It’s that time of year again when everybody’s favorite pollinators start showing up. I’m talking about the stinger-bearing insects that we start seeing in the summer: bees and wasps. Since these insects are most abundant in the warmer months, its important to be on the look out for nests and hives that may be developing in your yard. Bees and wasps tend to make theirs homes in places like trees, roof eaves, and even on equipment such as ladder or under tank valve covers.
You can remove the hives by yourself, but it is recommended that you have a professional handle these pests. If you have the proper protection, such as a hat, gloves, or ideally a bee suit if you have one, you can spray insecticide on the hive to get rid of the pests before you take it down. This isn’t a one and done application though as it may take several applications before the bees are all gone.
If you do have bees or wasps in your yard, here are some quick tips that can help you avoid getting stung:
1. Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing.
2. Avoid perfumed soaps, shampoos, and deodorants.
3. Wear clean clothing and bathe daily. (Sweat may anger bees.)
4. Wear clothing to cover as much of the body as possible.
5. Avoid flowering plants when possible.
6. Keep work areas clean. Social wasps thrive in places where humans discard food.
7. Remain calm and still if a single stinging insect is flying around. (Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.)
8. If you are attacked by several stinging insects at once, run to get away from them. (Bees release a chemical when they sting, which may attract other bees.)
a. Go indoors.
b. A shaded area is better than an open area to get away from the insects.
9. If a bee comes inside your vehicle, stop the car slowly, and open all the windows.
10. Workers with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should consider carrying an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen) and should wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.
Summer is quickly coming to an end, but by following these tips you can make the best of the remaining summer days.