New Berlin, WI (PRWEB) September 05, 2013
Stinging insects, such as wasps and bees, reach their largest numbers during the late summer and early fall. When winter begins, populations start to shrink significantly as cold temperatures impair their natural functions, damage many of their nests and force the remaining insects into hibernation until spring. As global temperatures rise, warmer winters are becoming more common which has led to a larger number of stinging insects surviving into the next season and also drifting to previously less hospitable regions.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) recently noted that the number of Americans with a stinging insect allergy has grown to over 5 percent of the population. Residents of Alaska are also encountering more insect activity in recent years, including in Fairbanks, which reported its first stinging insect-related death in 2006.
In the Southeastern US and other regions with mild winters, insect nests can survive the frost and continue growing into the next season. This behavior has been observed in yellow jackets, a subspecies of wasps, which typically forms nests about the size of a soccer ball. These nests are maintained by approximately 3,000 workers. In cold winters, all the wasps except for the young queens would die and the nest itself would decompose and decay. With warmer weather, however, yellow jackets can survive into spring and form nests that feature over 100,000 worker wasps and multiple queens.
As a higher prevalence of stinging insects becomes more common, control methods and measures for avoiding insect stings are also growing in necessity. Allergic sensitivity to insect stings can be discovered through testing, but this type of allergy can also develop without a previous history of sensitivity. Severe allergic reactions to stings can result in hives, dizziness, shortness of breath, swelling around the face and, in rare cases, anaphylactic shock and death.
Normal and localized reactions involve swelling and pain in the area around the sting and can affect an entire limb, though the swelling typically subsides in a few days with no lingering effects.
To limit your risk of an insect sting when working or enjoying the outdoors:
Bees and wasps help facilitate pollination, provide honey and control the population of other insects. However, when they build their nests near homes, they present a threat to the inhabitants, and professional pest control experts should be contacted to deal with the problem.