203
Post 58

I got stung by a YJ yesterday in our truck as we were parking at our farm. I jumped out of the truck and onto my knees as the pain was so intense. It felt like I was being sliced by an exacto knife or razorblade.

I was stung on the left side of my arm, near my armpit which is super sensitive skin. I must say, it was like pain I have never felt before. It did throw me into a panic attack, but fortunately after I could calm down, I was fine except for the welt it left behind and extreme soreness. My arm is still sore today. They are nasty little buggers.

anon101130
Post 57

i got stung yesterday by a bee, and today it's still hurting and itchy. What does that mean?

anon99730
Post 56

I got stung a few hours ago mowing the yard by a small yellow and black ringed bee, on my left back side about my kidney area and on the outside on the bend part of knee. The pain is horrendously painful. I have put everything on it and nothing helps. About 2004 i had a pekingese that got stung multiple times by guinea wasps and she died. This is a pain like i have never felt before.The streaks are going down my leg. Should i be concerned?

anon99132
Post 55

Until about 90 minutes ago, I had only been stung once in my life. I was 13 and it had flown up my long sleeve and stung me on the arm. I experienced hives and wheezing, but never went to the hospital and I survived. However, as an adult, I had allergy testing and I tested allergic to bees and mixed vespites. I was treated over a period of time with desensitization shots.

Well, unfortunately, today I was able to test how well the shots worked. I was power washing my deck and apparently hit a nest under the deck. Later, I had just started to power wash the swing set, when one yellow jacket flew at my head, I swatted at it and ran, but it or another one stung me in my eyebrow. It happened quickly and I was able to sweep him away and get in to the house. I promptly took two Benadryl and applied Benadryl ointment to my eyebrow. It's swollen, but I have no hives or shortness of breath. I think I'll be fine, because it was about 90 minutes ago. The jury's still out but I think that the shots really helped. It's Sunday and I don't want to go to the E.R.

anon98893
Post 54

Husband got stung three times on back this afternoon. I gave him two Benadryl and rubbed Benadryl gel on the sting sites. He finished mowing (couple of hours) now he is asleep and his arm hurts. No swelling. He was stung as a child and is not allergic. Can you mix Benadryl and Tylenol (for the pain)?

anon97841
Post 53

got stung on my right hand yesterday and it hurt like hell. i immediately put ice on it but today it is swollen and hard to move my fingers.

anon97224
Post 52

i got stung on my right hand yesterday and it hurt like hell. i immediately put ice on it but today it is swollen and hard to move my fingers.

my neighbor said the country cure is to make a cup of tea and hold the hot teabag on the bite. after that, put honey on the bite. the honey will draw out the infection. the hand feels better, but i imagine the swelling will take another day or two.

anon97156
Post 51

I'm only nine and I was in the woods with my friend today when I stepped in the nest. I didn't see the devils but my friend did and she told me I had yellow spiders all over me.

We screamed and ran and while I was running I looked down and saw thousands of yellowjackets on me. My friend got help and now they're gone, though I do have about 11 stings or so. My friend got sent home and I immediately placed ice packs on the stings.

I have a swollen eye and lip, but I'm still alive. I have a headache, though. Is this from the stings?

anon96911
Post 50

My eight year old son just got stung by a yellow jacket on his upper eyelid, just above the lashes. His eye is pretty swollen, so I gave him ice to put on his eye, and gave him Benadryl.

I know he's not allergic as he was stung once before on his thumb when he was nine months old and was trying to eat one he found on the floor (it was alive, of course).

Has anyone else gotten stung on the eye? How long will the swelling last? What are the symptoms to be concerned about? Thanks!

anon94905
Post 49

I got stung twice about eight hours ago, one on each ankle. I was trimming hedges when I stepped on a nest in the ground. This is my first encounter with yellow jackets and it has been quite painful! I came inside and immediately applied ice packs and took some pain medicine. I went back outside thirty minutes later and continued working in another area of the yard but soon had to come back in.

Since then I have been applying ice packs and taking pain medicine. Not much swelling but the throbbing is horrendous! I checked out this website for tips because I'm wondering how I'll get any sleep tonight. My husband poured gas down the hole as soon as the yellow jackets settled down, so that is some consolation.

