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Bites of hornets and their danger to humans

Попробуем разобраться, насколько опасными могут быть укусы шершня для человека и при каких симптомах нужно особенно беспокоиться...

The hornet, whose bite is remembered forever, can meet a person anywhere: on a hike, on a dacha, and even on holidays in hot countries. Each kind of these insects stings, of course, in its own way, but, nevertheless, contact with anyone, even with the least aggressive common (European) hornet, promises a rather unpleasant outcome to the person.

Встреча даже с европейским шершнем может сулить человеку большие неприятности

Bite hornet among all Hymenoptera insects is considered one of the most painful and fraught with serious consequences. It feels a little like stinging of a common bee or a bee, but the pain itself, however, as well as the symptoms of a hornet bite, are many times stronger and more sensitive.


"I remember once I was bitten by a hornet. My God, how painful it was, I already started ringing in my ears. And then only one bit, and I quickly shook him off. The bite was on the back, and literally in a few minutes the inflammation spread to the scapula. I knew that if a hornet bitten a person, then because of too strong allergy symptoms, you can die, but I did not have anything like that. Maybe the temperature went up a little. But from serious - only a terrible pain. It's a feeling that the polpins just cut off. And so - for five days, then gradually everything went away. "

Inna, Volgograd

The photo shows how the hand looks after the bite of a hornet:

Так выглядит рука после укуса шершня.

If in our latitudes the overwhelming majority of the bite of this insect causes, albeit not deadly, but very unpleasant and generally unsafe for the health symptoms, in the tropics people often die from hornet bites. For example, in Japan (according to current statistics), about 40 people die each year directly as a result of the attack of local giant hornets - so many people there do not die from any other insect or wild animal.

От укусов гигантских азиатских шершней (на фото) в Японии каждый год гибнет довольно много людей.

Meanwhile, hornets - insects are not too aggressive and even much more peaceful than, say, the same wasps. A hornet's sting is used relatively rarely, and only with a serious danger to himself or to his nest. Therefore, to disturb such nests is really fraught with mass bites: if there is any threat to the whole family, the hornets will be protected not for life, but for death.

On a note

Despite the severe consequences of bites of hornets in general, the specimens of the common European species, which is often found in Russian suburban areas, are not at all leading in the morbidity of stings among the insects of our fauna. So, bites of road wasps are much more sensitive. Approximately similar, but still slightly more painful are the bites of plavt - water bugs . But the most approximate sensation is the bite of a large horsefly: the hornet bites just as painfully, but the effects of its stinging and the accompanying symptoms are much more serious due to the action of the poison. The sword, when attacked, bites off a piece of skin from the victim, but the wound that appears, nevertheless, heals very quickly, and the trouble stops several minutes after the attack. But the hornet bite is dangerous just the consequences, which can be very serious.

In the photo, a hornet bite about 1 hour after the attack on a person:

Уже через короткий промежуток времени после укуса шершня поврежденное место сильно отекает.

The poison of the hornet and its effect on the body

The hornet's poison contains many components, some of which are widely found in the animal kingdom, for example, are part of the poison of rattlesnakes.

В состав яда шершней входят весьма сильнодействующие токсины.

Active substances of hornet's poison:

  1. Acetylcholine - a neurotransmitter, which causes a sharp activation of nerve endings and the generation of impulses. Figuratively speaking, getting in excess quantities in the tissue, it is like a hammer strikes the nerve nodes and causes terrible pain.
  2. Phospholipases and orientotoxin are components that cause the destruction of cell walls and the flow of their contents into the intercellular space. Because of this, where the hornet has bitten, the focus of inflammation first arises, and then, if the walls of blood vessels are damaged, a hemorrhage occurs, often accompanied by a subsequent suppuration. Phospholipases are an integral component of snake venom.
  3. Histamine - simplistically speaking, this substance, is by its nature an activator of an instant allergic reaction.
  4. Protein components that cause the disintegration of their own mast cells of the victim's tissue and thus provide the release of additional amounts of histamine.
  5. Biogenic amines are substances that initiate the rapid heartbeat and activation of respiration.

