Everyone this is my new blog stinger-it.com. I am a database manager for a large software company, and while it’s challenging work with long hours, I’m never bored. I get paid well and am grateful to have a job.
But this blog will not be so much about my work with computers, but more about my hobby when I’m out of work; the study of stinging insects and animals. I’m fascinated by when they attack, what affect the sting has on animals and humans.
So I would like to start with an overview of stinging insects in this post, and in subsequent posts I will discuss the individual ones in detail. If you want some real good detail about the different types of stings check out this page by the Mayo Clinic.
Types of Creatures With Stingers
You will find stingers mostly on arthropods (invertebrate animals with an outside skeleton as their skin, also called exoskeleton), and some aquatic animals like jellyfish. Some stings can range from a feeling of just a small uncomfortable burn to extreme pain. Stings are usually accompanied with some type of venom injection from the stinging creature. And just like the feeling of the sting, the effect of the venom could range from a small irritation to actual death of the victim (especially if they are allergic to the sting).
The most common insects with a stinger is a bee or a hornet. There are a reported over half a million emergency room visits from be and hornet stings around the world each year. The main different types of bees and hornets are as follows: African bee, honey bee, bumble bee, carpenter bee, european hornet, bald faced hornet, paper wasp, open pipe mud dauber, yellow jacket, and velvet ant. I’ll get into more detail on each of these later, but for now I just wanted to make a quick introduction to you of these interesting creatures.
One of the larger stinging arthropods is the scorpion. Scorpion stings hurt but unless your elderly or allergic to the venom, the sting is usually harmless.
I remember one time vacationing in Cozumel Mexico with some friend and family. My friend Brian and I were drinking a beer after a great day of scuba diving when he got stung by a scorpion after moving the trash can that was on the side of the house. We were pretty nervous about the effects of the bite, and being on the island we did not have good access to doctors, especially at that time of night. So we frantically googled “scorpion sting” and were relieved to find the non lethal effect the sting has. He had a little swelling in the area of the sting but he showed no ill effects from the attack.
The jellyfish sting is caused by tiny dart like structures called nematocysts. They are released from cells called cnidocytes that are on the jellyfish tentacles. Nematocysts contain venom which is a neurotoxin which can paralyze smaller fish. Thousands of these are emitted from the jellyfish tentacles. When a human gets stung by jellyfish it can cause extreme discomfort. But it can get deadly if you are stung by a swarm of jellyfish at the same time.
I actually remember, growing up in Long Island, NY, being stung by jellyfish in the Great South Bay in August one summer when the water was warm. You don’t even realize you’re near jellyfish a lot because you can’t see them well. But one you start being overcome by a sudden nasty burning sensation, when swimming, you can be sure you got stung by a jellyfish.
So this was a quick overview of the stinging creatures I will discuss in details in coming posts. I hope this introduction was enough to make you more curious enough to read my other posts about these intriguing creatures.