Now I am fully able to sympathize with anybody who has been stung by the little devils!

anon94882
Post 48

I stepped on a yellow jacket nest in my front yard on the last of June. I didn't know what had happened at the time, but it felt like someone had sprayed the calves of my legs with hot pepper shots. I ran into the house and found I had been stung at least four times on the back of my knee and calf and ankle.

I put various cortisone creams, vinegar, ammonia, etc. to ease the pain, but nothing was very effective. I also took two Benadryl then, and again that evening. The pain finally subsided in several days, but it is now July and I still have terrible itching and redness in the area of the stings and it is now like a band around my right ankle.

Like one other writer stated, the itching is like being infested with chiggers. It wakes me up at night and I have scratched myself to the point of making some bloody spots. I can deal with everything but this itching.

Can anyone suggest what to do to calm it down?

anon93481
Post 47

Two weeks ago I was stung on my right hand by a yellow jacket while mowing. I applied ice and took Benadryl. The following couple of days my hand remained quite swollen and uncomfortable (itchy primarily).

Yesterday, I was stung again while mowing only this time on my left hand between my fingers and on my inner right thigh. Yellow jackets latched on all over my pant leg as I ran screaming for my family to go inside to avoid the bees.

I tipped the closest rain barrel over my leg and the bees dispersed then I too ran inside. Had I not done this I think I would have had far more stings.

I used an instant bee sting reliever from our first aid kit, ice and Benadryl. While it stung I was able to get back outside a couple of hours later and finish mowing the yard and treat the bee hole with gasoline (the vapors make them suffocate and die overnight).

My hand and leg swelled yesterday but nothing like they have today. The itching and swelling far exceeds the pain. I am just grateful it wasn't worse!

anon91607
Post 45

I was stung by one mean yellow jacket but it could have been much worse since I inadvertently disturbed a small nest on our camper. I screamed in agony and ran into the house.

My first reaction was to stick it under running water and that's when I saw the hole the little devil left on the top of my hand close to my thumb. It hurt like hell and brought me to tears. My husband said he heard that if you put a raw onion on the wound it will help with the sting. I was willing to try anything to get the pain to stop so I tried it and it did seem to help a little but I can only stand the fumes and smell of a raw onion for so long, so I opted for an ice pack instead.

I wish I had gone to this site at the time it happened because I could have taken some Benadryl and probably saved myself from the next reaction I had. My hand was fine (other than the pain) when I went to bed that night but when I woke up the next morning my hand was twice its normal size and I could hardly move my fingers! Of course, it was Sunday and I avoid the E.R. at all costs, so I opted to go to the Walgreens Take Care Clinic.

The doctor there said I had quite a significant reaction and I should have taken Benadryl right after it happened and to always carry it with me from now on. Wonderful! Sounds like fun.

My husband found the nest and killed the rest of the flying demons but now I'm totally freaked out whenever something flying is near me. I hate yellow jackets!

anon91180
Post 44

I just got stung three times in a few seconds by yellow jackets. I was moving some trash and cardboard boxes (a favorite food source of theirs, it turns out) and out of nowhere...bam! Bam! Bam! I called a pest control company and was asked to describe them. Small, black and yellow rings, I said. I was told they are honey bees and are protected and that I would need to call another place for "bee removal".

After examining one I killed, I discovered it is in fact a yellow jacket. I flooded the area with hornet spray and am waiting for the results.

anon90911
Post 43

My wife and I were getting in the car this morning and I didn't spot the small nest yellow jackets had made between the front and back driver's side door.

I opened the door to empty out a water bottle and they attacked my right elbow and forearm in a flash. I didn't know what had happened. I felt pinpoint baseball bat impacts, yelled "ow," dropped a few expletives and my flight instinct kicked in.

I turned to see my wife still in the car and yelled for her to get out. She managed not to get stung at all.

I used Benadryl liquid gel on the stings immediately, followed by a tablet and then got on with my day. I have a few bruised looking spots but otherwise it was a harmless, though brutal, incident.

I recommend the topical Benadryl gel. I think that made all the difference between a rough morning and a rough couple of days.

anon90774
Post 42

My unit did a paintball session this morning. During the second scenario, I felt a horrible burning sensation on my left side of my stomach. I looked down and a yellow jacket was sitting on my shirt. I thought it was a bee and shook my shirt, but it did not budge.