Часто укус шершня сопровождается не только отеком тканей, но и нагноением, некротизацией.

It is interesting

One of the protein components contained in the hornet's poison is called crabrolin - in honor of the insect itself (the Latin name of an ordinary hornet is Vespa crabro).

This composition of the poison determines not only how the hornet bite looks on the body of the victim externally, but also with what force it affects the body as a whole. Below the video shows the consequences of a bite of a hornet:

It is interesting that the composition of the poison largely depends on how and why insects use their toxins. So, for example, the poison of a hornet is a typical protective one, it is not intended for attack or immobilization. At the same time, the crayfish (close relatives of hornets, having a dark color and sometimes not inferior in size), the poison is used precisely to paralyze prey - for example, the larvae of large beetles. The bite of these insects, unlike hornets, is insensitive and does not lead to serious symptoms of intoxication or allergy in humans.

А вот укусы больших ос сколий далеко не так опасны, как укусы шершней.

One of the most important features of a horny bite is its ability to sting several times. Unlike the honey bee, the hornet after each bite removes its sting from the skin of the victim and can continue to use it.

It is interesting

Toxicity of hornet's poison is less than the toxicity of the poison of the ordinary honey bee. But the pain caused by the bite is stronger.

Needless to say, for one bite, a large predator spends a much smaller dose of poison than, for example, the same bee - after all, it needs to keep a strategic supply of protective substance for further attack. Nevertheless, the victim is experiencing severe pain, even from one such "injection".

Хотя на один укус шершень тратит меньше яда, чем пчела, интоксикация в этом случае более выраженная.


"What kind of stupid questions, does the hornet bite, or not?" This is a wasp, only a large one. Of course, he bites. At me here this summer the hornet has bitten a cat on a summer residence, and for a nose. I thought the animal would not survive. His eyes did not open, he could hardly breathe with his mouth. It was a terrible sight, I even had to take it to the vet, but I sort of went away. "

Olga, Kaluga

Due to the mobility of the body, the hornet bites quickly and practically from any position. We can say that if this insect decided to attack, then it will be problematic to avoid a bite - its reaction rate is too high.

Шершень обладает высокой скоростью реакции и может жалить прямо на лету, практически из любого положения.

By and large, the word "bite" in relation to this large insect should not be used: hitting the victim, the hornet actually stings, and does not bite. Despite the powerful jaws with which the predator kills its prey - insects and various small arthropods - for protection, he prefers to use the sting. However, for simplicity, it is often said that the hornet "bites."

It is interesting

Unlike bumblebees and bees, a hornet can sting without sitting on the body of a person or other animal. People say that "the hornet beats" - it really flies close to the victim, quickly bends the trunk and stabs the stinger into the body. The poison is immediately injected, and the wasp takes out the stinger from the skin. It is like a quick punch of a boxer and is a copy of a rifle shot of riders - distant relatives of hornets, which thus lightly inject an egg into the victim's body. However, his paws do not touch the opponent's body. Thanks to this technique, the hornet can sting in succession to the same place several times.


"I once saw the sting of a hornet in the head. The girl on her head had a huge drop of water, half a face swelled. She was constantly pricked with pain medication, but she still could not eat, because it was painful to move her mouth. "

Vladislav, Moscow

The photo shows the consequences of how a giant hornet bitten a man:

Последствия укуса шершня в лицо

Symptoms of a bite of a hornet

Bite of a hornet for a person is very dangerous: some of the symptoms that the victim has after meeting with this insect, carry a serious threat to health, and sometimes even to life.

First of all, stinging causes incredible pain. It is felt right away, even before the insect takes out the stinger from the skin. But even after this, the pain sensations do not subside, but on the contrary - they only increase because of the spread of acetylcholine to the tissues.

In the photo you can see how the hornet bite looks in the face:

Пораженные ядом ткани могут весьма сильно отекать

In addition to severe pain, one of the primary symptoms that appear almost immediately after a bite is inflammation in the affected area, accompanied by extensive swelling. The more poison the hornet has managed to inject into the wound and the higher the sensitivity of the organism to it, the stronger the swelling will be.

The photo shows the stinger's sting:

Жало шершня может достигать 5-6 мм в длину.

