Did you know that some species of wasps invade honey bees’ nests to steal honey? Or that a bee colony may have 40,000 to 60,000 bees present at a time in the late spring to summer? Or that because their stingers don’t have barbs, a yellow jacket can sting repeatedly?
Insects such as bees and wasps serve a unique and purposeful role in the environment. Bees pollinate flowers and provide us with honey, and wasps like hornets eat other bugs that might be considered pests. However, if you have ever suffered a painful sting from one of these insects, you know the danger they pose.
“Bees and wasps are among the insects people will encounter during the warmer months. People assume that these pests are just irritating and do not realize they can pose serious health risks,” says Frank Meek, board certified entomologist and technical director for Orkin, Inc.
In fact, at least 40 deaths occur annually in the United States from reactions to insect stings. Furthermore, anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) occurs in 0.5 to 5 percent of the U.S. population as a result of insect stings, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
It is important to note that wasps are at their highest numbers during this time of year, and pests build colonies and nests where they have access to constant food sources. Wasps such as yellow jackets gravitate toward treats like cookies and soda, which provide sugar and protein sources.
As you prepare for outdoor activities in the warmer temperatures, don’t forget these simple tips to make homes and yards less attractive to flying and stinging insects:
- Keep food in tightly sealed containers;
- Cover soda cans. Yellow jackets often enter cans unseen;
- Empty and wash garbage cans regularly;
- Fit screens and tighten seals properly on doors and windows;
- Frequently monitor for nests; and
- Call a licensed pest control professional immediately for treatment and removal.
People who experience severe reactions to insect stings, such as difficulty breathing, infection at the site of the sting, or aggravated skin disorders, should consult a physician.
For more information, or to receive a free home inspection, call 1-800-800-ORKIN or visit www.Orkin.com
Flying and stinging insects can cause painful stings. As you prepare for outdoor activity during the warmer months, be sure to monitor for nests frequently.