Keep Summer Cookouts Sting-Free

The National Pest Management Association offers tips for preventing stinging insects from invading your backyard party

FAIRFAX VA. (August 22, 2017) – Summer is the season for spending time with friends and family outdoors, soaking up the sun and hosting cookouts, which makes us more susceptible to encountering stinging insects. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) wants you to know where stinging insects can be found and ways to prevent them from wreaking havoc on your next backyard cookout, as stinging insects are extra active during the late summer months and send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every year.

“Most species of stinging insects will sting in defense of their nests, and some are more aggressive than others,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “We recommend calling a licensed pest control professional right away if an infestation is suspected, as many stinging insects such as wasps and yellowjackets get territorial and are dangerous when disturbed.”

For a buzz-free cookout, the first step in avoiding stings is to make your property inhospitable to unwanted pests. Before trimming shrubs or hedges, or picking fruit, check plants and ground areas for any signs of a nest. Treat wood fences and deck railings with a repellent oil to deter stinging insects like wasps from gathering cellulose from the wood. Hornets are particularly attracted to fruit, so be sure to promptly remove any fallen fruit from trees before having guests over. Changing exterior lights to yellow bulbs can also reduce a stinging insect’s attraction to the home or property.

Once the festivities are under way, be sure to keep all food and trash bins covered, and serve drinks in clear plastic cups to avoid any sneaky encounters with stinging insects. If a stinging insect is flying nearby despite these efforts, do not swat at the insect as this may actually provoke an attack. Instead, try to remain calm, and slowly walk away from the area and it should fly away. 

For more advice on stinging insects, visit


About the National Pest Management Association

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 6,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information, visit