In some cases, inflammation can occur on the spot of inflammation, necrosis of tissues and numerous hemorrhages. Particularly characteristic are such consequences for cases where a person does not burn a single hornet - multiple bites can develop into a quincke's edema.

The bite of a hornet is especially dangerous for children. In addition to the above symptoms in infants, the emerging swelling, among other things, can affect internal organs.

Особенно опасны укусы шершня для детей из-за возможности развития сильно выраженной аллергической реакции.


"I'm very scared of all wasps and hornets and walk around the tenth road. A husband flaunts his courage and once he got. The hand was driven by the hornet from the summer kitchen, and he bit it. I do not know, probably, it was very large, but my husband's fingers swelled so much that he could not take a spoon. Such a pillow on my arm was. "

Olga, Barnaul

One of the most dangerous is the bite of a giant Asian hornet , inhabiting mainly in Southeast Asia, and on the territory of our country - in Primorye. This insect is generally quite calm, but if it stings, then, as they say, "it will not seem too little."

Firstly, the Asian hornet almost always launches its sting several times in one attack. Secondly, he injects into the body of the victim a sufficiently large dose of poison, which also includes a unique substance mandorotoxin, which has a powerful effect on the nervous system. Among other things, the numerous bites of this hornet can cause hemorrhages in the internal organs.

In the photo there is a giant Asian hornet:

Гигантский азиатский шершень

However, even without a strong allergic reaction, the bite of a hornet in a person can cause symptoms such as increased heart rate, headaches and shortness of breath. These temporary reactions rarely reach their manifestations before serious pains in the heart or asphyxia, but, nevertheless, they can greatly frighten a person.

It is possible to note one more characteristic feature of the bite of a hornet - pain in the affected area is always accompanied by severe itching, sometimes such that it is impossible to tolerate it. To facilitate this, in principle, not a dangerous, but very unpleasant symptom requires the adoption of special medicines.

Для облегчения зуда можно воспользоваться антигистаминным средством, например, Супрастином


"We once had a case in the office. Brought a child, he was bitten by a hornet for an ass. It seems like everything is OK, but the temperature is increased, and the swelling on the pope is such that the baby could not move. All the tissues were hardened, it is clear that the child was very hurt. It was necessary to him to prick Xekofam and to put in chamber. Only four days later he began to pass, and we let him go home with his mother. "

Tatyana, Kiev

As mentioned above, a few minutes after the bite, a person develops an allergic reaction. Its depth depends on individual sensitivity and can range from simple inflammation to very serious consequences. Let's dwell on them in more detail.

Severe consequences of the attack

An allergy to a hornet bite is, for man, perhaps the most dangerous consequence of the attack of this insect. In people with increased sensitivity to poison, the immune response of the body can take place in a very severe form, sometimes turning into anaphylactic shock and ending with death.

В некоторых случаях укусы шершня могут приводить к быстрому развитию анафилактического шока

One can never be sure for sure in the body's reaction to a bite of an insect, because it does not depend on the physical state, and its severity is largely determined by genetic factors. Therefore, if the bite of a hornet has yet occurred, you need to closely monitor the emerging symptoms and your condition as a whole.


"Over the past year, two people with anaphylactic shock after stinging hornets have been admitted to our hospital. One was unconscious, the second - in a fainting state. In both cases, the cause was a single bite. In one patient, because of the edema, the patency of the upper respiratory tract was impaired; despite our efforts and the use of serious drugs, he died of acute kidney failure. The surviving patient confessed that he did not know if the hornets bite, and tried simply to drive the insect that had flown to the smell of dried fish. "

Tian Li, Huangdu

Интенсивность аллергической реакции и степень выраженности сопутствующих симптомов сильно зависят от индивидуальной чувствительности организма.

Allergic reaction of the organism practically always proceeds according to the same "scenario". However, do not forget that the intensity of it for different people is absolutely individual, so how far will the allergy go in its manifestations, depends specifically on the organism of the victim. Nevertheless, let's highlight all possible symptoms as they arise.

