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Spring Pest Series: Bring on the Bees!

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Even though the calendar doesn’t make it official for another week, spring is definitely in the air! That wonderful warmer weather, however, brings with it an increased number of pests to watch out for. In fact, you can take the phrase ‘the birds and the bees’ literally, as you’ll see lots of both this spring.

These are the months when bees (and wasps) start to build their hives and nests for the summer. Bees and wasps are very different. Bees are hairy and either all black or black and brown with orange or yellow stripes. Wasps are smooth and shiny, have four wings, and have bright black and yellow patterns. They also sting differently. Bees give you all they’ve got—they inject all their poison in one sting (up to 50 micrograms), leave their stinger inside your skin, and die. Wasps repeatedly inject a small amount of venom (about 15 micrograms) and retain their stinger. Bee venom and wasp venom are quite different from each other. The effects are similar, such as painful itchy swelling and redness at the sting site, but you may be highly allergic to one and not the other.

You can develop an allergy to one or the other over time, so just because you’ve been stung before and not had a bad reaction doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future. People with severe reactions experience anaphylaxis, which causes the mouth and throat to close up. If you know you have a severe allergy to either bees or wasps, make sure you always carry an Epi-Pen with you.

If you do get stung, simply treat the area with soap and water and apply a cold pack to reduce pain and swelling. Antihistamines can help prevent problems like swelling and itching, and an ibuprofen can reduce pain. If you start to have other symptoms after being stung, such as dizziness or trouble swallowing, call your doctor immediately.

To avoid attracting wasps or bees, stay away from perfumes and colognes or highly-scented lotions. They are also drawn to bright colors and floral patterns and like your sugary foods and drinks. Don’t swat at them if they land on you; rather, stay very still and they will likely simply fly away. Swatting can aggravate wasps, and you don’t want to hurt bees, as they are actually a very important part of spring pollination.

If you find a hive on your property, call a professional to have it removed. Green Pest Control is happy to help with this and any other spring pest problems. As these and many other overwintering insects start to wake up and celebrate spring, be proactive and protect your home and outdoor space. Call Green Pest Control today.