And forget about trying to train an indoor cat, who is hardwired to pursue moving prey, to not chase, swat or even eat a wayward stinging insect flying inside your home.
“In regards to bees and wasps, the real issue is the number of stings the animal gets and whether he or she is allergic to the sting,” says dermatologist William H. Miller, VMD, a director of the Companion Animal Hospital at Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine.
The Buzz on Bees
Honey bees are work-driven insects on pollinating missions. They are more out and about during the heat of the day, flying from one patch of flowers and ground covers to the next to collect pollen. They tend to sting only when they’re protecting their hives or dogs or cats are aggressively stalking them.
However, killer bees can be provoked enough to inflict a swarm attack on dogs and cats.
If you can easily see the stinger on the dog or cat, slide the edge of your driver’s license or credit card against the stinger to push it out. Refrain from using tweezers or even your fingernails — you can unintentionally rupture the venom sac. Monitor the pet and if necessary, consult a veterinarian about giving the pet a pet-safe antihistamine to reduce mild swelling.
It can take hours for an oral over-the-counter medication to be effective. However, some pets can have a severe allergic reaction to insect stings. If the pet’s throat swells, cutting off his air supply, and begins breathing rapidly, wheezes, vomits, trembles, displays pale gums or collapses, immediately take him to the veterinarian. He could be going into anaphylactic shock, an emergency in which the blood circulation shuts down.
“Be prepared to do CPR if necessary, especially with swelling around the throat that may block breathing,” says Dr. Miller. “And get to the clinic as quickly as possible.”
If a bee enters your home, shuttle the pet into a closed room and then try to usher the bee back out a door. Restrict access to popular bee areas: flower beds with pollen-producing plants and yards with clover.
The Word on Wasps
Unlike honey bees, wasps, including yellow jackets, paper wasps and hornets, tend to be aggressive attackers who repeatedly sting their targets. Heed the same care advice as given for bees.
Wasps tend to make nests in holes in the ground and the eaves, under porches, sheds and even fencing. Regularly inspect these areas for signs of wasp nests, especially during summer. Contact a professional pest control company if you find multiple nests or a large one. For a small nest, don long sleeves and pants, follow the instructions on the pesticide container and spray at night when wasps are less active and more apt to be inside the nest.
By Sarah Zumhofe