Avoid Stinging Insects
Honeybees -- Wasps
-- Yellow Jackets -- Hornets
insects do not seek sustenance from humans, as do the biting insects,
such as mosquitoes, flies and fleas. The sting of these insects
is only used against people for self-defense or defense of the nest.
These bees travel in a straight
line from flower to hive, and stings usually occur when someone interrupts
a bee in flight, or strikes a flower in which a bee is working.
Honeybees are attracted by flower fragrances, bright colors and smooth-water
surfaces. Fragrant perfumes, colognes and powders also act as attractants.
The fragrance of some house paints has been known to act as an excitant
to honeybees and cause them to behave aggressively. For safety, clothing
should be light in color. Hair should be short or tied up during the
warm months to avoid entanglements that cause stings.
If a person is stung and cannot identify the insect, see if the stinger
is embedded in the sting site. If it is, chances are the sting was
from a honeybee.
Wasps, Yellow Jackets
Wasps feed on the larvae
of other insects, which they kill with repeated stings. The stinger
is not embedded in the sting site.
The adult wasp lives
on juices, sap and nectar; it is attracted by odors such as spoiling
foods, soft drinks, fruit juices, leather, perspiration, bright
colors and a water supply.
Yellow jackets make their
nests in the ground, and the paper hornets' nests may be close to
the ground or high above it. Both of these stinging insects are,
therefore, particularly hazardous to bare feet and ankles.
General rules for avoidance
- The first rule when
a stinging insect approaches is to STAY STILL. Remember, people
who keep bees professionally wear protective clothing AND ALWAYS
- Never slap or brush
off an insect of this kind. It will not sting unless frightened
- Be careful when you
shake out clothing that has been left on the ground. Wasps or
other stinging insects could be in the folds of the clothing.
- Avoid orchards in
bloom, clover fields, and any areas that are abundant with flowers.
Don't wear dark clothing, and don't wear perfume or hair sprays.
- Do not mow lawns,
trim hedges or prune trees during the dangerous seasons.
- Collisions cause
stings, so avoid running, riding horses, bicycles or motorcycles.
A convertible automobile with the top down is especially hazardous.
- Keep a "bee cloth"
(even in an enclosed car) to trap frightened insects before they
sting, or keep an insecticide spray in the glove compartment.
- Caution children
about not throwing stones or sticks at insect nests.
- Inspect property
in the early spring and make periodic inspections all summer until
hard frost. (Allergic individuals should not participate in these
- Use the skills of
an exterminator or the local fire department to remove hornet
nests. Beekeepers will often be glad to come to your property
and relocate a bee colony.
- Locate yellow jacket
nests during the day and demolish them at night when the insects
have returned home.
- At least two applications
of gasoline, kerosene or lye are needed in the hole where yellow
jackets have nested. The fumes do the job, so do not light the
gas or kerosene. Wear protective clothing and call an exterminator
if you are uncertain about how to proceed.
- Wasps nests can be
knocked down with a broom handle after spraying the nest with
an insecticide. Protection against shock
Hypersensitive individuals should obtain through a physician a
prescription kit for self-administered protection against anaphylactic
shock for use when medical treatment cannot be immediately secured.
Hollister-Stier's prescription Ana-Kit® (Webmaster note:
no longer sold - 2005), complete with directions for patient
administration, is specially designed for this purpose. Medical
alert tags or bracelets ensure prompt and proper treatment
in case consciousness is lost.
1988 Miles Inc. Used by permission of Bayer Inc.
Note: The original article did not specifically mention the MedicAlert
organization. Webmaster insertion of MedicAlert link.
of Use: The information
on this site does not constitute medical advice and is for your
general information only. We cannot be held responsible for anything
you could possibly do or say because of information on this site.
Consult your family physician or allergist for specific questions