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How Do Annual Sting Incidents In Arizona Compare Between Different Venomous Arthropod Species?

Yellow jackets and honey bees are responsible for a majority of the medically harmful sting incidents that occur annually in the US. While multiple yellow jacket species in Arizona are known for having been responsible for human deaths, fatalities resulting from honey bee envenomations are particularly common in the state. This is because Arizona sees the greatest abundance of Africanized honey bees or “killer bees,” as they are frequently called. Africanized honey bees are far more aggressive than their common European counterparts, and research shows that virtually all wild honey bees in Arizona are now “Africanized” due to interbreeding. Although bees and wasps are responsible for the highest number of annual sting incidents that trigger dangerous allergic reactions, medically harmful ant stings are by no means uncommon in the US. The red-imported fire ant is the most medically significant ant species found in the US, and luckily, these ants were eradicated from Arizona several years ago. Despite the red-imported fire ant’s absence in Arizona, the state sees a relatively high annual number of ant sting incidents that trigger severe and sometimes deadly allergic reactions.

Multiple species of both native fire ants and harvester ants are responsible for nearly all medically significant ant sting incidents that occur in Arizona, and pest management professionals often collect these dangerous ants from residential properties in the state. From March 2002 to March 2004, 237 ant stings were reported to poison control centers and medical professionals in Arizona, and this number does not count sting incidents that occured in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous region. Therefore, the above-stated number of sting incidents is probably less than half the total number of sting incidens statewide during the same period. For comparison, the total number of scorpion sting incidents reported in Arizona (discluding Maricopa County) during the above stated time period was 4,655, while 623 bee and wasp sting incidents were reported.

Have you ever had to visit the ER after sustaining one or more stings from a venomous arthropod?

 

 

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