Do Red Wasps Sting? Helpful Information

Red paper wasps are unusually aggressive and will defend their nest vigorously. But do red wasps sting? Yes, they can sting you repeatedly and should be handled carefully.

Are you aware that the US registers nearly 60 deaths yearly due to stings caused by insects like wasps, hornets, and bees?

Yes, you read it right! Insects like wasps may seem small and harmless, but in some cases, the stings are deadly.

Therefore it is crucial to know about them to be safe around these species. In this article, we will discuss the red paper wasp, considered one of the most dangerous wasps, along with the infamous yellow jackets.

Do Red Wasps Sting? Helpful Information

Are Red Wasps Aggressive, and Why Are They So Aggressive?

People usually find paper wasps to be comparatively more docile than yellow jacket wasps.

Although red paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellow jacket wasps, they can sting when threatened.

Red paper wasps are unusually aggressive in their family. They live in colonies and will defend their nests when they find someone too close to them.

They build aerial umbrella-shaped nests in dark indoor areas, so it’s sometimes difficult to find or avoid them, especially if it is a smaller nest.

Do They Sting?

The red paper wasp sting is venomous, just like other wasps. Even though it only uses venom for prey, the sting can still cause redness, soreness, and swelling.

Therefore do not try to threaten these stinging insects and their nests.

Sometimes, their stings can trigger severe reactions in some humans that may require immediate medical attention.

You must note that only the female red wasps are capable of stinging; the males lack the stinging apparatus.

You can tell the two apart from their size. Since the females also have to bear eggs, they are larger than males.

Do Red Wasps Sting? Helpful Information

Are Red Wasps Poisonous?

Some people often have the misconception that red wasps are poisonous to touch. This notion is entirely wrong. If a wasp touches you by accident, there will be no adverse effect.

However, you can’t be complacent near these types of wasps; they have venomous stings which can trigger sharp pain, swelling, and redness in the human body.

What To Do for a Red Wasp Sting?

Under all circumstances, you should avoid engaging with these wasps to prevent an attack. However, if they attack you, here are a few things that you can do to reduce the pain:

  • Immediately clean the wound area of the sting with clean water and soap.
  • You might experience a burning sensation near the wound. To lessen the inflammation, apply an ice pack to the injury. This will also reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Getting an infection through a wasps bite is the last thing you want. Therefore, you should keep the wounded area clean.
  • To protect the wound from external exposure, you can wrap it with a bandage.

You must note that the steps mentioned above are only for treating mild to moderate red wasp stings.

If the insect sting causes an allergic reaction in your body, immediately seek emergency medical treatment.

Do Red Wasps Sting? Helpful Information

Red Wasp Sting Pain Index

The pain index of insect bites like bees, wasps, and more is often measured by the Schmidt pain index. According to this pain index, a red wasp sting can register a highly intense level 3 pain. This is almost similar to the sting of yellow jacket wasps.

Red Wasp Sting Swelling

If you are ever bitten by a red paper wasp, you must be aware that the area near the wound shows prominent swelling.

You can use anti-inflammatory medicines to avoid and get rid of the swelling. Ibuprofen is a good anti-inflammatory medicine that can highly reduce pain and swelling in the area.

What To Put On a Red Wasp Sting

A red wasp sting will also cause severe irritation and itching in the wound area. The itchiness can last for hours and will cause a lot of discomforts.

In such cases, apply calamine lotion to the entire wound. This will also provide relief from the sting pain.

Do Red Wasps Sting? Helpful Information

What To Do For Dog Stung by Red Wasp

Red wasps will also attack pets like dogs or cats if they try to meddle with the wasp nest. If your dog ever gets bitten by these wasps, here is what you must do:

  • Use tweezers to remove the stinger from the wound carefully.
  • Once the stinger is removed, apply a mixture of baking soda and water to the injury.
  • To reduce the pain and itching, apply an ice pack.
  • Take your pet to the vet and ask the vet to give a dose of oral antihistamine.

If the dog gets stung on the face, observe it for a while to spot any problem in breathing. If you notice any difficulty in breathing patterns, immediately take your dog to the vet.

Do Red Wasps Die After Stinging?

Unlike other stinging insects like bees, wasps don’t die after stinging and are capable of stinging multiple times. 

This ability makes them more dangerous; therefore, it is not wise to try to mishandle a red paper wasp or its nest.

Do Red Wasps Sting? Helpful Information

How To Get Rid of Red Wasp Around House?

Before any efforts to try and get rid of them, make sure that your body is entirely covered and you are wearing a helmet to protect your neck and face.

It is advisable to call pest control professionals to handle this task. However, if you still want to adopt DIY methods, here are a few ways to control and get rid of them:

  • Use a dummy wasp nest to keep red wasps away from your home.
  • Use wasp control products that are often sold at hardware and garden shops. Apply or spray these products to the nest with proper caution to eliminate these wasps.
  • If there is a big nest in your house, try to remove it immediately. Use a long water hose or stick to topple the nest.
  • Dish soap solution is very effective in killing them. You can mix dish soap and then use a long-distance hose spray to pour it on their nest.
  • Wasps, in particular, don’t like the smell of spearmint, basil, peppermint, eucalyptus, cloves, and more. Therefore you can plant these near your house to keep them at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a red wasp sting you for no reason?

Red wasps will not sting you without reason. These wasps are mostly seen attacking humans and pets in the act of self-defense.
However, they are known to defend their nests when they feel threatened aggressively; therefore, one should avoid approaching these insects recklessly.

Why do red wasps chase you?

The red paper wasps chase you only when they feel you are trying to threaten them or their nest. These species are known to defend their nests aggressively.
This is why you must be cautious near a red wasp nest. Do not try to engage recklessly with these wasps.

Can wasps remember human faces?

Some studies have claimed that wasps are good at remembering human faces.
They have a tough time remembering faces based on a partial view but are able to recognize faces if they are visible clearly to them completely.
They use a technique called holistic face processing. However, not all wasps do this. This has not been tested on red paper wasps.

What to do when a wasp is flying around you?

When a wasp is flying near you, do not try to kill it, as it will release pheromones which will attract more wasps.
Try to trap the wasp in a container; this will prevent them from sending any pheromones, which will attract more wasps near you.

Wrap Up

Wasps can deliver quite painful stings and should never be taken lightly, especially if it is a yellow jacket or red paper wasp.

Therefore it is crucial to understand the behavior of these insects in order to stay safe from them. 

Red paper wasps, in particular, are aggressive, and it is important to keep your distance from them.

We hope the information above was able to make to gain more knowledge about these wasps.

Thank you for reading the article. 


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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