The Pest Control Blog North America

Wasps & Yellow Handbags – Do Not Mix!

common waspUntil my unfortunate wasp sting last weekend I don’t recall being stung by a wasp for many, many years.

My earliest memory of wasp stings is from my childhood (like Danusia’s wasp story) and my Hungarian grandmother insisting on dabbing strong vinegar on to the sting, which I feared almost more than the sting itself! It is supposed to ease the pain but all I remember is that it made it sting even more! Plus I don’t remember reacting very badly to the stings back then.

Small yellow handbag vs waspsLast weekend though, walking around a garden centre with my beloved yellow handbag (a mistake, which will not be repeated) I was stung by a wasp on my arm, which was carrying said handbag. It was a very sharp, quick pain followed by throbbing, swelling and a little rash. By the end of the night this had calmed down but for the following 2 days the rash got more severe and redder – it was not a pretty sight.

As we enter the wasp season, which may well mean more wasps this year, I thought I would share my tips for trying to avoid painful wasp stings – unfortunately there are no guarantees though.

  • Don’t flap your arms about to try and get rid of them – you will only make them angrier and more likely to sting you ( apparently they don’t need much provocation to sting you in the first place – vicious, I know!)
  • Don’t wear yellow , or any other bright colour, which will attract wasps. In my experience, yellow to a wasp, is like wearing red in front of a bull – a big no, unless, of course, you are a trained bull fighter!
  • Don’t wear strong perfume / deodorants – I am not advocating lowering your personal hygiene standards just to avoid a wasp sting, but you can probably go easy on the perfume every now and then.
  • Tidy away sweet drinks and foods – when eating outdoors, try to tidy away any leftover foods and drinks and empty, unused cups & plates, which could attract wasps to your party.
  • Use insect repellent – this can hopefully help to deter wasps and other stinging insects from getting close enough to you to sting you.
  • Minimise exposed skin – by wearing a long sleeve top in stead of a t-shirt and trousers instead of shorts – I know this is the last thing you will want to do just as the sun comes out, but it is particularly advisable to those people, who react very badly to wasp stings.
  • Avoid places where wasps like to be – orchards are prime locations with all the potential sweet ripening fruits to attract them and keep them busy. (oh, but if you do decide to go fruit picking, perhaps wear gloves?)
  • Avoid wasp nests – of course, this is logical, however, tell that to the girl I know who stuck her leg through a wasp nest (admittedly by accident as she did not see the nest) on a camp site and was chased away by hundreds of wasps. Her poor mother spent the rest of the evening, removing dead wasps which had got tangled up in her long, thick hair.

If you find you have too many wasps in and around your home this year, it may well indicate that there is a wasp nest nearby. The best way then to get rid of the wasps, is to essentially remove the wasp nest. That way, hopefully, you can stay “wasp sting-free” this year. Good luck!

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6 Comments

  1. Posted June 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Brigitta,
    Nice blog post :-)

    This is just a quick note to say thanks very much for removing our wasp nest within 24hrs of calling your company!
    It was a very professional careful operation by Eddie today which left us with a really good impression of Rentokil.
    I will certainly recommend Rentokil to friends.
    Thanks again.
    Joe – Coachford – Cork – Ireland

  2. keith
    Posted July 1, 2010 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    I love this info, I can’t tell you the last time I was out flapping my arms around and carrying a yellow handbag. No really I can’t tell you the last time. LOL That story about the in ground next is really scary, we had them in Florida but I haven’t seen any in Arizona thank goodness. Great story and thanks

  3. Posted July 7, 2010 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Very nice and interesting post. If I remember right, the largest underground nests of wasps (invasive yellowjacket species) have been found in New Zealand. I think the mild climate makes them survive the winters and thus get the opportunity to grow their colonies to truly amazing sizes. I think the underground nests can reacha few feet in diameter. I really hope no one ever falls into one of those.

    By the way, is there an option to somehow lure them away from the place where you are sitting. I really did not enjoy being outside in Germany in August, as there were so many wasps buzzing around.

  4. Posted July 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Great tips, thanks! It’s hard to not swat them, which is everyone’s first reaction.

  5. Posted August 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I always steer well clear of yellow in any shape or form all summer. I am terrified of wasps.

  6. trisha
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Where did you get that yellow handbag…I love it!

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