Experts share top tips for stinging insects


July 5, 2019



We asked Pest Management Professional’s columnists and editorial board members to share some insights about stinging insects. We asked: Beyond calling a beekeeper when appropriate, what’s your best tip for dealing with stinging insects? Here are some of their responses — including a few extra that didn’t make it into our June print edition.

Dr. Gary Bennett: If possible, perform the work at night so that all the worker stinging insects are back in the colony. Wear personal protection equipment so you don’t end up a sting victim.

Ray Johnson: Make sure any employee who is allergic to stinging insects has an epinephrine auto-injector with them at all times. Over the years, I’ve had two employees who were stung on the job, and their “pen” was a life-saver.

Dr. Faith Oi: Be aware of your surroundings. Insects sting because they are defending something.

Pete Schopen: Wear the proper personal protective equipment. A lot of guys — me included — were taught to “man up” and just go attack the nest. It’s just silly if you purposefully avoid wearing protective equipment.

Paul Hardy: Always wear the appropriate personal protection equipment. What can happen will happen when you are least expecting it.

Mark Sheperdigian: Wear a bee suit. Tape up the big holes in the suit so you don’t have to run. Treat them at night. Stinging insects won’t fly out into the dark.

Stuart Aust: It should be mandatory that all service technicians wear bee suits with a veil for their safety and protection.

Dr. Stephen Vantassel: Wear a quality bee suit.

Frank Meek/Donal Butterly, Orkin Ireland: Be respectful of stinging insects. Don’t get complacent. The unexpected is what you have to watch for.

Judy Black:

  1. When taking off your bee suit, have a buddy — or maybe the customer — take a look at your back to make sure there aren’t any resting on your suit. They will likely sting if you disturb them while removing the suit. If you can’t find a buddy, run your gloved hand slowly over as much of the back side of your body as you can. Pay particular attention to the neck and back of your knees, as those are the two places I’ve been stung the most when taking off a bee suit.
  2. Approach a stinging insect nest from a side away from the entrance. Do not walk or put your body right in front of the entrance.
  3. If a stinging insect gets inside your head net, do not panic. Calmly walk a safe distance away from the nest you are working on, and slowly remove the head net.
  4. Your goal should be to never be stung. If you are stung, assess how you feel. If you start feeling any symptoms related to an allergic reaction, seek help immediately. People in their 60s who have never reacted badly to a sting before have had anaphylactic shock from a sting.

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