Bees and wasps are very active in the spring and summertime in Arizona. They wouldn’t be as intimidating, if it weren’t for those painful stings. And for those of you who are severely allergic to bee and wasp stings, there is much more to fear than a painful poke. In severe cases, stings can cause deadly physical symptoms in no time at all. Whether you are allergic or not, bees and wasps should try to be avoided at all costs. So it’s important to know more about these insects, their behaviors, and how to steer clear of those stings this summer!
Understanding the Insect
There are over 1,000 different species of bees in Arizona. Each species have different purposes and behaviors that could make them more or less harmful to humans. One of the most dangerous type of bee in Arizona is the Africanized Honey Bee. These bees are also commonly known as “Killer Bees.” So why such a harsh name? These bees go to the extreme when protecting their colonies. They are much more sensitive to threats, and can detect a threat from farther distances away. A “threat” to an Africanized Honeybee could include a child riding their bike to close to a hive or a landscaper trimming trees and bushes nearby. They don’t need an adamant reason to attack, and when they do, they are aggressive and persistent. Thus giving them the name “Killer Bees.”
While there are many species of wasps, the one most commonly seen in Arizona is the Paper Wasp. These wasps typically feed themselves from pollen or nectar, and even the occasional insect. While they aren’t as aggressive as bees when it comes to defending their nests, they will sting if provoked, or their nest is physically disturbed. The smaller barbs on their stingers allow them to sting multiple times without loosing their stingers inside their victims. A Paper Wasp sting inflicts severe pain and possibly dangerous physical symptoms for those who are allergic to wasp venom.
Protecting Yourself from Stings
Steps that you can take to avoid the dreaded bee and wasp stings this summer are very similar. Make sure to consider the following precautions to keep yourself safe from stings this summer.
- Be Aware- Make sure to be on the look out for signs of nearby bees or wasps. Watch out for nests and hives that could in or around your home. It’s also common to find wasps and bees floating in pools and attached to pool rafts and equipment, so be sure to keep your eyes open, whenever you’re outdoors.
- Check Your Soda Cans- Whether your hanging out by the pool, at a picnic, or another outdoor activity, make sure to keep an eye on your containers holding sweet liquids like soda or lemonade. Bees and wasps will crawl right inside a can without you even knowing.
- Stay Calm- Bees and wasps are able to communicate with each other to send signals of danger. If you see a bee or a wasp and begin doing a crazy “Oh my gosh, there’s a bee” dance, that one bee is likely to call others, so try to stay calm and move slowly away from the bee or wasp.
- Wear Neutral Colors- When taking a stroll outside in your favorite red shirt, you might notice that your having to duck and dodge bees and wasps more than usual. This is because when bees and wasps notice a bright color- their instincts think “flower.”
- Clean Up Spills- Accidentally drop your soda? Or maybe the trash leaked all over the garbage can? Whatever the spill, make sure it is properly washed and cleaned to avoid unwanted bee and wasp activity.
- Avoid Cologne or Perfume- Bees and wasps are naturally enticed by sweet smelling odors. A great strategy for keeping them away is to skip the spritz of perfume or cologne before you go outdoors.
- Keep Those Shoes On- As much as we all like the feel of grass between our toes, beware that thick grass could be harboring some stinging insects that you probably would want to avoid. So on the next trip to the park, keep those toes covered.
- Close Windows- In the summertime in Arizona, most of our windows stay closed to preserve every ounce of cool air from our precious air conditioners. But, another great reason to keep those windows closed, is to keep bees and wasps outdoors where they belong.
Treatment for Stings
Treatment for bee and wasp stings may vary depending on the severity of the sting and if the person stung as an allergy to bee or wasp venom. For a non-allergic person first make sure the stinger is removed from the area. The best way of doing this is scraping the area with a thin object such as a paper or a credit card. Then apply ice, on for 20 and off for 20 to keep swelling to a minimum. For extra precaution, you can take an antihistamine to lessen any reaction. Lastly, you can take general pain medication such as ibuprofen to help reduce some of the soreness.
Stay Safe from Stings
A bee or wasp sting has the potential to ruin a perfectly fun summer day. Unfortunately, bees and wasps are going to be around this summer, so you have to do what you can to steer clear of them and protect yourself and your family from painful stings that could even cause severe physical symptoms. To help keep you out of harms way from these stings, keep this list of precautions in the back of your mind especially when going outside this summer.
If you are encountering nest or hives around the vicinity of your home, do not attempt to remove them yourself. Make sure to call a professional pest control company that has experience with bee and wasp control. At Arizona’s Best Choice Pest and Termite Services, we have over 16 years of experience helping Phoenix, AZ family solve their pest problems. We would be more than happy to help you too!