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Well this has turned out to be a lot of fun! Many thanks to everyone who
has responded on and off the list.



My initial email started with what I thought would be an easily
recognizable, over-the-top exaggeration, or lampoon, of many entomologist's
attitude toward other's fear of the insect unknown. I guess compared to
today's political rhetoric it appeared toned down and subdued… Next time my
wry humor rears its ugly head I'll yell "just kidding" at the computer so
everyone knows it's a joke.



The part that I intended to include within responses to the public began
below the line under my name and started with: "Scared of getting stung…"



My purpose is to create a well-thought-out response that I could include
(copy and paste) within a larger response whenever an insect sting/bite
question arises (I don't know where the idea I was going to make a "funny
website" came from). I fully appreciate the difficulty of this (that's why
I asked the group for help) because it is a public health issue. On the
other hand, it is a public health issue(!) and I should have a reasonable
response, even if it's just to send the person to the local extension
entomologist (which is perfectly fine). If we want to get money and
politics involved (which really doesn't seem necessary, but this is
America) my salary comes from taxpayers, I work at a state school, part of
my job is diagnosis and outreach, and I have a Ph.D. and all the necessary
claptrap required to be a labeled "professional", so maybe I have a
"responsibility".



Since I do a lot of outreach already, I see sting education as a valid part
of that outreach. The public represents a spectrum, some people can't
change the ideas/attitude they developed when they were younger, and some
people, when given a chance, change and become amazing students of, and
advocates for, nature (this is my favorite example:
https://mailweb.pugetsound.edu/pipermail/odonata-l/2001-June/003274.html).
I included the bit about Justin Schmidt because there are people out there
that are willing to learn but haven't yet been exposed to that realm of
knowledge/ideas. XKCD did a great comic about this topic:
https://xkcd.com/1053/



Since people will encounter stinging insects their entire lives and fear
and Raid may not be the best prevention strategy I want to try to provide
them with good advice.



My goals within the response are to: 1) educate about the differences
between a painful sting and a life-threatening allergic reaction; 2) help
put stings in better perspective; 3) suggest that being observant and not
panicking is a better long-term sting preventer than gassing the landscape
every time something moves.



Based on the responses on and off the list there are three issues here: 1)
Diagnosis of the specimen; 2) medical issues; 3) control issues.



Diagnosis: I'm comfortable with what I do and don't know, am happy to pass
people on to other experts, etc. No worries there.



Medical issues: Other websites (including the ones I included from the CDC,
USDA, Wikipedia, and Clemson extension pages) include descriptions of the
effects of stings, which is what I've done, but I didn't offer any advice
on what to do if stung (=medical advice). I think my statement falls within
the bounds of what the community (the links mentioned above) offers and
aren't inappropriate.



Control issues: I didn’t give any control advice in the first draft and was
encouraged not to, as I'm not "qualified" to offer control advice. I agree.
I don't know the chemicals or the brands and I don't care. I'm more than
happy to pass the buck on this. The advice I think I can give, beyond talk
to your local extension agent, is: "Find a product at the store that can be
used on that insect and follow the instructions."



Here is what I have so far. I don't like how long it is, but I think it
contains the basic elements of what I want to give people. Of course anyone
can use this, modify it, etc. anyway they like, I don't mind.



Thanks for helping,



Mike



--------





*Scared of getting stung by a bee or wasp?*



Stinging insect are like peanuts: Deadly dangerous to some people, but
harmless and enjoyable to others. Visit the links below for information and
advice. The following is not meant to be taken as official medical or
control advice.



*Background Information:*

Only female insects can sting. Stinging is expensive and dangerous for the
insect (they only have so much venom, and don't want to get close to you).
She doesn't "want" to sting you. Insects only sting when they feel
threatened. If you get stung you may have accidentally gotten too close to
a nest. Stinging caterpillars can only "sting" if you touch them, usually
when you accidentally brush against them. Go here to learn about our local
stinging insects: www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/



*Are you "Allergic"?*

A lot of people say they are "Allergic" to bee and wasp stings. What kind
of reaction do you have?



