Bee and Wasp Safety

wasp_hugeThe extended summer here in WA has resulted in an increase of wasps and bees. As soon as the temperatures drop, the males will die and the hive will go dormant for the winter but until then, we seem to have a constant buzzing around our heads whenever we are outside, especially if there is food present.

Bees collect pollen so any flowery scent or perfume is going to attract them. If working outside try to avoid scents that might attract them. Stay away from flowers where they might be numerous if possible. Avoid wearing bright colors as they are drawn to them.

Wasps, on the other hand, are scavengers, looking for food so they will zero in on your picnic, soda or fruit juice. Keep food covered and protected. Be especially careful with soda cans where wasps might crawl inside only to sting the inside of your or your child’s’ mouth when you or they go to take a swig. Wasps may also be drawn to the smell of sweat.

Do no swat or crush them as both bees and wasps excrete a substance that calls other bees and wasps to attack when they sting.

If you are camping or having a picnic outdoors, your best bet is to build a wasp trap to keep the wasp away from your food. There are several tutorials available on the web (Wasp trap 1, Wasp trap 2, Wasp trap 3).

If you know that you are allergic to bee or wasp stings, make sure you always carry an EpiPen with you and let others know how to use it it in the event that you are unable to do so. Job sites, church groups, etc… should always include an EpiPen in the first aid kit just in case.

If stung, do not pull the stinger out with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. Putting pressure on the stinger will inject more of the venom. Instead, use your fingernail, a piece of gauze or a credit card to scrape or snag the stinger to remove it.

Wash the area with soap and water and use ice to keep the swelling down. Never leave someone who’s been stung alone. Have someone stay with them for an hour or so to make sure they don’t have an allergic reaction.

 

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