5 tips to protect customers against stinging insects


April 2, 2024

Eric Ham

Eric Ham

Stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year, becoming extremely active in late summer and early fall when their colonies forage for food to sustain their queens during the winter months. This situation needs to be stressed to your customers so they can take proper precautions to protect themselves. Here are five tips to pass on to your customers to keep summer safe and fun:

1. Seal cracks and crevices. One effective way to prevent and reduce infestation of these insects — and most other pests — is to eliminate access and harborage sites around the home. Stinging insects often build their nests inside attics and chimneys, behind porch lights and under decks or eaves. Homeowners should seal all visible cracks and crevices to keep these pests from moving indoors and regularly inspect around the yard and along the perimeter of the house for nests.

2. Avoid using fragrances. Yellowjackets and other stinging insects are attracted to sweet-smelling scents. If spending long periods of time outdoors, avoid excessive use of perfume or cologne. When possible, also choose unscented shampoos, soaps, lotions and sunscreen.

3. Adjust your wardrobe. Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, because these patterns are known to attract stinging insects. It’s also important to wear closed-toe shoes, especially in grassy areas as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) and some hornets often nest there.

4. Keep food covered. Have you ever been to an outdoor gathering where bees or yellowjackets are swarming around the table of hamburgers, chips and fruit? Stinging insects are attracted to exposed food and open garbage cans. To avoid an unwanted pest encounter during a picnic or cookout, cover all food when outside, and keep tight-fitting lids on trash bins.

5. Remain calm. If a stinging insect is flying nearby, many people’s first reaction is to either swat the insect away or flail their arms in panic. However, these movements may provoke an attack. Do not swat the pest, but rather, remain calm and slowly walk from the area. It should fly away without causing any harm. If you do get stung, carefully remove the stinger and seek medical attention, as reactions can be severe in some cases.

If we pass this information along to our customers, hopefully we can protect them from issues with stinging insects and they can spend their time outdoors safe and protected.


About the Author

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Ham is the key customer manager for FMC Corp.

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