Buzz Off: How to Protect Yourself From Stinging Insects Missy Henriksen
Monday, August 26, 2013
Important Tips to Stay Safe Outdoors
insects such as yellowjackets, wasps and hornets send more than
500,000 people to the emergency room each year. And, if that’s not
bad enough, they become extra feisty in late summer and early fall
when their colonies forage for food to sustain their queens during
the winter months.
While the thought of encountering a bee hive on the porch or a
hornets nest under the patio is enough to make anyone want to stay
indoors over the next few weeks, don’t fret. There are a handful of
ways to ensure these pesky stingers won’t ruin your fun in the
One effective way to prevent an infestation of these insects and
most other pests is to eliminate access and harborage sites around
of the home. Stinging insects often build their nests inside attics
and chimneys, behind porch lights and under decks or eaves.
Homeowners should seal all visible cracks and crevices to keep
these pests from moving indoors, and regularly inspect around the
yard and along the perimeter of the house for nests.
Have you ever been to an outdoor gathering where bees are
swarming around the table of hamburgers, chips and fruit? Stinging
insects are attracted to exposed food and open garbage cans. To
avoid an unwanted encounter with a yellowjacket or bee during a
picnic or cookout, cover all food when outside and be sure to keep
tight fitting lids on trash bins.
excessive use of fragrances
Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to
sweet-smelling fragrances. If spending long periods of time
outdoors, avoid excessive use of perfume or cologne. When possible,
also choose unscented shampoos, soaps, lotions and sunscreen.
Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, since these
patterns are known to attract stinging insects. It’s also important
to wear closed-toe shoes, especially in grassy areas as bumblebees
and some hornets often nest there.
calm, cool and collected
If a stinging insect is flying nearby, many people’s first
reaction is to either swat the insect away or flail their arms in
panic. However, these movements may actually provoke an attack. Do
not swat the pest, but rather remain calm, slowly walk from the
area and it should fly away with causing any harm. If you do get
stung, carefully remove the stinger and seek medical attention, as
reactions can be severe in some cases.
If a nest is found on the property, keep yourself and other
members of the family away and do not attempt to remove it on your
own. Depending on the species, a nest could contain hundreds (if
not thousands) of stinging insects, which could swarm and sting en
masse if they are disturbed or feel threatened. Instead, contact a licensed pest
professional who will be able to identify the species and aid
in stinging insect control by either destroying the colony or
removing it to a safe location.
Stinging insects can be hard to avoid as they often show up to
picnics, cookouts and pool parties. The best way to prevent an
unwanted encounter is to exercise caution when outdoors. To learn
more about stinging insects, watch this Stinging Insects 101 video.