After bees hibernate for the winter, it is no surprise that they are awake and extremely active during the summer months. For humans, however, getting stung by a bee can ruin a beautiful summer day, or in the case of allergy, turn it into a medical emergency. About 2 million Americans have allergies to the venom of stinging insects, so a person’s first bee sting can often be extremely frightening due to the element of the unknown. For these reasons, it is important to take precautions whenever you are outside and in an area that is prone to bees.

To avoid attracting bees to your person, steer clear of anything that might cause a bee to mistake you for the flowers where it gathers its pollen. This includes wearing bright colors such as yellow or red, putting on heavily scented lotions or shampoos, and especially being in close proximity to anything with a floral pattern. Bees use their sense of smell when locating flowers to pollinate, as well as being attracted to bright colors by their pollination instincts. Shiny things can also serve as a homing beacon to bees, along with anything that would light up under a black light because bees can see in the ultraviolet range.

Always wear shoes when walking in grassy areas, as bees will be startled and more likely to sting if you accidentally step on or near them, so shoes can provide a first layer of protection. Long pants are also a good idea if you know you will be walking in high grass or areas populated by ground bees. Bees have also been proven to have a lower threshold for stinging people with hats on because hair reminds them of furry animals who are likely to steal their honey. Insect repellent, especially one that contains DEET, can also deter bees from approaching you, as well as protecting from a variety other insects including mosquitoes.

In the event that the preventative measures are not effective and you are approached by a bee, there are still many ways to avoid getting stung, since it is purely a defensive action of the part of the bee. If you are not perceived as a threat, they will not sting, so do not swat at them or make any sudden movement. Instead, hold extremely still and wait for them to move on or back away extremely slowly. You can also try blowing gently on the bee, which will encourage it to move on while not startling it.

If bees are a common occurrence near your home, there is most likely a nest nearby. In the event that you find a bee or wasp nest in your yard, contact someone to remove it. Do not try to remove the nest yourself, as serious injury may occur.

Be Safe from Bees this Summer in Virginia

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