Bites and stings from bees and wasps, fire ants, spiders, ticks and mites can be common occurrences for contractors.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the five insects that cause most allergic reactions in the United States are honeybees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets and fire ants. Watch bite or sting victims of these insects for severe allergic reactions. The following symptoms require immediate emergency medical attention:

  • Coughing.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Severe sweating.
  • Itching.
  • Nausea/Vomiting.
  • Redness and swelling around the area of the bite/sting.
  • Hives.

Areas of the body most susceptible to bites and stings are your head, exposed arms and exposed hands. You can reduce bites and stings by keeping these areas covered. You can also reduce your exposure by keeping work areas clean. Insects may be attracted to discarded food or open drink containers.

If you are susceptible to an allergic reaction from an insect bite or sting, you should inform your employer. People that are aware that they have a severe allergy to insect bites or stings should also:

  • Consider making their co-workers aware.
  • Wear a medical warning bracelet or necklace.
  • Carry a wallet card.
  • Carry an epinephrine auto-injector.


  • Remove the stinger by using a gauze wipe or by scraping a fingernail over the area.
  • Never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers.
  • Wash the site with soap and water.
  • Apply ice to reduce swelling.
  • Seek medical attention and report work-related injuries.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk here.