Is it a Sting or a Bite?

Most people do not properly identify between an insect bite and sting. They simply say I have been stung or bitten. So what is the difference? The biggest difference is that a bite is from the mouth and a sting is from a sharp organ that is attached to the rear of the abdomen. That being said both a bite and a sting can be venomous or non venomous.

To further identify the difference; most stinging insects are in the form of Wasps, Bees, Hornets, Yellow Jackets and Fire Ants. Some Centipedes and Scorpions also use stingers. Stings most often cause pain, swelling, redness and itching as the venom dissipates. Bites are often associated with Spiders, Mosquitoes, Ticks, Bed Bugs, Chiggers, Fleas, Mites and in rare cases Cockroaches. Bites cause the insect saliva to enter your body that can produce rash and itching; and in more serious cases it can introduce disease such as Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, Malaria, Chagas disease and flesh eating bacteria in wounds.

An insect stinger is a very small organ that can deliver a powerful punch. Although most stinging insect females carry the venomous stinger, many males do not, such as the Wasp and Carpenter bee. These males will bluff and even act aggressive, but they cannot sting you. The female stinger however is one to be avoided, with two key ingredients being venom. An insect stinger is a built in defense system that helps them to survive other predators. The problem is that they live in close proximity to us and can consider us invaders. Thus the stinger is only used when under threat, or we have gotten too close. Once we have breached that boundary of posing a threat, the insect will go into a protective pose and attack. The insect will land on you with a leading tail and stinger ready. Once the stinger has been inserted into your skin, the two venom glands excrete the fluid. Each venom gland produces a different type of compound to be most effective. One gland secretes a poison that affects the nervous system in order to send signals to the brain that there is an intense pain. The second gland secretes a form of acid that actually slows the flow of blood. That is the reason that a wasp sting is extremely painful for the first few minutes. The painful poison is allowed to stay in the slowed blood stream at point of entry, until it can be diluted naturally and carried away. So, we find ourselves screaming in pain and rubbing the sting area for a few minutes until the blood can get to flowing again in order to dissipate the pain inflicting poison.

There is a common belief that all stingers are left in the skin and need to be removed; that the bee or wasp stings once, lose their stinger and dies. There are species of Honey bees that do have a barbed stinger that will embed in the skin. These Honey bees do in fact lose their stinger and die within minutes. However most all other Wasps, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Fire Ants and Bees have smooth stingers, and like a needle can be used to sting, pull out smoothly and used again. They can sting multiple times in one attack, which make them especially dangerous to those that have allergic reactions.

So, as with any insect that can bite or sting, you need to avoid any nesting areas. Then take appropriate measures to remove the threat. To keep your home safe from stinging insects; make sure to call your Nashville Pest Control Family at Certified Pest Control. We will locate nesting sites, identify the pest and define the proper treatment program to control your issues.

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