Hives and Nests Are Often Found:
- Inside hollow trees, walls and attics.
- Inside pipes or under shingles
- In shrubs and hedges
- In abandoned tires and crates
- Under logs and piles of rocks
- Inside holes in the ground
Reduce Your Likelihood For Getting Stung/Bitten:
- Do not use scented deodorant, cologne or perfume. (Fragrances attract insects.)
- Wear light-colored clothing.
- Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants. Cover your skin.
- Wear gloves when handling wood or vegetation.
- Tie back long hair to keep stinging insects from getting entangled.
- Empty trash cans regularly, keep them covered and don’t eat near them. Keep work areas clean. Social wasps thrive in places where humans discard food.
- Store your lunch in a lunchbox and your drink in a container with a lid.
- Remain calm and still if a single stinging insect is flying around. (Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.)
- 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.
- If you are able to, 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 an insect is inside your vehicle, stop slowly and open all the windows.
- Workers with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should consider carrying an epinephrine auto injector (Epi-Pen) and should wear a medical identification (Medic Alert) bracelet or necklace stating their allergy. Alert your coworkers to your allergy.
If You Are Stung or Bitten:
- Have someone stay with the worker in case of allergic reaction.
- Use your Epi-pen if experiencing swelling around the mouth or difficulty breathing. Call 911.
- Wash the area with soap and water to prevent infection.
- Remove the stinger using gauze wiped over the area or by scraping a fingernail over the area. Bees leave stingers. Wasps and hornets do not and can sting repeatedly.
- Apply a cool compress to reduce swelling. Ice can help also.
- Apply cream or gel with lidocaine to help control pain and calamine lotion or hydrocortizone to help with itching.
- Use an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen and an antihistamine like Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) if you are not allergic.
- Do not scratch, you can infect the wound.
- Get medical help if you develop allergic symptoms, signs of infection or tissue damage.
- The pain, swelling and itching will usually subside after 48 hours.
Fortunately, bees and other stinging insects do not usually attacking anyone unless they have been startled, so never swat at them or wave your arms. Let them fly away on their own. If you must walk, do so slowly. The only exception is if you have disturbed the nest and you hear lots of buzzing. In that case, cover your face with your hands and run. When you know what to do and you don’t panic, chances are they will leave you alone.