*Systemic, Allergic, Life Threatening:* About 2 out of 1000 people are
allergic (hypersensitive) to bee/wasp/scorpion stings (
www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=11067&page=1 ,
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaphylaxis). For these people a bee sting can be
life threatening. A severe reaction includes vomiting, shortness of
breath/inability to breathe, stomach cramps, unconsciousness, etc. Allergic
people may have a major reaction to pretty much ANY sting, whether from a
giant scary wasp, a boring little ant, or a helpful honey bee.



*Local Reactions:* For most of us the sting hurts, we experience local
swelling (e.g., a few inches around the sting, half an arm, etc.), redness,
etc. Generally the swelling subsides in a few minutes to hours and the pain
goes away. Amazingly, medical sites say the average person (adult or child)
could tolerate more than 100 bee stings and not die (but it wouldn't be
fun, either!).



Fun fact: There is an entomologist who created a sting pain index by
letting things sting him and then rating the pain (
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmidt_sting_pain_index). He just wrote a book, The
Sting of the Wild (http://amzn.com/1421419289).



If you do want to control a stinging insect find a product at the store
that can be used on that insect and follow the instructions. For more
specific advice contact your local extension entomologist. For South
Carolina contact Eric Benson, [log in to unmask]



In my experience getting stung is 1) a rare event, 2) not fun, 3) but not
the end of the world, 4) helps place minor aches and pains in perspective,
and 5) results in an important increase in awareness of one's surroundings.
Being observant and not panicking are about the best long-term sting
preventers.



*Good sites to get more information about insect stings and stinging
insects:*

www.clemson.edu/cafls/departments/esps/factsheets/

www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/biol_hazards/bees_wasps.html

www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/insects/

www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=11067

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_sting



Honey Bee Colony Removal:
www.clemson.edu/extension/beekeepers/factsheets/honey_bee_colony_removal_from_structures.html









On Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 9:42 AM, Eric Day <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Genuine Extension Diagnostic Person here,  Please do forward questions
> from the tax paying public on to your state diagnostic labs and extension
> entomologist.  We keep links to good information and happily reply to
> questions from citizens about all insects. We see unusual insects all of
> the time, but to many of the general public, its a first time experience
> and should be treated as such.
>
> Just my $0.02 worth,
>
> Eric
>
> Eric Day
> Insect Identification Lab
> Department of Entomology
> Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
>
>
> On Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 7:00 PM, Michael A. Ivie <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
>> Putting up answers that include tongue-in-cheek humor and disrespectful
>> comments is not going to help our image as serious hard working and
>> important purveyors of knowledge. We all do this among ourselves, it is
>> fun, but the clientele described as the target don't have a sense of
>> humor.  If this is what one is inclined to do, punt the question off to
>> someone trained to deal appropriately with terrified members of the
>> public.  Since the point of Mike F.'s message was to refer people to a
>> website, referring them to professional educators is a better option,
>> taking Chris C.'s point of them not being happy about being referred away
>> in the first place.
>>
>> Or, alternatively, I agree with Lynn that a one-on-one discussion can be
>> better.  If you are going to refer them to anything, don't do it to a funny
>> website.
>>
>> Mike I
>>
>> On 4/24/2016 4:40 PM, Lynn Kimsey wrote:
>>
>> Folks,
>>
>> I find this conversation a bit troubling. One of the problems our
>> community has is explaining to the public (and our administrators) why we
>> should exist. Most of the public is woefully informed about science and
>> biology in general and desperately need real information from a human being
>> trained in entomology. Not some website that may or may not have been
>> written by someone from Mars. I can't see why answering questions like this
>> should be a problem, in fact I think its our responsibility if we are
>> publicly funded.
>>
>>
>> Lynn
>> ------------------------------
>> *From:* Entomological Collections Network Listserve
>> <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of
>> Christopher Carlton <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]>
>> *Sent:* Sunday, April 24, 2016 3:33:27 PM
>> *To:* [log in to unmask]
>> *Subject:* Re: Scary Wasps and Stings
>>
>>
>> Oddly, in contrast to Mike I's opinions about the matter, the extension
>> professionals here at LSU are directed to forward diagnostic requests to
>> the Curator or to me, and I know it works that way elsewhere, though
>> obviously not everywhere. And, yes, we do deal with worried members of the
>> public who get stung or bitten by animals with jointed appendages, or think
>> they have. The folks Mike F. is talking about don't take kindly to being
>> referred to someone else for administrative reasons. This feeds their
>> darkest suspicions about lazy college professors and their minions. I can
>> see his point in attempting to consolidate useful information into one
>> place for fast and easy knowledge transfer, which people do take kindly to.
>>
>>
>> Purely curatorial positions at land grant institutions are uncommon. More
>> often they include diagnostic responsibilities. Certainly, diagnostics and
>> dealing with the public is a substantial part of my job that that of our
>> Curator. We are not extension, but we are professionals.
>>
>>
>> Chris Carlton, Ph. D.
>>
>> Benjamin Holton Professor of Agriculture
>>
>> Director, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum
>>
>> President, Coleopterists Society
>>
>> Department of Entomology, LSB-404
>>
>> 110 Union Sq., Baton Rouge, LA 70803-1710
>>
>>
>>
>> <http://www.lsuinsects.org/>www.lsuinsects.org
>>
>> Facebook:
>> http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Louisiana-State-Arthropod-Museum/138001816222246?ref=ts
>>
>>
>> ------------------------------
>> *From:* Entomological Collections Network Listserve
>> <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Michael
>> A. Ivie <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]>
>> *Sent:* Sunday, April 24, 2016 3:27 PM
>> *To:* [log in to unmask]
>> *Subject:* Re: Scary Wasps and Stings
>>
>> Mike,
>>
>> I strongly agree with Lu on this -- you are at a land grant university
>> with an extension program employing professionals to deal with the public.
>> Let the professionals deal with this.  These wackos are not going to enjoy
>> what they will see as your condescension, cute jabs, and dismissive
>> remarks, as much as we in the in-group do.  In their minds they are fully
>> engaged as dedicated parents defending their offspring from death and
>> disfigurement, and you are being inappropriate.  They will be neither
>> amused nor educated.  Plus, your treatment of allergic response could be a
>> problem, past lack of allergic response is not a predictor of future
>> reactions.  All you need is one problem to bring a crazy lawyer down on
>> your head.  Since there are professionals already at Clemson paid to do
>> this stuff, not passing inquiries to them means something (pick any
>> unfinished curatorial task, there are always unfinished curatorial tasks)
>> that you really need to get done is being neglected while extension work is
>> being duplicated unnecessarily.
>>
>> Mike
>>
>> On 4/24/2016 4:08 AM, Musetti, Luciana wrote:
>>
>> I refer every such request to OSU Extension Entomology.
>>
>> Luciana Musetti, PhD | Curator
>>
>> [log in to unmask] | go.osu.edu/osu-insects
