Bee, wasp, hornet and yellow jacket stings are painful and can cause symptoms ranging from headaches, fever and fatigue to vomiting and convulsions. Stings can also be deadly to those who are allergic to their venom. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, bee, wasp, hornet, yellow jacket and fire ant stings are the cause of about 500,000 allergy-related emergency room visits each year and at least 40 deaths in the U.S. from anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction.
Africanized honey bees, also known as killer bees, are typical throughout the southeastern U.S., but can be found throughout the country. They, too, are opportunistic when it comes to building nests and will make their home just about anywhere, warns Warneke.
"It is best to stay away from all bees because they are difficult to identify," said Warneke. "All honey bees have a pheromone in their stingers that will attract other honey bees, and that could lead to additional stings."
Warneke recommends the following tips to help prevent flying, stinging insects from being attracted to your home:
- Remove all unnecessary food and water sources.
- Seal cracks and crevices around doors and windows.
- Clean up spilled food and drinks immediately, and keep drinks covered.
- Keep gutters clear, and direct water from downspouts away from your home.
- Thin vegetation, and do not pile mulch or allow soil to accumulate against your home's siding. This could provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and access for ants to enter your home.