Paravespula germanica
Paravespula germanica (European wasp)
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
SubClass: Hymenopteroidea
Genus: Paravespula
Species: germanica
Common Names
European wasp
Global-land only
Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechoslavakian Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Monaco, Montenegro
Taxonomy and Biology
Large wasp, total body length about 25 mm, with strong yellow stripes, sting in abdomen, short broad mandibles.
General: Venom Neurotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Myotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Procoagulants
Not present
General: Venom Anticoagulants
Not present
General: Venom Haemorrhagins
Not present
General: Venom Nephrotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Cardiotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Necrotoxins
Not present
General: Venom Other
Histamine, dopamine, norepinephrine, amino acids, oligopeptides, phospholipids, carbohydrates, melittin, apamin, mast cell degranulating peptide, secapin, tertiapin, protease inhibitor, procamine A&B, phospholipase A&B, hyaluronidases, acid phosphomonoesterase, alpha-D-glucosidase
Clinical Effects
General: Dangerousness
Severe envenoming only possible with high numbers of stings, at least >50. In adults usually requires >300 stings.
General: Rate of Envenoming: All stings cause local envenoming
General: Untreated Lethality Rate: Except in individuals with severe sensitivity to the venom, lethality rate is almost zero in single or small numbers of stings.
General: Local Effects
Local pain & swelling
General: Local Necrosis
Does not occur, based on current clinical evidence
General: General Systemic Effects
General systemic effects unlikely, except with severe allergy or high numbers of stings
General: Neurotoxic Paralysis
Does not occur, based on current clinical evidence
General: Myotoxicity
Does not occur, based on current clinical evidence
General: Coagulopathy & Haemorrhages
Very rare, associated with either anaphylactic shock and secondary DIC, or direct venom toxicity from large numbers of stings, again secondary shock and DIC.
General: Renal Damage
Rare, secondary effect of anaphylactic shock or direct venom toxicity from large numbers of stings
General: Cardiotoxicity
Does not occur, based on current clinical evidence
General: Other
Rarely haemolysis, following massive envenoming by large numbers of stings
First Aid
Description: First aid for Wasp Stings (includes hornets)
1. Apply a cold pack to the sting area.
2. If the patient develops generalised rash, difficulty breathing or becomes faint or collapses, urgent treatment is required, as this is an acute allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the venom. If there is any impairment of vital functions, such as problems with respiration, airway, circulation, heart function, these must be supported as a priority. In particular, both airway and respiration may be impaired, requiring urgent and prolonged treatment, which may include the mouth to mask (mouth to mouth) technique of expired air transfer. Seek urgent medical attention.
3. If the victim is already known to have an allergy to insect venom (bee or wasp), they are at risk of a major allergic reaction. At the first sign of such a reaction, if available, administer epinephrine (adrenaline, "epipen") as instructed on the medication. If the reaction includes airway constriction (asthma) and a "ventolin" puffer is available, use it. Seek urgent medical attention.
4. Stings inside the mouth may cause dangerous swelling, even in people who are not allergic to venom, and require urgent medical attention.
Treatment Summary
Most stings will cause local pain & swelling only, not requiring medical treatment. Stings in the mouth can cause pharyngeal swelling and occlude the airway; all cases require urgent medical attention and securing of airway. Cases with major allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) require appropriate treatment, including adrenaline & resuscitation. All cases with systemic allergic reactions require assessment & advice from an immunologist allergist, with a view to prevention & training to handle future reactions, including provision of Epipen or similar.
Key Diagnostic Features
Local pain, swelling. In cases with allergy, may develop acute allergic reaction, possibly including full anaphylaxis.
General Approach to Management
Only cases with systemic allergic effects or cases with massive multiple stings or intraoral stings need medical input. In these case, admit & observe, treat as appropriate for the type of effect evident.
Antivenom Therapy
No antivenom available
No Antivenoms
Paravespula germanica (European wasp)