I eventually got it off with a stick, but the sting site has been itching all day. I took a benadryl and applied dip to it to suck out the venom. It's actually more swollen and red.

I've never been stung by a yellow jacket. I was stung by a bee at age four, but I do not think I am allergic. I'll try to sleep it off, but if the pain still persists later, I am going to see a doctor.

anon90345
Post 41

Today I was sitting in the passenger seat of a van and somehow a yellow jacket flew in and went in my shirt and stung me on my side.

It hurt and I immediately killed it by squeezing my shirt. I thought it was a spider before I opened my shirt, lol.

It's red and a little swollen, but I put salt water and baking soda on it.

anon89991
Post 40

Yesterday, as I swept leaves off a wicker chair on the front porch, I inadvertently disturbed a yellow jacket nest underneath it. Angry bees swarmed around me ready to attack, but I was fast and escaped by running the few short steps inside the house, hastily dropping the broom on the way.

I felt lucky that only one stung me on a thigh, and having been stung by yellow jackets before, didn't think it hurt all that much. But the next day my thigh was red, swollen and sore, so I took a benadryl and applied anti-itch cream. Hopefully I'll feel better soon.

anon86113
Post 39

Tonight I was stung at least three times by two yellow jackets in my house. The first one went up my shirt and stung my stomach. That hurt really bad. Well, I thought so until I stepped on the second one. That one must have stung me more than once on my toe. My toe was twice its normal size. The pain is unbearable!

It has been almost four hours and the pain is still the same. I feel like someone is breaking my foot! I have my foot in an ice bucket, and it seems to ease the pain a little more than anything else I have tried!

anon84579
Post 38

Hello, Misery here too, and one handed also. Wow, these things do hurt! I called my family doc after waiting four hours, and he said to get a steroid shot if the swelling didn't stop. I don't want to go to the E.R. because it is a Sunday. I didn't read any posts that said swelling other than the sting site?

Mine is spreading still, four and a half hours later, my hand was stung, and the swelling and redness, all around-diameter of the hand, fingers, can't move, wrist won't bend, and it's moving up the arm, swelling along the radius. I can no longer move any part end of the extremity. I have never seen this reaction before.

The yellow jerk came out of nowhere when I was stung, and I swear it felt like a nail driven in to my hand! I lost my shirt, running and screaming too! I have been stung by bees and hornets, so why is this 10 times worse? Misery in SC.

anon82602
Post 37

I was closing a barn door and my hand was directly inserted into their nest. i was stung multiple times on the pointer finger. It is swollen, red and hurts a lot. I'm only 13 and am wondering whether or not to go to the doctors. help?

anon77601
Post 36

I just now got stung by a yellow jacket after trying to lay down after a nice night of drinking some brewskies. It stabbed me in the back of the neck with it's venom and I quickly bashed it to death with my beer bottle.

The last time I was stung was by a bee 13 years ago and I had a very allergic reaction. I was attempting to blow up a bee hive in a wall made up of railroad ties with a 1x4 with a row of firecrackers attached with bubble gum. I lit the firecrackers and stuck them in the bee hive hole and was extremely excited to see over 50 dead bees come out of the hole when I pulled my stick out.

However, I felt the wrath now placed on the backside of my neck and it leads me to regret that adolescent moment in my life. I quickly looked up yellow jacket stings and it brought me to this site hoping for a remedy. I could possibly put some ice on it right now but instead I'm typing this insignificant unhelpful story on this website.

From what I'm reading, at the least I have a great deal of itching to look forward to. Awesome.

anon76724
Post 35

My nine month old pomeranian was stung by a yellow jacket and died within 10 minutes of the sting. I am devastated!

anon72521
Post 34

I just got stung by a bee on the left side of my neck. I do not know if I am allergic. Does anybody know the symptoms? Besides not being able to breathe.

anon61457
Post 32

I was bringing in some firewood and as I was putting some wood into the wood stove, I felt something burning. At first I thought it was a cinder, but then I saw the yellow jacket, lying almost still, obviously still kind of dormant from New York's chilly winter.

