Question: Which insect stings typically cause most allergic reactions?
Answer: Well first of all allergic reactions, the ones we're talking about, really are related to stinging insects. So that's really different from biting insects.
Biting insects like mosquitoes or black flies can cause swelling and itching. And some people actually are allergic and get abnormal swelling, but the more severe or dangerous reactions really happen with stinging insects and not biting insects.
The stinging insects include several groups: the bees, like honeybees or bumblebees. They include a general group of wasps, we call them vespids and they include yellow jackets, hornets and paper wasps. And there's a separate group of stinging ants and these are not just biting ants. These are ants that actually have a stinger and will sting and can cause the same allergic reactions as any of the other stinging insects.
These stinging ants are primarily in the southeast third of the United States and Gulf Coast. They're called imported "imported fire ants" because they were actually, they arrived from South America and have made their home in parts of this country.
There are a range of different kinds of yellow jackets and hornets and wasps in different areas of the country. And the ones most likely to cause a reaction are different in different areas. In agricultural areas or vineyards it's more likely to be honeybees. In the southeast, in the southern coastal areas, the Gulf Coast, Louisiana and Texas much more wasp stings. In general in this country it's more yellow jackets than anything else.
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