When I accidentally disturbed a wasps' nest, it was an unpleasant experience. They got everywhere - under my clothes, in my hair etc.

However, in the aftermath - since I'm not allergic to their stings - I observed that apart of some sores on many places on my skin and the racing heart, there's no real damage.

So that made me wonder. If a creature either couldn't feel the stings, or just decided to poke the nest without destroying them regardless of the stinging, would the wasps just give up eventually?

What I mean is, if I just took a stick and poked the entrance ignoring any pain, would they keep stinging until they exhausted themselves to death, or would they just call the defence off and ignore me after a while?

  • $\begingroup$ Every wasp acts as an individual so if you disturb a nest, all the wasps that are alarmed will empty their sting on you, that can as many stings as there are wasps. They woudn't call the defense off in any reasonable time. It's not a very rational question. Bears do destroy bee hives, but they have evolved to handle it. I disturbed a hornets nest 10 days ago in a huge black pine tree which i started climbing. Fortunately I didn't get stung by a hornet, even though I had a bike and a track near which is handy for an escape. $\endgroup$ Sep 4 '19 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ @com.prehensible If you keep poking and do not destroy the nest, it must end somehow. Either they exhaust themselves to death or they start to ignore you. That's what I was wondering about. $\endgroup$ Sep 5 '19 at 9:06

Yes, but it partly depends on the wasps' perception of "threat". I have had several stings over the years, fortunately one at a time . In E TX the red wasps seem very aggressive , as often as not I do not even know where they came from when I was stung. This year I had 4 stings in 6 days , from small black wasps- something new.. I believe they were "spider wasps" as the stings were very painful and swelling lasted more than 2 days unless treated. Again , I had no idea I was near them.


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