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In July 2010 Martin, the owner and senior technician of The Suffolk Pest Control Company Ltd was stung by a wasp whilst treating a nest in Newmarket. Inspite of wearing the usual protective equipment a wasp managed to find its way into his glove and stung him on top of his hand.
Martin has been stung countless times in the past and only ever showed localised swelling and some minor irritation. On this occasion things would turn out differently. ‘Immediately I didn’t feel too good, but I really began to feel the venom about five minutes after being stung’. With nothing pressing to do for the rest of the day he decided to get home to take some histamine.
About half way home he pulled his van over. ‘My crotch was itchy, then my head. I looked down and my arm was covered in what looked like a nettle rash, both my arms. I lifted up my pink shirt and realised my entire body was covered in this rash’. Feeling comfortable to drive Martin pulled out but had decided to head to A&E at West Suffolk Hospital as a precaution.
By the time he had parked outside the hospital his condition had worsened. ‘I was feeling really strange by the time I walked up the stairs to the hospital. My throat was beginning to swell and my breathing was becoming laboured’. On entering A&E his condition was immediately noticed and moments later he slumped down into a wheel chair and was rushed through to the care of a doctor in the resuscitation bay, all within sixty seconds of entering the building.
‘I was given an oxygen mask then intravenous steroids and histamines, my blood pressure was fluctuating and it felt all very surreal’. The reality is that Martin is a healthy young-ish man and was fortunate enough to get to a medical centre before anything serious occurred. ‘It was a wake-up call. Wasps, hornets and bees – they need to be respected, you really have no idea how you are going to react to your next sting’. After two hours Martin left the resuscitation bay after his blood pressure returned to normal. ‘it was really odd, one minute I am feeling as if I am about to pass-out with my body covered in hives, then a couple of hours later I looked and felt fine’.
Martin is now on a wasp venom de-sensitisation course of treatments at Addenbrooks in Cambridge. He has also had a regular apiarist’s suit double lined and bought new specialist gloves ‘I am now safer when treating a nest than I am being outside at the weekend!’
As autumn takes hold drowsy wasps can often be found crawling around. Martin can also vouch for drowsy wasps crawling over your face at night ‘I was living as a student in Nottingham and we knew we had a nest in the roof, it wasn’t bothering us and being students we couldn’t afford to have it done anyway. It was at the end of summer and one night I woke up and felt something on my face, half asleep I grabbed a wasp off my face.’ But not before it had stung him, an unpleasant swollen lip was the result and an overdue call to the landlord who organised a local pest control company to come and sort the problem out.
It’s advisable to do everything you can to avoid being stung, every year a minimum of twelve people die from stings. Martin continues to work with wasps - showing them the respect they deserve he takes every precaution. If you have a wasps nest and would like it to be treated professionally either Martin or one of our Approved Partners can usually be with you the same day, if you call or email in the morning. And you won’t get stung by us.
If you should disturb a nest, the wasps may spray you with a pheromone which will flag you to other wasps as the target. This is how so many wasps know who to chase after. If you are attacked by a swarm the best course of action is to get away from the nest as quickly as possible, and keep going until they have given up. Wasps can sting you multiple times so make sure you keep them out of your clothing. Many people do successfully remove wasps with domestic products.
Due to health and safety, and more the importantly risk of being sued, we must state that we (The Suffolk Pest Control Company Ltd) are not doctors, if you are concerned with a sting incident seek medical help immediately. We can accept no liability to anyone taking advice from this website. Although everything stated is in our belief true and honest, we cannot guarantee anything! We want to help you and will provide advice at no charge but if it goes wrong don’t blame us. Professionals are worth every penny if they prevent you from being stung or having an accident whilst treating a wasp nest yourself.
And watch out for soft drinks cans in summer, swallowing a wasp would be very uncomfortable.