For many families, summer means pool parties and backyard barbeques. But where there is fun for kids, there are safety concerns for parents — like how to prevent sunburn, poolside accidents or insect bites and stings. According to Atlanta-based pest control leader Orkin, while most summer bugs like June beetles are just nuisances, summer bees, wasps and mosquitoes — and their stings or bites — can cause serious health issues.
In fact, while most insect bites and stings are not life threatening, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website reports thousands of people are stung by insects each year and as many as 90–100 people in the U.S. die as a result of allergic reactions.
“Everyone can relate to the fear of bee stings or irritation of mosquito bites during summer months,” said Ron Harrison, Ph.D., Orkin technical director. “People with severe allergic reactions especially should try to avoid certain flying and stinging pests.”
Wasps, including hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps, can sting multiple times and generally are more aggressive than bees, which can sting only once before dying. But stings from both bees and wasps can cause side effects ranging from nausea, fainting and — in extreme cases — death.
According to Children’s Hospital Boston, one of the largest U.S. pediatric medical centers, approximately two million people in the U.S. are allergic to bee stings, and three percent of children who are stung will experience systemic allergic reactions. To reduce bee or wasp stings, Orkin recommends regular yard monitoring for nests and professional wasp control, which experts should complete at dawn, dusk and/or night, when most insects are in the nest.
While the ever-dreaded summer mosquito doesn’t sting, its bite can spread West Nile virus and other viruses that cause encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. According to the CDC, more than 29,000 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the U.S., including 1,160 deaths, since it was first identified here in 1999.
In addition to outdoor mosquito control, Orkin recommends the following pest control tips this summer:
- Apply an EPA-approved insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing to deter mosquitoes.
- Empty standing water from birdbaths or flowerpots to reduce mosquito habitats.
- Thin vegetation around the home to help reduce locations that can hide mosquitoes, and bee and wasp nests.
- Fit screens and tighten seals properly on doors and windows to prevent pest entry.
- Cover food and drink containers to help limit food sources for bees and wasps.
- Call a licensed pest control professional for nest treatment and removal, and mosquito and other summer pest control services.
- People who experience severe allergic reactions to stings should consult a physician immediately when stung.
To view a video with summer safety pest tips, visit https://www.orkin.com/ask-the-orkin-man/summersafety.