Partners Human Resources and Payroll

Stinging Insects Safety


Summertime is upon us once again and many of us will head to the great outdoors, wonderful sunlight, fun times, and LOTS of yardwork! These outdoor activities are the norm which also means that it often crosses paths with the unwanted presence of “things that sting.”

 Stinging or biting insects include honey bees, bumble bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, and fire ants. Bees, wasps, and hornets are found throughout the U.S.

 The stinger (formally called an aculeus), which is connected to a venom sac, is a modified egg-laying tube

(ovipositor). So, if you are stung, it was a female insect that committed the crime!!! In North America, yellow jacket wasps are involved in about 70% of the stings to humans. They are often mistaken for bees because of their yellow and black bodies. Most stinging insects (wasps and hornets) can sting you more

than once. One exception is the honey bee (worker bee) which has a barbed sting. When the worker bee escapes after stinging a person, the sting and attached venom sac are ripped out of the bee and stay in the victim's skin; the bee will die afterwards.

The health effects of stinging or biting insects or scorpions range from mild discomfort or pain to a lethal reaction for those persons allergic to the insect’s venom. Anaphylactic shock is the body’s severe allergic reaction to a bite or sting and requires immediate emergency care. Thousands of people are stung by insects each year, and as many as 90–100 people in the United States die because of allergic reactions. This number may be underreported as deaths may be mistakenly diagnosed as heart attacks or sunstrokes or may be attributed to other causes.

 Here are some Safety guidelines to minimize an attack:

  • · Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing.
  • · Avoid perfumed soaps, shampoos, and deodorants.
  • . Don't wear cologne or perfume.
  • . Avoid bananas and banana-scented toiletries.
  • · Wear clean clothing and bathe daily. (Sweat may anger bees.)
  • · Wear clothing to cover as much of the body as possible.
  • · Avoid flowering plants when possible.
  • · Keep work areas clean. Social wasps thrive in places where humans discard food.
  • · Remain calm and still if a single stinging insect is flying around. (Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.)
  • · Cover all food and beverage containers when not consuming – or you’ll be in for a VERY NASTY surprise when you sip that liquid!!!
  • · If you are attacked by several stinging insects at once, run to get away from them. (Bees release a chemical when they sting, which may attract other bees.)
  • . Go indoors.
  • . A shaded area is better than an open area to get away from the insects.


While each species may have a favorite type of nesting spot, in general, nesting places can be anywhere and include:

  • · Inside hollow trees, or in walls, attic, etc. (the entrance is usually a very small hole).
  • · Nests that hang from branches or overhangs such as eaves of a building.
  • · In shrubs, bushes, hedges, or on tree limbs.
  • · In rubber tires, crates, boxes, abandoned vehicles, etc.
  • · Under shrubs, logs, piles of rocks and other protected sites.
  • · Inside rodent burrows or other holes in the ground.


Note that some insects can chew through ceilings and walls to get into other rooms, while others can bore into wood or dirt to make tunnels or enlarge the hole for their nest.

To prevent these stinging insects from moving into buildings or other structures, keep holes and entry spaces caulked and screen any ventilation openings.

o DO NOT try to get rid of the nest or hive yourself. Each type of insect or situation will likely need different removal methods. It is best to call pest control professionals for this service.

o If you are able to physically move out of the area, do not to attempt to jump into water. Some insects (particularly Africanized Honey Bees) are known to hover above the water, continuing to sting once you surface for air.

  • · If a bee comes inside your vehicle, STAY CALM, slowly stop the car, and open all the windows.
  • · People with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should consider carrying an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen) and should wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.


  • · Have someone stay with the person to be sure that they do not have an allergic reaction.
  • · Wash the site with soap and water.
  • · Remove the stinger using gauze wiped over the area or by scraping a fingernail over the area.
  • . Never squeeze the stinger or use tweezers.
  • · Apply ice to reduce swelling.
  • · Do not scratch the sting as this may increase swelling, itching, and risk of infection.
  • · If symptoms worsen beyond swelling and itching, get immediate medical attention – better safe than sorry!!!

In closing: When engaged in any outdoor activities, please remain situationally aware for those little “stinging nasties.” Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment on your proposed outdoor areas, eliminate or avoid the potential nuisance hazards, and remain pain and injury-free!!

Partners would like to wish all of you a Happy and Safe Summer, Vacation or just family fun time. “Be Safe”

Posted on: June 22nd, 2017


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