The critter stung me three times on the palm of my hand, opposite my thumb. The area is red and swollen and my upper arm aches from the sting. From now on, I'm wearing gloves when bringing in the wood.

anon57800
Post 31

I just got stung on the right side of my back. I was sitting on the couch talking to my mom when I felt some pain. I jumped up and started screaming and the ice is not doing much for the pain. Gosh I hope this gets better.

anon52402
Post 30

I had one of these sting me yesterday right through my work glove, and it was not even provoked in any way. It is the middle of November in Michigan, these things should be gone by now. Gosh, that still itches.

anon51727
Post 29

I got stung about seven hours ago. i have about 10-12 bites and most of them have just about gone away. i know the baking soda works but i got stung right on the palm and it hurts a lot. I plan on killing the little buggers in a few weeks. I now know not to stand directly on top of the nest when spraying them. hopefully I'll kill them since the nest is probably huge since i can't tell how far back it goes in the ground but I'd say it's probably two feet high and 3 1/2-4 feet wide. i also have to say when killing them to wear jeans and shoes since they only got me through my T-shirt and were stuck on my jeans.

anon51041
Post 28

I was stung two days ago on my hand and it's still itchy and red. Yellow jackets are the only thing that has ever stung me on about 5 separate occasions. Hope it goes away soon.

anon49496
Post 26

Thanks so much for your site. Misery loves company. The best I can figure is that a yellow jacket(?) stung the bottome of my big toe tonight while I was cooking dinner. I stepped on it. I had such pain. I used an old remedy - cut a potato in half and scrape some of the white meat out. Apply as a poultice to the sting area. It draws the venom out.

It's been hours and I'm still hurting, not as bad but still. I even have mild cramping in the affected foot.

I'm off to take some pain reliever! :)

anon49348
Post 25

I'm 71 and was stung by a yellow jacket this morning. Ouch! It's autumn here, and the attack was non-provoked by an unnoticed yellow jacket who just landed casually on my arm! I was stung several times as a kid when picking berries, and my mom used ammonia to relieve the burning and pain. It sure did *not* work today! I was stung about three times by the same "jacket" and was worried since I take Humira injections for severe Rheumatoid Arthritis which lowers my immune system. I took a Benadryl which totally "zonked me out", but nothing really relieved the pain, swelling, redness and itching. It's weird as the pain comes and goes as does the itching and burning. I found this site most helpful and hope my stings clear up soon as I live by myself in a remote area and do not drive.

anon48282
Post 24

My husband and I have a vendor booth at a city market on the weekends -- lots of food, and with it many yellow jackets. Generally, we just ignore them and they seem to not bother us, but yesterday one was hidden on a sweater we were selling and stung a customer on the palm. She was a doctor, and said she was fine, thank God. Later, I reached for my juice drink without looking and was stung on my middle finger! It's still swollen and itches. The write-up says these bees get more aggressive as the weather turns cooler and the days shorter, and they do! I'm going to take their presence around us more seriously. My husband left a piece of chicken on a table and in no time there were 7-8 yellow jackets feeding on it. I normally would shoo them away, but I'm not going to be careless about that any more. Also, now knowing they can carry bacteria means any food I see them crawling over goes directly into the trash.

anon48110
Post 23

I brush hogged some blackberries and hit a nest. I jumped and ran, but got about a dozen bites. I keep honeybees, so I know i don't react well to stings, but this was extreme. my hands and feet started itching, then my tongue started swelling. The bottomd of my feet were swelling. I started swigging liquid benadryl and taking tablets. Over the course of the day, I took close to 400MG of benadryl. By evening, the systemic symptoms were gone except for some hives. I should have gone to the Doc, but it's a long haul into town. I have epi-pens, but that's not a substitute for emergency care! I got lucky.

anon47810
Post 22

I mowed over a hole in the ground that was apparently a yellow jacket nest. By the time it was over I was hit 20 times. I have never known such pain and I've given birth three times! I took benedryl and pain meds immediately. Washed the sites with warm soapy water. Then I tried, vinegar, ammonia, after-bite, tobacco/toothpaste mixture, meat tenderizer paste. Nothing helped. Only time and constant ice packs. I had four stings that burned for 20 hours before easing up. It felt like a constant sting. It's the worst thing ever that's for sure!

