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Avoiding Stinging Insects


Attire & Scents

Wear a hat and shoes that cover the whole foot (not sandals). In clothing, avoid bright colors, flowery prints and black, which can attract insects. Solid, light-colored clothing is best.  Cover as much of your body as possible with clothing.  Long-sleeved shirts and pants with the legs tucked into boots will minimize skin exposure for potential stings.  Avoid very loose clothing with folds in which insects could   become trapped.  Avoid shiny buckles and jewelry. 

Scents attract insects-avoid all scents on your person, including perfume, cologne, aftershave, scented soap, shampoo, deodorants, cosmetics and other personal care products.

Outdoor Recreation

People who have had systemic reactions (hives, lip or tongue swelling, difficulty breathing, etc) should never be alone outdoors since immediate help may be needed for emergency treatment if stung. Having a medical alert bracelet stating that one is allergic to insect stings is another safety measure (American Medical ID, Walmart, Custom Medical Bracelets, Medical Alert Bracelet).  Your physician may prescribe an Epi-Pen, which is self-injectable   epinephrine to use if you begin to have symptoms of an anaphylactic response. 


Patio and Yard

It is safest to hire a professional exterminator to assess your outdoor area and treat any stinging insect nests that are found.  Periodic examinations are needed, at least annually. 

When dining outdoors, keep food covered, especially those with sweet scents.  Keep garbage cans covered tightly. The scent of outdoor cooking or pet food can also attract stinging insects. It is best to avoid having fruit trees, especially near a dwelling.  If there are any, pick the fruits as soon as possible, and do not allow rotting fruit to accumulate on the ground. 

Keep away from plants known to attract stinging insects, such as flowers, clover and dandelions.  Vines, long grass, trees and the eaves of houses are frequent locations for nests.  Be cautious in these areas disturbing a next can provoke stinging.  Professional removal is recommended.

When a Stinging Insect Approaches You

If a stinging insect flies near you, slowly and calming cover your face with your hands.  Stand still or move away at a very slow pace. Rapid movement can   provoke at attack.  Do not swat at an insect on your skin- this can cause it to sting.  Crushing an insect can release pheromones that signal other insects in the area to attack

In a car

Always check your car for stinging insects before you get in, especially if a window has been open.  Consider using your a/c rather than open windows to cool the car, to minimize the chance of a stinging insect getting in the car. 


If a stinging insect does get into a moving car, do not panic.  Accidents have been caused by drivers swatting wildly at such an insect.  Open windows to allow the insect to get out of the car.  When safe, slow down and pull off the road.  Calmly leave the car if the insect will not leave. Have a non-allergic person deal with the insect.