Avoid pesky insect stings

Bees and wasps can be a pain to live around … literally. Exploring a number of traps and repellents could be the key to enjoy in the outdoors this season.


In the United States, at least 40 people die each year due to bee or wasp stings. Many other people face allergic reactions from the venom or serious pain.


Most bees are not aggressive and look to avoid scuffles with people.


They may sting out of perceived danger or fear or if a person comes too close to a nest or surprises the winged creature. Wasps, such as yellow jackets, could be a bit more spunky and territorial. Africanized killer bees do have the potential to swarm and be dangerous.



A first try at keeping wasps and bees away from outdoor living spaces should involve some sort of natural repellent. Many insects are put off by certain smells. You can try citronella. Some people swear by baby powder, and dust it on themselves and other areas of the garden.

One of the more effective repellents are mock wasp nests. Because these insects are territorial and will often fight to the death, they won’t build a nest too close to another wasp nest.



For those who have found that repellents simply aren’t making a dent in the bussing population, traps are the next option to try. It’s possible to make all-natural traps that don’t require harsh chemicals.


One of the most common traps can be made simply from an empty soda bottle. Cut off the top of the bottle so that it is in two parts, the round reservoir and the pouring spout. Fill the reservoir with water and a little dish liquid. Tie the bait to the bottom of the spout and invert the top of the bottle so that if forms a funnel into which the wasps will fly. Coat the entrance of the funnel with a little cooking oil or petroleum jelly so the wasp will slide into the opening. The wasp will investigate the bait and eventually tire of flying around inside of the bottle. The soapy water will be there to trap the wasp once it as fallen, and ensure that plain water tension will not suspend the wasp and prevent drowning.

If these types of traps are placed out early enough, an individual can sometimes trap the queen and cause the nest to be built elsewhere. Some tips include frequently changing the bait and burying the decease wasps so they cannot warn their friends of the danger through olfactory warnings. Different baits work better at different times of the year. In spring, try hamburger meat. In the summer, sweet sources of food such as crushed grapes will work.


Some people say that vinegar works to repel honeybees but can attract wasps. Others say that spraying bleach on wasps will kill them. Others argue it only angers them and causes it to sting. Commercial wasp sprays will be effective but can have a host of chemicals in them and may not be safe around children and pets. Sprays should be used as a last resort and used on existing nests or areas where bees are seen congregating. If hornets, wasps or other types of bees are nuisance that cannot be controlled by the homeowner, a professional should be brought in .  

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