Stinging Insects Perk up as Summer Winds Down
As summer slowly begins to wind down, stinging insects are entering into their most active time of year as they forage for food that will sustain them during the winter. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds those spending time outdoors that stinging insects, such as bees, wasps, and hornets, remain a threat even as the days get shorter.
While some stinging insects are beneficial in that they pollinate plants and eat other harmful insects, they also send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. For the majority of Americans, stings cause localized swelling and pain. However, 3 percent of the population experiences severe allergic reactions such as rashes, hives, and shortness of breath.
“When spending time outdoors in the late summer and even into fall, it’s essential to avoid stinging insects,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Stinging insects can be a source of great anxiety for fear that they might sting, however bees and yellowjackets rarely do so unless provoked. People should do their best to keep calm and avoid panicking and swatting and instead, gently blow on it from a distance so it does not feel threatened.”
When stings do occur, doctors recommend taking quick action to alleviate symptoms. “Remove the stinger immediately and then clean the sting site with soap and cold water and apply ice,” said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical advisor for the NPMA. “Consider taking a pain reliever or antihistamine, or applying hydrocortisone ointment to help calm the reaction. And, if you or a family member is allergic, learn how to use an epinephrine kit and carry it with you at all times.”
If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your property, do not attempt to move it on your own. Contact a pest professional to safely remove the threat.