Taking the sting out of summer: How to avoid a bee or wasp encounter
By : Rita Stadler
It never fails, whenever we are enjoying a nice family dinner outside, a wasp has to swoop in and take a taste for himself. If that’s all that he was doing, I could get over it pretty quickly, but it’s certainly no fun when he starts to sting and the kids jump up screaming, throwing their food over their heads. Perhaps it could be a little pay back for when I was a youngster. I do recall a time when I was stung in the back of our SUV. Let’s just say that the dog enjoyed an entire dish of ice cream that he got to lick not only off the roof, but all the way down to the floor boards.
Get to know the pesky summer pests hanging out in your backyard.
Bees and wasps behave differently.
Bees and wasps are not one in the same, but they do have some similarities. They can both differ in color. Some will be the all too common striped yellow and black, while others can be orange and black, or just solid black. But there’s one big difference that’s important to note — wasps are much more aggressive.
A bee is able to sting a single time before it dies (its stinger stays in the skin), while a wasp can sting multiple times. A bee will only sting if they feel threatened, while a wasp can attack at any unprovoked moment because of its hostile nature.
Only a small percentage of the population is severely allergic to stings, but for those people, it can be a medical emergency. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, a sharp drop in blood pressure, swelling of the throat, wheezing and rapid pulse. If someone is showing signs of these things they need immediate medical attention within the first ten minutes of a sting.
Why do they seem to always hang out in your backyard?
Light. All insects travel by the moon at night and the sun by day. Because of this, bees and wasps are attracted to your lights.
Sweet fragrances. This is a big one! Both bees and wasps LOVE anything that has a sweet fragrance to it — things like perfumes, deodorants, aftershave and hairspray. Food is also a big attraction. Juices and sodas, fruit and other sweet treats, and wine–they especially love wine. Trash cans are also a common place you’ll spot a wasp as they sniff out their next treat.
Colors. They are also pretty fond of bold, deep colors. If you are wearing colors like red, black, and blue — beware, these are the colors that bees can see the best.
Movement. Have you ever heard that a wasp only gets angrier when you swat at it? It’s absolutely true. The moment you swing your arm at them, they feel threatened and are prone to attack.
Natural solutions to keep them away? Try these easy steps:
- As it gets dark, try to keep the porch lights off. If you find that it is getting too dark and you are unable to see, light a few candles, or start a fire. Although the scent of citronella may keep mosquitoes away, it does not repel bees or wasps—the smoke from a candle or fire is what keeps then away. So, scent does not matter in this case.
- Keep the sweet scents to a minimum. Also, keeping your food in containers until you are ready to eat will keep them away longer.
- Wasps and bees aren’t as attracted to solid white. That’s the reason you see beekeepers dressed in white when they’re tending to hives.Try dressing your table with a white tablecloth when you’re eating outside and if you can manage it, try to dress your kids in white as well. (Tricky, I know).
- If you encounter a wasp, do not swing at it. Instead, slowly step away. It will sniff out what it wants to and eventually leave. It is also said that wasps do not like big vibrations, like a lawn mower or a fan.
- Try hanging a couple brown paper bags in a tree next to you. Bees and wasps will leave you alone if they feel that there is an enemy hive around.
- Stinging insects like bees and wasps are not big fans of Marigolds. They actually find the scent completely unappealing. Make a nice bouquet of these flowers for your picnic table and enjoy the view without the fear of getting stung.
- Distract them with a bowl of their favorites — pop, juice or wine will do the trick. Place the bowl about 10 to 20 feet away — sit back and watch them indulge.
It’s no secret that bees and wasps can be pretty scary, especially if you are allergic to them. So, next time you encounter a pesky fly-by, try these simple pest control tips to stop them in their tracks.
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