>>
>> The Ohio State University | Triplehorn Insect Collection | 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, OH 43212-1157 | Office 614-292-2730 | Fax 614-292-7774
>>
>>
>> On Apr 23, 2016, at 7:03 PM, Mike Ferro < <[log in to unmask]>
>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> I just got a frantic email from distraught parents begging for an
>> identification of a monster they just discovered in their lawn that is
>> certain to be the death of their precious doe-eyed child. They were
>> desperate to know: What is it and how do we murder it?
>>
>>
>>
>> We all get these emails, but do you guys have a standard (prewritten,
>> copy and paste) response concerning stinging insects, or do you provide a
>> custom answer every time?
>>
>>
>>
>> I'm putting together a rough draft of a standard statement about stinging
>> insects that I would include with (or within) stinging insect ID requests.
>> I've included it below. Any thoughts/ideas?
>>
>>
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>>
>>
>> Mike
>>
>>
>>
>> *----*
>>
>>
>>
>> *Scared of getting stung by a bee or wasp? *
>>
>>
>>
>> Visit the links below for information and advice. The following is not
>> meant to be taken as medical advice.
>>
>>
>>
>> *Background Information: *
>>
>> Only female insects can sting. Stinging is expensive and dangerous for
>> the insect (they only have so much venom, and don't want to get close to
>> you), she doesn't "want" to sting you. Insects only sting when they feel
>> threatened. If you get stung you may have accidentally gotten too close to
>> a nest or accidentally brushed against her.
>>
>>
>>
>> *Are you "Allergic"?*
>>
>> A lot of people say they are "Allergic" to bee and wasp stings. What kind
>> of reaction do you have?
>>
>>
>>
>> *Systemic, Allergic, Life Threatening*: About 2 out of 1000 people are
>> allergic (hypersensitive) to bee/wasp/scorpion stings (
>> <http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=11067&page=1>
>> http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=11067&page=1 ,
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaphylaxis). For these people a bee sting
>> can be life threatening. A severe reaction includes vomiting, shortness of
>> breath/inability to breath, stomach cramps, unconsciousness, etc. Allergic
>> people may have a major reaction to pretty much ANY sting, whether from a
>> giant scary wasp, a boring little ant, or a helpful honey bee.
>>
>>
>>
>> *Local Reactions:* For most of us the sting hurts, we experience local
>> swelling (e.g., a few inches around the sting, half an arm, etc.), redness,
>> etc. Generally the swelling subsides in a few minutes to hours and the pain
>> goes away. Amazingly, the average person (adult or child) could tolerate
>> more than 100 bee stings and not die (but it wouldn't be fun, either!).
>>
>>
>>
>> Fun fact: There is an entomologist who created a sting pain index by
>> letting things sting him and then rating the pain (
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmidt_sting_pain_index). He just wrote a
>> book, The Sting of the Wild ( <http://amzn.com/1421419289>
>> http://amzn.com/1421419289).
>>
>>
>>
>> In my experience getting stung is 1) a rare event, 2) not fun, 3) but not
>> the end of the world, 4) helps place minor aches and pains in perspective,
>> and 5) results in an important increase in awareness of one's surroundings.
>>
>>
>>
>> *Good sites to get more information about insect stings: *
>>
>> https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/biol_hazards/bees_wasps.html
>>
>> http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/insects/
>>
>> http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=11067
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_sting
>>
>> --
>> Michael L. Ferro
>> Collection Manager, Clemson University Arthropod Collection (CUAC)
>> Dept. of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
>> MAIL: 277 Poole Agricultural Center
>> OFFICE: 307 Long Hall
>> Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0310
>> [log in to unmask] (preferred)
>> [log in to unmask]
>> https://sites.google.com/site/clemsonarthropodcollection/
>> Subject Editor: The Coleopterists Bulletin; Insecta Mundi
>>
>>
>> --
>> __________________________________________________
>>
>> Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.
>>
>> US Post Office Address:
>> Montana Entomology Collection
>> Marsh Labs, Room 50
>> 1911 West Lincoln Street
>> Montana State University
>> Bozeman, MT 59717
>> USA
>>
>> UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
>> Montana Entomology Collection
>> Marsh Labs, Room 50
>> 1911 West Lincoln Street
>> Montana State University
>> Bozeman, MT 59718
>> USA
>>
>> (406) 994-4610 (voice)(406) 994-6029 (FAX)[log in to unmask]
>>
>>
>> --
>> __________________________________________________
>>
>> Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.
>>
>> US Post Office Address:
>> Montana Entomology Collection
>> Marsh Labs, Room 50
>> 1911 West Lincoln Street
>> Montana State University
>> Bozeman, MT 59717
>> USA
>>
>> UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
>> Montana Entomology Collection
>> Marsh Labs, Room 50
>> 1911 West Lincoln Street
>> Montana State University
>> Bozeman, MT 59718
>> USA
>>
>> (406) 994-4610 (voice)(406) 994-6029 (FAX)[log in to unmask]
>>
>>
>


-- 
Michael L. Ferro
Collection Manager, Clemson University Arthropod Collection (CUAC)
Dept. of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
MAIL: 277 Poole Agricultural Center
OFFICE: 307 Long Hall
Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0310
[log in to unmask] (preferred)
[log in to unmask]
https://sites.google.com/site/clemsonarthropodcollection/
Subject Editor: The Coleopterists Bulletin; Insecta Mundi