The late summer and early fall are popular times to spend outdoors at barbeques or completing home maintenance projects. But it’s also the season that stinging insects including yellow jackets, wasps, and Africanized “killer” bees are most active and aggressive, leading to an increased number of stings. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that more than 500,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year due to insect stings and reminds people to take caution to protect themselves this season.
“By the late summer, stinging insect colonies can contain upwards of 4,000 members,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Most species are busy preparing their queen for the winter ahead, and, therefore, are more aggressive than earlier in the season.”
One of the most common stinging insects is the yellow jacket, which build nests on tress and buildings as well as in the ground. Yellow jackets can sting several times, although they are not normally aggressive unless their nest is threatened. Wasps, however, are known for their unprovoked aggression. They commonly nest on ceiling beams in attics, garages, and sheds. Africanized “killer” bees are often confused with honeybees, but their venom is more dangerous and the species is known for attacking in large numbers if their nest is threatened. They can nest in strange places such as tires and empty cars.
NPMA offers the following tips for avoiding stinging insects:
- Wear shoes when outdoors, especially in grassy areas.
- Keep windows and doors screened.
- Keep garbage in sealed receptacles.
- Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
- If stung, seek immediate medical attention as reactions can be severe.
If you suspect an infestation or notice a hive or nest on your property, contact Pest Ops to rid your property of these unwanted pests and to prevent future infestations. To schedule an appointment, click here or call our office at (865) 966-0750.