The fear of wasps is known by the Latin name, Spheksophobia. People who develop this phobia may feel upset and frightened when confronted with wasps and their nests. The pain inflicted by wasp stings can be a trigger for this disorder.
All About Wasps
The wasp is sleeker than a bumblebee, and its sting is different as well. A wasp can sting repeatedly because its smooth stinger does not remain in the victim’s skin. The ability to withdraw the stinger makes wasps more vicious than bees. They can sting their victim again and again.
Wasps also swarm at anything they perceive as threatening. This makes their nests frightening indeed. No one wants to come upon a wasp’s nest without warning. Interrupting a nest of wasps can have serious repercussions.
Spheksophobia is understandable when someone has been stung by a wasp over and over again. Even a single, painful sting from a wasp can leave some people terrified of wasps and their teeming nests. The sting of a wasp has been described as a burning, sharp pain that eventually reddens, itches, and grows inflamed and swollen. Common folk remedies for wasp stings are applications of ice or vinegar. Some people swear by baking soda, mixed with water to make a paste, and applied to the wound. Others claim that deodorant can ease the pain and swelling when it contains aluminum.
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In late March of this year, a Sri Lankan rock fortress named Sigiriya had to be closed due to repeated wasp attacks on tourists and other people visiting the site.
Visitors who climbed the stones in order to view the distinctive paintings along the rock face were attacked by swarms of wasps and stung repeatedly. Some people who were at the very top of the fortress had to be evacuated by army helicopter due to the swarmings. Over a dozen people were hospitalized after the attacks. The wasp’s nests along the rock face were hard to eradicate with chemicals, because pesticides might damage the paintings at Sigiriya. In the end, the attraction had to be shut down to protect the public.
In the Isle of Wight, in 2002, a British businessman was cleaning things up after an outdoor B-B-Q when he decided to enjoy an ice cream for dessert. A wasp stung him inside of his mouth while he was eating. His tongue swelled up terribly and very quickly. His lips also began to swell. The intense swelling on his face caused him to asphyxiate and die before an ambulance could arrive. This businessman’s name was Victor Leslie, who spent his career as the European director of Sega, a video game company.
A Rock Band Takes On The Wasp’s Dark Image
During the peak of 80′s hair metal, a band fronted by Blackie Lawless chose the name W.A.S.P to define their group.
W.A.S.P were theatrical and made a great show of offending those with conservative beliefs. Profanity and crude sexual analogies littered their songs and aroused the anger of Tipper Gore. It is widely believed that the initials of W.A.S.P stood for “We Are Sexual Perverts”, but this was not confirmed by Lawless or other band members.
People who suffer from this phobia will become extremely agitated when they are exposed to wasps and their nests. They will flee, and often their panicked response makes them an even bigger target for angry wasps, who are far more likely to sting those who make a commotion. Other common symptoms of Spheksophobia are nausea and dizziness, as well as feelings of doom and terror.
How to Overcome the Fear of Wasps
Education about wasps and their common habitats and behaviors may be of assistance. Therapy and possible treatment with anti-depressants may ease fears and restore mental balance.