anon47019
Post 21

I was bush hogging our hill this afternoon when I hit a nest of them little creeps. I was seat belted in and they attacked my face. I tried to wipe them off but they swarmed all over me. I couldn't get my seat belt released without letting them have their way with me and the tractor wouldn't go fast enough to drive off. So I just concentrated on the seat belt to get free. They stung me over 200 times. I can't tell where a single sting is because it hurts as an area. My whole face and head is the worst. They won the battle with a sneak attack but I will nuke them tomorrow. I will burn their homes and the whole damn hill if I have to.

anon46084
Post 20

I got stung twice today while moving which really sucked because all the things i could have used were already packed away in the truck. Then i got to the new house (new to me at least) and found that i had nothing to treat it with, so decided to just deal with it, then went to open window in my bedroom and almost lost a finger when the outer part of the window dropped down instead of staying in place. I now believe that yellow jackets are bad luck. Thanks for the tips for treatment. now I'll know what to keep around just in case.

anon45693
Post 19

I don't feel so girly now for running away and screaming. I was weed eating and lit up a nest at the base of a tree. At first I thought the weed eater was kicking up rocks or something but the wasps bit and stayed stuck to my hand and arm. Then I heard the "buzz" as a swarm came after me. I ditched the weed eater as fast as I could but the strap caught my glasses and they flew off. I'm running blindly through the yard trying to get away and hollering. It's kind of funny now but at the time I was freaking out. My dog was with me. Luckily he didn't attract the yellow jackets' attention. It was less than 24 hours ago. I'm going to the store today to buy ammonia, baking soda and meat tenderizer -- and 10 cans of wasp killer. The itch sucks.

anon45402
Post 18

Well I was out in the yard mowing the lawn, then came into the garage to grab my soda can for lunch. I proceeded to make my lunch and watch some Tv while I ate it. I took a drink of my soda and felt something in the liquid as I began drinking it. I immediately stopped and felt an excruciating pinch on the inside of my lip. I then frantically dropped my soda can all over the floor in an attempt to grab the bee out of my mouth. As I was pulling the bee I could feel it grasping onto my lip. The only thing I can figure is that it was biting my upper lip and not letting go. I then went to the medicine cabinet and swabbed Benadryl paste on the inside of my lip to reduce the swelling. I also took two Benadryl pills to help any bit they could. My bottom lip where I was stung immediately swelled to the size of Bubba's on Forrest Gump. My upper lip where I believe I was bit began bleeding and needed to be dabbed every now and then. Never again will I take cans outside to drink.

anon44467
Post 16

My 8 year old son was stung in the woods near our vacation home over the weekend. He knocked over a dead tree in the late afternoon and they attacked him. The little suckers were attached to his shirt stinging and stinging. I ripped his shirt off of him and ran him into the house. In the house I had to rip the remaining couple of them off of his socks as they were still in sting mode. My first reaction was to give him ice to put on the sting sites; he cried and said that made it hurt much worse. Quick thinking prompted me to pull out the first aid kit and the book. It said to place him in a cool bath with baking soda. I used much more baking soda than suggested (I used a 1/2 a small box to about 4 inches of water). He stayed in there for about 1/2 hour as I poured the water from the tub onto the exposed stings. We reacted quickly so he got six stings (his first bee stings). I felt so bad because he was in so much pain. After bathing him, I made a baking soda paste and applied that to the swollen sting sites, and gave him ibuprofen and benadryl. Within an hour he was feeling *much* better. By the morning the swollen sting sites were gone and we couldn't even find the sting sites. He never complained of any itching. maybe it was the baking soda bath?

anon44276
Post 15

what can i do for the pain?

anon43724
Post 14

I was mowing yesterday and ran over a quarter sized hole in the ground. As I backed away I felt a few pricks in the back of my calves, looked down and saw five on left and two on my right. I swatted and ran around the back of the house. By the time I sat down on the picnic table I counted 12 on the left and three on the right and they were already on fire. Iced and took benedryl. 24 hours later, they are still swollen and itchy. Every so often I get a twitch in my left calf. Hurts to put socks on! Ridiculous!

