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'Bee' Safe This Summer!

Summer is filled with sun and fun, but danger lurks around every bush...Yep, it's Wasps, Fire Ants, Honey Bees, and Hornets; Oh my!!! Let's dig in and find out what we need to know to take the 'sting' out of summer! :()

First let's distinguish the differences of bee insect types:

[ I thought we deserved at least one cute, less 'insect-y' pic! LOL ]

Honeybees: have round fuzzy bodies with dark brown and yellow markings. They can be found in honeycombs located in trees, onto structures, such as the side of a house or other dwelling, under leaf piles, old tires and other structures with partially protected sites.

Not often hostile and only stings if actively provoked.

Hornets: black, or brown flying insects with orange, white or yellow markings. They build nests that are brown or grey and can be found in attics, walls, hollow trees, buildings or bushes.

Hornets can be aggressive if near nests.

Yellowjackets: can be found in many different climates and are black with yellow markings. They usually build nests underground, but can also be found in walls of buildings, masonry cracks and wood piles. Yikes!!

Paper Wasps: are slim flying insects with red, black, brown, or yellow markings. They live in circular shaped combs under eaves, in shrubs, holes in the ground, holes in wall spaces, porches and doorways, behind shutters or in woodpiles.

Generally will only sting if they feel threatened or are provoked.

Fire Ants: Reddish brown ants that live in large mounds in mostly warmer climates. They're known to attack with little warning and by inserting very highly concentrated toxins that cause pain and burning. Eew!

These ants can be found in the moist soil in parks and playgrounds, by ponds, building piles holes in walls and in foundations.

Bees and ants are attracted to sugary beverages and food so be sure to keep all food and drink in sealed containers when eating outdoors.

Anaphylaxis symptoms include:

* Swelling of face and throat or tongue

* Dizziness

* Difficulty breathing

* Stomach Cramps

* Nausea or Diarrhea

* Itchiness and Hives over large areas of the body

How to treat and manage insect stings:

First; if you think you may be allergic to stinging insects getting a diagnosis is essential. A board certified allergist can conduct a health history and allergy testing to determine if any allergens can put you at risk for serious allergic reactions to these insect stings.

Removing, (by having destroyed) hives and nests near and around your home is key because insects are most likely to sting if their homes are disturbed. It's best to hire a trained terminator to avoid any potential backlash, this is dangerous and should be taken seriously.

If you find yourself among stinging insects, [try] to remain calm and quiet and slowly move away. Running can aggravate these insects which can cause them to attack.

Avoid wearing perfumes or other sweet smelling body products while outdoors, along with bright colored clothing, because it attracts stinging insects and you don't want to mistaken for a beautiful flower!! :()

Avoid walking barefoot and it's best to wear closed toe shoes to lessen chances of a sting if you accidentally step on a stinging insect. Be careful of too loose fitting garments because they can act as traps for bees and other stinging insects.

If you are stung and experience an anaphylactic reaction INJECT your epi-Pen (or the like) at once and call 911 or if you are with someone have them do so. It's important if you're a parent with an insect allergy to train your kids ( if they are old enough to understand what to do) how to inject your epi-Pen, in case you're unable to call 911.

After a sting episode make an appointment to see your health care provider. If this is your first sting make sure you are tested and educated on what actions to take in the future. Your allergist may suggest Immunotherapy, or allergy shots as a long term treatment for stinging insect allergies.

Let's go into the summer season prepared so we can enjoy the outdoors safely!

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