Students, professor attacked by wasps along popular path at Utah State University

Posted at 7:13 PM, Sep 21, 2017

LOGAN, Utah -- Utah State University students suffered from wasps attacks Thursday morning.

It happened before 8:00 a.m. as students and faculty were walking to classes.

Several students were stung as well as one professor, who suffered an allergic reaction to a sting. Another professor and other students told Fox 13 that professor was rushed to the emergency room.

“I saw her sitting on a chair and she just looked out of breath, and just looked like she had her hand on her neck like she was struggling to breathe,” said Lindsay Williams, a USU journalism student.

Williams was also attacked by dozens of wasps but she somehow did not get stung.

“I heard was a bunch of buzzing around my head," Williams said. “They were all over my body. I had at least five or ten tucked into my hair, the back of my neck, and on top of my head; and the girl who was helping me said there was at least seven to ten on this sleeve alone, and they were on my back and I could feel them on the back of my neck and it was just horrible. I felt so helpless because I didn't know how to get them off of me.”

The wasps appeared to have a nest in the knot of a tree that sits along a popular walking path.

“There was a guy in front of me who had already two stings on the back of his neck and there were a couple people behind me who had wasps on them as well; and were running away from them.”

A USU biologist said wasps do not attack unless they feel threatened.

“If they become aggressive, it’s typically because somebody has disturbed them,” said USU biologist Dr. James Pitts. “This late in the season, they will have queens and males that are going to fly out and mate; so, they are protecting the next year's yellow jackets from next year’s predators.”

Dr. Pitts also said these yellow jacket stings are not like bees stings.

“Bees leave the sting inside of you, in your skin, and wasps don’t," he said. "And if you’re allergic to wasps that doesn’t mean you’re allergic to bees and vice versa.”

He said once the first wasp stings someone, the others follow.

“Whenever one stings you they will leave a chemical on you to alert the rest of the workers that you were the one and they will come after you," he said.

Williams wants the university to safely remove the nest.