anon43539
Post 13

Thank you, your article has been very helpful, I was in my yard four days ago and was "swarmed" by yellow jackets. I had no idea. It looks like 30-40 stings! How these vicious little monsters can get inside of snug workout attire is beyond me. Having weathered many nasty stings over the years (wasps, hornets, bumblebees, scorpions, 2 brown recluse bites and a fire ant attack), I was not prepared for this. I can handle the pain of bugs, it's a part of life if you go outside. Four days later the humiliation of the "yellow jacket herky jerky dance" and frantically undressing in public while appearing possessed is beginning to exceed the physical pain. After making it inside and pulling the rest of them out of my hair, I looked you up to see what best I could do for myself. I knew there was no allergy, but the volume of venom with my small size was a concern. I expected pain as with most stings, that should diminish in a few hours and "be gone" tomorrow I thought. Your article basically told me to seek medical help immediately. I called a friend (I was afraid to drive) and my doctor saw me right away. By then (about an hour) my blood pressure was erratic, and I was freezing in 90-plus degree weather and was having severe leg cramps. I never had trouble breathing, but things got blurry. They gave me 3 different shots, and made me stay at their office for two hours "just in case" as I really didn't want to go to the hospital (who does if it can be avoided?) I've been taking large doses of ibuprofen and benadryl, and something else for swelling/pain, but nothing has dulled it at the sites of these stings. Then the itching began. Nothing works for that, and it feels like chiggers have burrowed down to my bones and exploded. The intense pain/itching is deep beneath the skin. It's no good to scratch --you can't get to it. And if I do go to sleep despite most stings being on my back and I can't reach them (I ran, they chased), in a few minutes I wake up in agony with "charley horses" from heck in both legs because there are a dozen or so stings on each leg behind the knees. I remember thinking as this happened "this is a stupid way to die" and "I wonder if my neighbors like the way I undress in my yard like a crippled stripper that can run like an olympic sprinter?" Now that I am healing, I will laugh, but this was truly no joke. I did nothing to antagonize them. They came out of the ground like a cloud about fiver feet away, surrounded and attacked me in less than a moment. This is dangerous. Be aware, be careful. It would be a stupid way to die.

anon43373
Post 12

Just had the pleasure of my first yellow jacket stings -- three stings to the head. Happened at the garden center at a building supply store. As I waspicking up a bag of bark mulch, I opened a nest, and they all came directly for my head with amazing speed. I ran like a scared school girl and took my shirt off and managed to limit the damage to three stings. It could have easily been 20 if the shirt stayed on.

It's been about five hours. The pain is still the same as when the stings occurred.

anon43238
Post 11

I was stung by one lousy yellow jacket and went into anaphylactic shock within two minutes! I was in my back yard by myself moving sticks from one large pile to another one - to prep for a chipper that I rented for the next day. I was intending to make some mulch for my garden.

Anyway, I reached into a pile of sticks that was sitting there for a few weeks and was met by an angry one -- he got me in the only hole that I had in my glove -- and it was the size of a nickel. Just my luck.

First came the hot flashes, then the black fuzzy cloud, then the wheezing, shortness of breath and then my eyes rolled to the back of my head and I passed out on my neighbor's porch. Luckily he found me and called 911!

My blood pressure dropped and my heart rate slowed down to about 70 beats per minute. I've only been stung two times in the last 30 years - the first time was last year and the second time this year. I've learned that the first one is called the sensitizing sting and it's the second one that involves the total body reaction - if you're allergic --which apparently I am. I always knew that I was allergic to penicillin, but never knew about bees. Now I know. It was horrible - I was sent to the hospital in an ambulance.

