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Name: Joe M.
Status: student
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 7/28/2003


Question:
Interior Alaska: My coworker went into her greenhouse and was swarmed by bees. Best I can figure we have HYMENOPTERA: VESPIDAE, Vepula species (Yellow Jackets). Today she walked into her greenhouse and was attacked by a swarm of these bees and was strung several times. What can we do for her (50 years old) stings? Why did they swarm in her greenhouse, why did they attack her? It was a cool, rainy night. But she says that she waters her plants often and never sees bees in there. And she wants to know if the stinger stays in. we looked and there are several dark marks on her skin.


Replies:
In my experience yellow jackets are rarely aggressive after dark, otherwise you have encountered a very common situation. The stinger does not stay in the skin, which means that unlike honey bees, each individual can sting more than once. Commercial sting kill swabs, baking soda and other sting relief products are usually effective, stings are painful but not otherwise dangerous except for people with allergic reactions or in the rare instance of dozens or hundreds of stings at once. See this web site on this group of insects in Alaska for details:

http://ipmofalaska.homestead.com/files/yellowjackets.html

I apologize for the late reply, which will be too late for dealing with these stings, but may help in the future.

J. Elliott


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