Wasp: Facts and Help for Wasp Phobias
Summer is upon us once again and I’m sure you have noticed wasps buzzing about, now that the queens have come out of their winter hibernation and the worker wasps have built new colonies.
If you’re one of the many people who dread this time of year because of wasps, you may take reassurance in the knowledge that, contrary to urban myth, wasps do not sting people just for the fun of it.
They only sting if they feel threatened so it’s never a good idea to swing your arms around or turn into John Cleese with your newspaper. And definitely never, ever, poke a wasps nest!
Why do wasps sting
Wasps are generally not a problem until the wasp colony starts to break down in late Summer. After the queen cells are laid, the hormone that maintains colony cohesion is no longer produced. Without this hormone, the worker wasps become disorientated and go searching for sweet foods – which is why you might find them buzzing around your picnic table or kitchen. It is these confused, worker wasps, that sting.
Wasps are, in fact, quite good-natured, and the best thing to do if one lands on you, during the search for something to indulge its sweet tooth, is to gently brush it off with a piece of paper.
If you find one in your house, cover any sweet foods/drinks with a tea towel, switch off any electric lights, and close the doors and curtains to all light sources except one – such as an open, kitchen window – that they will fly to.
If you do use a spray to kill it, it is advisable to leave the room immediately as a dying wasp is more likely to sting: Be aware that a wasp which may look dead may simply be stunned.
What to do if you are stung
If you are stung the initial pain can be severe. Pain from subsequent swelling can last for several hours or even days, and your local pharmacist will advise on treatments, such as painkillers, antiseptic creams and antihistamines.
In the event of a wasp sting, the NHS advises:
– Remove the sting if it’s still in the skin
– Wash the affected skin with soap and water
– Apply a cold compress or ice pack for at least ten minutes
– Raise or elevate the affected area
– Do not scratch the area
– Avoid treating the skin with home remedies, such as vinegar
Stings to the lip, mouth and throat, all need prompt medical attention if any swelling begins to develop. For more advice, especially on when to get medical advice and/or emergency treatment, go the NHS website here: NHS
Help for wasp phobias
The good news for people who have a fear of wasps is that their colonies are not permanent; as part of their annual cycle the nest will be vacated in the Autumn. Following the advice above is all you really need to do.
For a person suffering with a wasp phobia, however, summertime promises a period of misery. The fear may have become so severe that anxiety about being stung can cause the phobic person to cancel invitations to social events, such as garden parties or pub lunches, and to keep their doors and windows closed, even on hot, humid days.
Traditional help for wasp phobias includes hypnotherapy. More recently, the new psychological model of BrainWorking Recursive Therapy (BWRT®) has seen excellent results in working with all kinds of phobias, often resolving even life-long phobias in just one short session.
If you would like to find out how BWRT® can help you to make this year the one where you finally get to enjoy Summer, free from the fear of wasps visiting you at your picnic table, please do get in touch. Initial consultations are free and all enquiries are welcome: Help for wasp phobias