If you plan to spend a lot of time relaxing in your backyard this summer, the last thing you want to be bothered by are stinging insects. Bees, wasps and yellow jackets may try to share your yard with you, which puts you and your family at risk of being stung. Here is what to look for, what to do if you see these pests, and how to act if stung by one of them.
Identifying the Insect Nests
Each of these pests behaves differently, so you'll quickly get to know them by where they live and how they behave.
Bees - You'll find these large nests built in trees, under roof overhangs or in the walls of old buildings. The workers are normally calm and always in search of food. They will avoid you if in their path, but they will become aggressive if the nest is threatened. Bees will hesitate to sting, however, because once the bee stings, it often dies.
Yellow Jackets - These large nests can also be found in trees, but are often constructed in the corners of buildings, under roof rafters, and in abandoned cars and appliances. Some yellow jackets build nests under the ground. You may see these insects coming out of holes in the ground, indicating where the nest resides. They are normally calm but quick to become aggressive if the nest is disturbed. Unlike bees, yellow jackets can sting more than once.
Wasps - These insects prefer to build small nests in sheltered areas. You may find them in garden sheds, garages or in your attic. The nests are much smaller than bee and yellow jacket nests and they don't appear in as large a population. Wasps will sting without any provocation and they can sting numerous times before they fly away.
What to Do When You Spot a Nest
The first rule is to not disturb the nest, even if you don't see individuals on them. Contact an insect control company to inspect and remove the nest. If it's an active bees nest, they may get in touch with local bee keepers to see if they want to extract them. Yellow jacket and wasp nests get soaked with a pesticide. When there is no sign of activity, the company will cut down and bag up the nest for removal.
Whenever you have a pest control service come out to remove a nest, do not let family, especially children, or pets be in the yard at the same time. The risk of getting stung is high and should someone be allergic to the insect venom, a life threatening reaction can occur.
What to Do If Stung
If someone gets stung while in the yard and they suddenly feel hot and have difficulty breathing, this is an allergic reaction and you need to take that person to an emergency center quickly. If one is not near you, call 911 for help. The person could stop breathing completely if the reaction continues.
Most stinging experiences will not be this dramatic and will heal on their own. Here are some things you can do to be more comfortable after being stung:
- Remove the stinger if you can see it poking out of the skin.
- If stung on an arm or leg, elevate it above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
- Hold an ice pack on the stung area for several minutes.
- Take an antihistamine to counter inflammation and itching.
- Continue the elevation, ice pack and antihistamine for several hours until the swelling stops.
To learn more about insect control, contact Garrie Pest Control.