No Sting Zone – How to Keep Stinging Insects Away
With stinging insects causing more than a half a million-emergency room visits per year, it is understandable the fear that is invoked by the sight of wasps and hornets. During late summer and early fall, stinging insects can be especially aggressive as they gather food to sustain the queen over the winter.
Prevention and monitoring are key when it comes to stinging insects. Sealing cracks and crevices will eliminate potential entry points that allow for wasps/hornets to create hidden nests in wall voids, attics, chimneys and eaves. Homeowners must first make sure that no activity is present coming and going from the cracks prior to sealing. Nests that are sealed in can result in stinging insects coming inside the home. Regular inspections around the exterior perimeter including fence-lines and sheds/outbuildings can enable problems to be resolved while still in beginning phases.
If you find an active entry point or exposed nest, we recommend contacting a pest control professional. Larger colonies may contain hundreds to thousand of insects depending on the species and time of year. When threatened, a colony will become defensive in an effort to protect their queen. This may result in multiple stings and potential for the need of medical intervention.
Keeping food and water sources to a minimum will decrease the attractiveness of your home to stinging insects. During cookouts, keep foods that are outside covered when not in use. Always keep garbage cans tightly covered and away from the home when possible. Even pet foods that are left exposed outdoors may attract these unwanted pests.
Sweet-smelling fragrances such as shampoos, soaps, lotions, sunscreens and perfumes are also likely to attract stinging insects. When spending prolonged periods of time in the outdoors, avoid products with sweet scents. Avoiding dark or floral printed clothing will also assist in decreasing your risk of a run in with stinging insects.
Most importantly, in the event that you do have an encounter with a stinging insect, remain calm and collected. Do NOT swat at the insect or wave your arms in the air in panic. Instead, slowly walk away, keeping your arms at your sides. Stinging insects utilize their stingers as a defense mechanism when they are provoked or feel threatened. If you are stung, carefully remove the stinger and if necessary, seek medical attention.