Cibinong, BRIN Public Relations. There has been viral news lately about bee stings causing fatalities in Indonesia. The media reported some time ago, a driver was attacked by bees on the Sei Hanyu – Puruk Cahu causeway, Jekatan Pari Village, Kapuas Hulu District, Kapuas Regency, while inspecting his vehicle which was stopped due to muddy road.

Sih Kahono, a researcher at the Biological Research Center – the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) explained that the animal that stung the driver was not bees but wasps.

He said the information that developed in the media reported as if the type of insect that attacked the victim was known for certain; the naning bee (Apis dorsata). “Apis dorsata is a honey bee with habitat in the forest, nesting in the upper branches of trees or lower branches if there are no large plants. But there were also those who said it was wasps that stung the victim not bees, from the Vespa wasp group,” he explained.

“To identify whether the victim was stung by a bee or wasp, we need to look at the sting marks. If the sting marks are in the form of a hole without any sting left, then it is a Vespa wasp. But if there is a sting mark left by the insect, it is a honey bee,” explained Kahono. Based on information available, it can be concluded that the stinging insect was the Vespa wasp,” said Kahono on Monday (17/01).

“Vespa wasp’s venom is stronger than the bee’s. But the stinging frequency is also important. The more often it stings, the stronger the sting will be,” he added.

Differences Between Wasps and Bees

There is a difference between wasps and bees although they are both insects that look the same at first glance. One thing they have in common is that they both have a stinger as the weapon to defend themselves.

“Based on the way of life, wasps are divided into two types, namely solitary wasps and social wasps. Solitary wasps are wasps that live alone most of their lives, while social wasps tend to live together or in colonies in large groups and have many young. So if there is a threat, they will defend their colony by attacking, “explained Kahono.

Wasps are territorial animals, namely animals that have their own territory. If we enter their territory, they may see it as a threat. “Generally, we do not feel our activities disturb wasps, but wasps may be disturbed by the arrival of humans. Wasps will release pheromones as a sign that there is danger coming. Finally, to defend themselves, the wasps attack us,” explained Kahono.

Keep in mind, not everyone stung by a wasp will die. Deaths caused by wasp stings are rare. Some people will experience redness, swelling, and itching of the skin. This insect sting also leaves a very stinging feeling that may even lead to severe allergies due to the venom that requires emergency assistance.

“Insects like wasps can release venom through their stings. Wasp’s venom belongs to the histamine group. Venom that enters the body can cause various poisoning reactions in each person. The level of resistance or allergy of each person who is stung is different. Five stings can kill if you have a high allergy, ” Kahono explained further.

Kahono added, the aggressive nature of each type of wasp varies depending on the intensity of disturbance that occurred in the colony at the previous time. The more often they are disturbed, the more aggressive they will be.

“The more we fight back, the more we harm ourselves. Therefore, the best way when being attacked by a wasp is to run away as far as possible or by throwing away the clothes you are wearing to remove the pheromones that have stuck to the clothes,” he explained. (ew/ ed: sl, drs)