Stinging Insects Abound

Our phones are ringing with customers asking for help with fearsome summer stinging insects including bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. And for good reason – a sting is no fun. While most people will have a localized reaction to the venom from a sting, others may experience a more severe reaction.

Typical reactions to a non-allergic sting will include redness, swelling, and/or itching at the site. An allergic reaction, on the other hand, may involve itching, hives, swelling of the throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, dizziness, stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommend the following to make outdoor spaces less welcoming to bees, wasps, and hornets:
  • Remove any exterior debris that can act as nesting material insects, such as fallen trees or old tree stumps.
  • Be careful with summer landscape decisions, including limiting flowers that might invite stinging insects close to your home.
  • Be aware of the lure of sweet beverages, as soda and juice can attract stinging insects. Use wide-mouth cups so that you can check to see if a bee has landed in it before you drink.
  • When eating outside, avoid leaving food uncovered for too long, especially sweets.
  • Use lids on outdoor trash cans and store them away from where you spend time.
  • Remain calm if a single stinging insect approaches you – swatting at it may provoke aggression.

It is normal to see a surge of stinging insects in late summer, as well-established colonies are busy foraging and establishing new nests. This surge is foraging behavior meets the colony’s need to feed both the mature colony, while storing ample food supplies for a queen who is preparing to overwinter. The queen is also busy in the later summer/early fall producing eggs that will mature into adults who leave the colony to mate. These new queens will not venture too far to nest for the winter and establish new local colonies in the spring.

The consequence of all this colonial activity is that you see more insects out and about, doing their jobs and preparing for winter. These foraging insects will also be more aggressive, invading common areas, and stinging without too much provocation.

Business owners should be particularly careful to handle any burgeoning stinging insect threat, to ensure a hospitable environment for patrons. Professional pest control is a smart choice to ensure that the late summer is enjoyable for everyone, as we wind down to a cooler fall.