Bald faced hornet stings are a pain. You know it and I know. Bald faced hornet stings are incredibly painful and many times trigger an unbelievable inflammatory response. But why do they sting? Bald faced hornets, like other subsets of hornets, use their stingers in two situations. First and formost, they will sting to kill prey. It serves as their primary tool for incapacitating their prey, allowing them to be captured. Hornets will also sting in defense of their hive, if they perceive an external force poses a threat. So word to the wise, dont be that threatening external force if you want to avoid a bald faced hornet sting.
So exactly how painful is a bald faced hornet sting? Well, you may not like the answer. There is a general consensus that hornet stings are significantly more painful to humans than those of typical wasps. This is due to the fact that the bald faced hornet sting delivers a large amount of venom, including 5% of acetylcholine. Much like bees, this can trigger an allergic response and at the very least an overwhelming inflammatory response. Not only that, unlike bees, hornets have the capacity to sting multiple times. This enhanced stinging capacity is due to the fact that the stingers of bald faced hornets are not barbed and are thus not pulled out of their bodies when they deliver their sting. So the moral of this story is do not aggravate a bald faced hornet. Not only will it sting you, but more than likely it will come back for more.
Now despite what Thomas Jefferson will have us believe in the Declaration of Independence, not all humans are created equal. Yes, its a romantic gesture but no, it is simply not true. The same goes for hornets; they are not all equal. This holds true for the power of their stings. Some species of hornets only deliver a minuscule dose of venom designed to incapacitate small insects. Since humans are so much bigger than insects, those stings have relatively benign effects on the human body. Yet at the other end of the spectrum exist a host of non-
European hornets whose stings are certifiably deadly. The most deadly of which is the sting of the Asian giant hornet. Relatively speaking, the bald faced hornet stings are much less lethal, yet they are still serious, especially for those who are allergic to the venom that those very stings deliver. Be careful.