Danger to Humans & First Aid

Paper wasps can deliver painful stings, but are not as aggressive as European Wasps. They normally only attack humans if their nest is disturbed. The Mud-dauber Wasp can deliver painful stings, but attacks are rare. European Wasps are more aggressive than bees and will attack when their nests are disturbed. Unlike bees, wasps can sting more than once, and do not die after stinging. The sting causes a burning pain and swelling. If a person is stung multiple times, a more severe systemic reaction may occur.

In some individuals, wasp, bee and ant stings can cause an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), but this is relatively uncommon. Effective treatment is available, which involves known bee/ant/wasp sting allergy sufferers carrying a special kit when outdoors. Immunotherapy or desensitisation therapy is also available, and can reduce the severity of the allergy. Seven deaths over a twenty-year period attributed to wasp stings have been recorded in Australia, mainly among known allergy sufferers who were not carrying their preventative medicine with them.

A cold pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of a more severe reaction or the sting victim is known to be allergic to wasp and bee venom, medical attention should be sought immediately.