Lastly, if all of that wasn't enough, the bee carried bacteria so I had to back back to the doctor three days later to get an antibiotic (not penicillin) to clear up an infection on my finger.

anon42710
Post 10

I was stung 18 times. the pain was bad but the itching is terrible second day and nothing is helping. benadryl itch pen tablets -- nothing. Keep an eye on where you are walking and don't step in a hole then turn to see what it is. just run! Run fast!

anon42630
Post 9

misery loves company. i found this site searching for a remedy for at least 8 yellow jacket stings, one on my lower eyelid, 2 on my belly and the rest on my lower legs. i mowed over a ground nest and got swarmed. thank God i'm not allergic, but these suckers hurt like crazy! i got stung in the leg a week ago and it itched all week - can't imagine what this is gonna feel like! i will try the posted remedies. thanks!

anon42213
Post 8

Great article! I was stung three times by two different yellow jackets tonight. The pain was terrible! I've been stung by bees, red wasps and one hornet, but the yellow jacket hurt much worse than any of the others. The only one I can remember coming close to this pain was the hornet. It's been five hours now and the pain is just about the same as when it happened. I've never been allergic before, but within 15 minutes of the sting, I noticed severe itching, hundreds of small "hive-looking" bumps and swelling that extended to the top of my leg (sting was on the back of thigh). About 10 minutes after that, I noticed my thigh muscle cramping and it was difficult to walk. Never any breathing problems, but my heart was racing for an hour or so. Popped two Benadryl within 10 minutes after it happened. Maybe that helped. But heck, I have a high pain tolerance, but this really hurts. Three stings within 3 or 4 inches of each other; can't even lie on my left side because of pressure on my left leg.

Just horrible -- worst sting I've ever felt.

anon42177
Post 7

i got stung this afternoon by a yellow jacket who had perched on the seat back of my car. i leaned back and it got me on the back of my arm in the fleshy part near the shoulder. the pain is immense and it became extremely swollen. i have taken two benedryl pills since and the pain is still there and throbbing like i got hit with a bat and stabbed. the bee flew off. lucky guy. i'm just waiting for the itching to start. my mom lost a pomeranian to a yellow jacket sting. they are awful.

anon42084
Post 6

I got stung a few weeks ago - it was far more painful than any bee sting I have experienced and the pain lasted a couple of days (decreasing significantly after a few hours). Itching, irritation, redness and slight swelling continued for a week. I pulled the stinger out, which may have increased the venom that was injected. Nasty suckers.

anon41965
Post 5

Excellent information; best I've found so far! There seems to be no mention of the severe itching, which has gone on for three days now, and my arm too looks like Popeye's. This attack was also unprovoked. Because it occurred at a barbecue, did that atmosphere promote a feeding frenzy?

How long can I expect these symptoms to last?

There was a tiny bit of pus at the bite site which appeared yesterday. Is this cause for concern?

I am most sympathetic to the one who lost their Shelty. I had a small Shih Tzu that was stung by a yellow jacket. Fortunately I was right there, popped a Benedryl (25 mgs.) into his mouth, and within an hour he was getting his energy back.

The town I live in is named Twisp, which means Yellow Jacket in American Indian. The day before the sting (which felt more like a bite, hurt much more than any other sting I have had)I thought I had made peace with the angry critters; now I am as angry at them as they seem to be with me.

anon41387
Post 4

Your write-up was the easiest and most comprehensive site I found after being bitten multiple times by yellow jackets. Thanks

anon40809
Post 3

I was stung 3 times behind the knee. The bee went into my pants! I took a benadryl and put an ice pack on the stings. It is the next day and it still hurts and itches really bad. I have never been stung by one before. How long will it take the bite and symptoms to go away?

anon40468
Post 2

I just lost my 2 1/2 year old sheltie that weighed 15 pounds. She got into a yellow jacket nest and several bees stung her. at least one our two got into her mouth and at least one on her ear. We took her to the Vet and he gave her a shot and some pills to take for a couple of days. She seemedto eat and drink OK but seemed not as peppy. Then during the night five days later she passed away. She had bowel movements in the house and some places where she was gagging. My question is could she have died from the bee stings or if she swallowed some bees could have caused her death? Before the stings she was a very active gal. I also think she had some blood on the bed where we found her. She seemed to be good when we went to bed and did not hear her having any problem. I blame myself for her death.

origami
Post 1

I got bit by a yellow jacket right in the center of the forearm. I was at a farmer's market and was just walking between the booths... I did not provoke it in any way.

Although the sting hurt, I don't remember it being overwhelmingly painful. The problem was, that as time passed, my entire forearm and hand became tremendously swollen. After a few hours that arm looked like Popeye's arm! It's funny to think about now, but it was terribly frustrating at the time.

My doctor gave me a sling to keep the arm raised and immobilized.

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