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Massachusetts may not be home many scary arachnid species, such as big hairy tarantula spiders, or fierce-looking scorpions, but don’t ever let anyone tell you that venomous and potentially deadly insects are not a threat to residents of the state. A number of dangerous flying insects send Massachusetts residents to the hospital each year, and not all survive. For example, in 2017, a Foxborough man sustained a massive amount of stings that killed him before he arrived to the hospital. That same year, two North Shore women were attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets while out hiking. Each woman sustained more than two dozen stings, but luckily survived. Ground-nesting wasps and bees also pose a threat to residents of the state, as these insects can appear suddenly in any outdoor area, such as parks and residential yards. In fact, dangerous flying insects can even be a threat in urban areas of the state, as elected officials in Whitman had been stalked for weeks by digger wasps that had been dwelling around the town hall building.

Digger wasps have maintained a long-running presence around Whitman town hall. According to one administrator who works in the building, it used to be normal to see 50 to 60 digger wasps buzzing around the building. Back in 2011, the digger wasps around Whitman Town Hall became particularly threatening to elected officials and residents in the area, as the wasps would buzz in and out of the building regularly. And the wasps proved difficult to control, as a pest controller had applied insecticide to the area six times in less than two weeks, but they always came back. Luckily, it was reported that nobody had sustained any stings from the wasps in the area during 2011. While digger wasps are not generally regarded as overtly aggressive toward humans, yellow jackets sure are, as two women found themselves in the middle of a yellow jacket swarm while hiking in the north shore back in August of 2017. Each woman sustained numerous stings, and one of them developed severe breathing problems as a result of envenomation. Authorities tracked the women’s location in the woods and they were then happily rescued.

Do you worry about stinging insects while spending time in relatively uninhabited areas like forested regions?