Yellow jackets hurt

Stepped onto my stoop and felt a burning stab on my right leg near my knee.

I jump and swear, then look down and see a yellow jacket flying away. That’s right, run you little… oh shit it’s turning! I’m not too ashamed to admit that I ran like the gates of hell opened behind me.

Anyway, this is the first sting I have had in a long time. Being bored, I decided to make note of how it felt and how long it lasts.

Pain wise, I’d say a solid 8 on the 1 to 10 scale. The immediate area swelled only a little, but a good 2 inch area turned red and hot. The pain is sharp and radiating. Really, just a very annoying pain, and I’m on edge thinking I feel little prickly legs on me now and then.

4 hours later and the pain is a solid 2 to 3, but with that radiating feeling coming on now and then and sending it to a 6. The swelling and the heat are both gone. But damn that radiating pain!

Next yellow jacket I see is going to get squashed.

I live in Critter Country. The first summer after we moved here, I got stung on three occasions, on really inconvenient body parts (bee sting on upper thigh, red wasp on the bottom of my foot, and 3 yellow jackets on my right palm.) I keep at least 2 cans of wasp spray on the porch now, because a yellow jacket calls for unleashing an entire can. Bastards.

(My mother is deathly allergic, and too stubborn to keep her EpiPen handy. So I don’t think I’m over-reacting when I attack with extreme prejudice. Plus, 3 stings on the same hand? Bastards!)

A few years ago I was stung multiple times by Africanized honeybees. The stings were not all that painful, but… OMG, the itching! I have never itched that badly in all my life - for at least a week, I had to refrain from scratching my skin raw.

Ow ow ow. This summer I got my first sting in nearly 25 years. It was just a wild honeybee, and that was bad enough. The sting was on the first joint of my left pointer finger. The swelling got worse and worse for 48 hours, which is apparently par for the course, so be prepared. If I were you I’d take Benadryl tonight.

ETA: beowulff’s post reminds me that I got an itchy rash on that hand, too. Weeeeeeird.

Last summer, I stepped into yellow jacket nests two different times in 2 different parts of my yard. The first time, several of the little bastards flew up under my shirt and stung my delicate torso!! I went running for the garage, tearing my shirt off! I think I sustained 8 or 9 stings on arms, legs, and trunk.

I suspect they may have relocated to the second location where I got stung on my leg, but I moved lots faster, and was only stung twice. That time, we went out and got a can of wasp spray, half of which went down that hole. And that was the end of that.

Nasty little bastards!!


I don’t think I could leave my house after that.

4.5 hours later and my ONE sting still throbs. Can’t imagine multiple.

Apparently. when I was about 7, I walked into a wasp (yellow-jackets) nest and was stung multiple times. I remember nothing.

The last time I was stung by a wasp was some years ago – I was on a sun-bed, got me between my navel and my important bits.

Anyway, I know pain perception is hardly an absolute, and that different people can have wildly different reactions to a sting, but 8 out of 10? That’s either a bad reaction or you have been blessed with a pain-free life.

Next time you get stung, immediately put some dampened baking soda on the spot. It will allay much of the pain.

You have my sympathies. Stings are so unpleasant.

Where I live in the country, near lots of water, it’s usually a matter of not if but when I’m going to get stung. I’ve twice stupidly stood on wasps’ nests in the ground and twice gotten 9-10 stings on my legs for not figuring it out quicker. I consider it a good year if I only get one sting. If I make it through this year sting-free, then I’ll have gone 3 years without one. A new record! At this time of year, I keep a very sharp eye where I’m walking and where I’m mowing. The little misery donors get a lot more aggressive as they prepare for winter.

Thanks for reminding me it’s time to call my pest control guy. He comes and sprays all the buildings and kills whatever nests I’ve located. Works pretty well for keeping the populations under control. I don’t think I could live here if I didn’t do this annually.

Benadryl is your friend. The baking soda paste never did much for me, I’m afraid. And yes, the stings do hurt quite a lot… but the itching is worse and lasts for much too long.

Hope you heal quickly and avoid any further encounters!

I punctured my calf once and had muscle tissue poke out. That was a 9

Maybe the sting was more a 6.

I’m terrible at ranking pain.

Schmidt sting pain index, per wiki. Which, amusingly, mentions the Straight Dope in the article.

Oh, I was going off my nonlinear 1 to 10 pain index.

(stepping on a lego at 3am is a 9.7)

If you’re wedded to the Zero to Ten pain scale: I tell my patients that Zero is imperceptible, and Ten is so bad you’re ripping the skin and flesh off your own arms with your teeth to distract yourself from it.

And often my patient, who is sitting there quietly, conversing normally, not grimacing or sweating, will reply “It’s currently a Ten.” Or even “Eleven”.

I say “A 10 is so bad you pass out”. The calm and conscious patient still says “it’s a 12”.

Obligatory xkcd link.

Yellow Jackets are ground nesters. Imagine my fun the time I ran my lawn mower over one of their nests in my back yard.

On the bright side, I *may *have informally beaten the record for the 100 yard dash.

Must be our lucky day. Got stung by a bee this morning while trimming the flowering herbs on my deck. Didn’t see the little sucker when I grabbed the mint. Next thing I felt was needle piercing the fleshy part at the base of my thumb. Little bastard got me good. Now it’s all red, swollen and achy.

As a southern boy growing up in the country and playing in the woods all summer, I have had my share of run ins with yellow jackets. Two times stand out:

  1. A swarm flew up flew up my right pants leg (had dressed to go to church already). I was running and shucking pants at the same time. My mom counted 20+ stings from the knee down.
  2. Several got caught in my hair and delivered about a dozen stings all over my scalp. I was at my grandparents when it happened and Maw Maw applied wet baking soda to my entire head. It wasn’t pretty , but it did help with the pain. I’m glad she didn’t use her other go-to for stings - wet tobacco compress.

The most memorable quote from either was when my grandmother said, as she was slathering on baking soda and saw what must have been the site of several consecutive stings, “My goodness, it looks like that one stung ya and then crawled in the hole!”. Yellow jacket stings are painful!

In the fall they get lethargic. I took this opportunity to capture a few and put them in the pocket of a guy’s street clothes in the changing room. He puts his pants on and gets a couple of stings, rips his pants off and figures they must have been building a nest in there. Yeah, that must be it!

We were brutal back in the day.

Me: 10 years old and riding my 3.5 HP mini-bike through the woods.

Front wheel goes in hole, stopping me suddenly. Turns out hole is a yellowjackets nest.

I was stung over 60 times and my parents took me to the emergency room. I looked like a big pale white pin cushion with dozens and dozens of swollen red stings.

About a month later, i was bitten by a copperhead snake. I swear, the yellowjacket stings were worse.

That was not a good summer.