Bees, wasps, and mosquitoes – oh my!

Before we know it, the dog days of summer will turn cooler and shorter. But that doesn't mean you can forget about protecting yourself from pesky insects.

Bug bites from insects — bees, wasps, flies, ticks and mosquitoes — generally cause temporary discomfort and pain. However, they can sometimes even be deadly. Prevent and prepare for bites from insects.

Bee and wasp stings

On average, 53 people die from bee or wasp stings each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bees typically leave behind a stinger attached to a venom sac. Wasps do not leave stingers behind and are capable of stinging more than once.

If a person is stung by a bee, follow these procedures:

  • Remove the stinger and venom sac quickly. Take a credit card or driver's license and remove the stinger with a scrapping motion away from the direction the stinger is stuck in the skin. Do not pinch or use tweezers to remove the stinger and sac as this could cause the release of more venom.

  • Wash the area carefully and thoroughly with soap and water.

  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth for several minutes.

Determine if the victim has any known allergies that may be triggered. Regardless of any known allergies, look for the following symptoms of a severe or allergic reaction whenever someone is stung, and seek medical attention immediately should any of these symptoms occur:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Rapid heart beat

  • Swelling of lips or throat

  • Unusual red and irritated skin

  • Severe cramps or muscle spasms

  • Dizziness, confusion or fever

Prevent bee stings by looking for and safely addressing any visible hives near areas where people gather. If this is not possible, considering using signage to alert campers to the increased presence of bees or wasps.

Mosquito and tick bites

Mosquitos can carry mosquito-borne viruses such as West Nile or Zika. In some cases, viruses can cause swelling of the brain and lead to a severe headache, high fever, confusion, weakness and even death. In other cases, symptoms may go unnoticed but may still be severe

Tick bites can put people at risk for contracting Lyme disease, a bacterial illness that can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart and nervous system.

It's difficult to avoid mosquitos and ticks, but following these tips can help prevent irritating mosquito bites or exposures to ticks.

  • Use a quality insect repellent that contains DEET and is effective for several hours.

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats.

  • When in tall grass or heavy brush areas, tuck pant legs into your socks to reduce the chance of ticks getting onto the skin.

  • Avoid perfume or scented oils and lotions.

  • Remove or avoid stagnant and standing water.

Anti-itch creams or antihistamines are also handy to have on hand as they can help ease discomfort, swelling, and itching.

We’re here to help! For additional questions, contact Church Mutual Insurance Company’s Risk Control Central.

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Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)
P.O. Box 357 | 3000 Schuster Lane | Merrill, WI 54452-0357
Telephone (800) 554-2642 or (715) 536-5577

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Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.