As we spend more time outside, we are bound to encounter various types of insects, some good, some bad. There are several types of bees, wasps and hornets that may cause you harm. Even though these insects are beneficial they can sting and may cause a painful and severe reaction.
Everyone knows that honey bees and bumble bees are beneficial because they are key pollinators and honey bees well, make honey ( the only food that we consume when stored properly will never go bad). Honey bees and Bumble bees will on sting you as a last resort (if their hive is threatened). When these bees sting the stinger becomes embedded in its target. This is very traumatic for the bee and it will die.
Here are some honey bees that created a hive on a tree branch.
Yellow jackets, hornets and other members of the wasp/hornet family are beneficial as well. They also do some pollination but they feed their young insects that would otherwise damage crops and ornamental plants in your garden. They can also feed on house flies and blow fly larva. Since wasps and hornets are predators and kill other insects for food, they can sting multiple times.
This is a ground nest that is usually found while mowing the lawn. The vibration of the lawn mower aggravates the yellow jackets and they become very aggressive
Here is a wasp/hornet nest hidden in some shrubs. The wasp/hornets will be peaceful until the nest becomes larger and they become more territorial. Any touching of the branches can provoke a very aggressive response.
Wasps, yellow jackets and hornets make nests that are covered and protected by a gray paper mache type material and will become aggressive when their nests are approached or disturbed. This often happens when we are doing yard work and unknowingly stumble across a nest.
This is often when people and animals are stung. While these stings are painful (and life threatening to those that are allergic), these insects should be respected.
Here are a couple of quick tips to reduce bee and wasp interactions during the summer:
- Keep your beverage closed. If drinking out of a can, put a napkin or something on the top to cover the opening. Bees and wasps love anything sweet and if it’s really hot they want a drink also.
- Refrain from wearing “sweet” smelling perfume. The oils used to produce that perfume are most likely from flowers and plants and can attract unwanted attention.
- Be careful around garbage cans and dumpsters. Not only will garbage can and dumpsters attract flies but also bees and wasps for the cap full of your drink left in the bottle.
- Most importantly, be aware of what’s around you. If you are allergic, make sure you have your Epi-Pen with you and that it hasn’t expired.