Objective: Ants, bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets (insects in Order Hymenoptera) are potentially a serious concern to outdoor workers, as the venom from their stings can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. This study assessed the impacts of Hymenoptera stings and related worker training regimes of forestry workers across the United States (US). Methods: A survey was distributed to nearly 2,000 outdoor workers in the forestry industry from four US regions (South, West, Northeast, and Midwest). Results: Ants are a primary concern in the South, with >75% of participants reporting ant stings within the last 5 years. Bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets are a concern for surveyed foresters in all US regions, with 60–70% and 75–93% of participants, respectively, having been stung by bees or hornets/wasps/yellow jackets within the last 5 years. Despite such a large number of participants experiencing stings, nearly 75% of participants were not concerned about being stung or their reaction to stings. Approximately, 70% of participants reported not having received any safety training related to Hymenoptera from their employers. Conclusion: No significant difference was shown in the number of foresters stung at work between safety trained and non-safety trained participants. However, it was significantly more likely for participants to carry a first aid kit if they had received Hymenoptera safety training. Consequently, more comprehensive and frequent training should be considered to help reduce risk of exposure to Hymenoptera.
- occupational health
- outdoor worker