  1. The first sign of the body's immune response is actually the inflammation in the place of the bite. It is characteristic of all stung.
  2. Then begin to appear rapid heartbeat, headaches, there is a rise in body temperature.
  3. Further, a person enlarges the lymph nodes, nausea and diarrhea may appear.
  4. In rare cases, kidney failure develops.

В ужаленном месте почти сразу же появляется отек и воспаление

If any of these symptoms appear, the victim should be immediately taken to the hospital, since without medical assistance the risk of a fatal outcome is great enough. In the case of high sensitivity of the organism (which the bitten may not know), even simple inflammation can quickly develop into more serious manifestations.


Mortality from anaphylactic shock after a bite of a hornet even at timely accepted treatment makes 15-20%.

Particular attention should be focused on a very important fact: the severity of the allergy increases with every new stinging of any hymenoptera. This means that if one day a bite, for example, bees had allergic consequences, then from the encounter with the hornet, you can expect more serious complications.

If the hornet has bitten: what to do?

Now let's define the algorithm of actions, if you or a nearby person is still stung by a hornet.

Если вас укусил шершень, не пытайтесь отыскать в коже его жало, а сразу принимайте меры по предотвращению развития чрезмерно выраженной аллергической реакции.

After a bite, you do not need to look for a stinger in your skin - it's just not there. Only bees leave their sting in the wound, the hornets live peacefully and continue to use it further. But what should be done immediately - so it's a pill of Suprastin or Claritin to stop the development of an allergic reaction.

Несколько приостановить развитие аллергии поможет препарат Кларитин

Then the person follows:

  • try to suck out poison from the wound, but do it no more than 2-3 minutes, because the skin at the puncture site is rapidly contracted, and the bulk of the toxin still remains inside;
  • attach a moistened piece of sugar to the wound; it will draw some more poison;
  • apply a cold compress to the developing edema to slow the spread of toxin in the tissues;
  • Lubricate the stung spot with Fenistil and drink Dimedrol.

Дополнительно ужаленное место можно смазать гелем Фенистил

All further actions are reduced to two fairly simple goals: monitoring the condition of the victim and fighting with symptoms. If the body temperature of the stung person does not rise above 38 ° C, it should not be knocked down.


Under no circumstances should alcohol be ingested after a bite of a hornet: the swelling may be greatly increased.

If the hornet has bitten a cat or a dog, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the pet and, if possible, apply a compress to the stung area of ​​the body. If the animal's health worsens, it should be shown to the vet.

Если у кошки или собаки после укуса шершня наблюдается сильный отек и ухудшение самочувствия, обратитесь к ветеринару.


"Our Birby (Yorkshire Terrier) recently bitten a hornet. The dog spread his entire shoulder, dyspnea started, he could not move his paw, did not eat anything. We called a veterinarian, he told us that this is exactly a hornet. I injected some funds to remove the swelling, but Birby only a week later began to eat and walk normally. I lost weight during this time ... "

Alla, Voronezh

Be that as it may, the hornet bite - in any case, a very serious incident, requiring close attention. If a particular person has ever had severe allergic reactions to insect stings, he must always carry with him the so-called "allergy passport" - a certificate from an allergist doctor, which indicates all the necessary data in case this patient with severe bite symptoms the hornet will go to the hospital.

After the attack, the hornet should closely monitor the state of health and not be too self-confident: anaphylactic shock develops very quickly and can affect even completely healthy and physically strong people. Therefore, with any deterioration in the state of health, one should not hesitate to go to the hospital or call an ambulance.

If you decide to deal with hornets or wasps yourself, then we recommend using only proven in practice tools that have shown their high efficiency:

To the record "Bites of hornets and their danger to humans" there is 1 comment
  1. Valery :

    I was bitten by a hornet in my school years. I rode a bike along the village street and literally saw him fly towards me. The blow to the forehead between the eyes was so strong that I fell off the bike. It was very painful. Before that, bees were biting, but this bite of the hornet was terrible. The forehead burned. When he drove home, they did not recognize me. He looked in the mirror: his forehead was swollen, and his eyes were narrow, like a Chinese. Many years have passed since then, but I still remember this encounter with a rabid insect, as the brightest event in my life ... (

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