We've all experienced it, the mad flapping and screaming of a person who has discovered a wasp buzzing around them when they are quietly enjoying a meal or a drink in the great outdoors. Not many of us are overly fond of wasps, especially the unlucky few who have been stung in the past and see these "pests" as vindictive, spiteful, venomous tormentors, apparently dead set on making our lives a misery and forcing us back to the dark realms of "Indoor Land".
One thing I have learned in my years on this planet, is that most of the problem is caused by the people themselves. Who can blame a wasp for stinging a person who is running round like a crazy person and flaying all their limbs around wildly in the vicinity of the wasp in question! As a child of about six years old I was unfortunate enough to be stung by one of these poor creatures. I was in the close vicinity of it's nest, (albeit unwittingly), and for no obvious reason to a six year old, it flew over and stung me on the hand. At the time it hurt, I cried, and my young male playmate killed the offending wasp, before returning me to my Mum for cuddles, ointments and reassurance. What I did learn from this experience was that moving around rapidly where wasps were flying was not a great idea. From that day on if a wasp flew anywhere near me I simply froze like a statue until it flew away again, and hey, guess what, I haven't been stung since, although I am now nearly 34 years older.
Wasps are actually pretty amazing little creatures if you make the effort to find out more about them. Next time one lands on your hand try examining it more closely without frantically trying to swat it away or kill it. It is also worth bearing in mind that if you do kill or harm a wasp, they will release a chemical signal that alerts the other wasps in the nest, (anything up to 10,000 of them), to send out a rescue mission. Unlike a bee, wasps do not die after stinging once, so potentially you could end up being stung multiple times by many thousands of these creatures. Even after they are dead, their sting can carry on going like a virtual machine gun, so it isn't as simple as just killing the insects, the sting lives on!!!
Of course part of the problem is that towards the end of the Summer these worker wasps have nothing left to do. They have fulfilled their mission of providing insects to feed the young grubs back in the nest, and now the queen has stopped rearing workers, and is concentrating her efforts on producing fertile males, mothers and new queens. To make matters worse she has stopped producing the hormone that keeps the wasp colony together within the nest. Needless to say the worker wasps act like many human males do after they have finished their work, and due to their sweet tooth they tend to head off down to the local pub and go for a beer and a snack, (sadly, in the wasp's case, usually someone else's!) Again, like many men, they become somewhat anti-social, or even aggressive after a few beers, so provoking them is not really a sensible move.
Believe it or not wasps do have their uses, and to lose them would be a tragedy in the food chain. Wasps help to control a host of insect pests in their hunt for food to nourish their hungry grubs back at the nest. If it wasn't for wasps we would be over-run with other less appealing insects that would otherwise destroy crops etc.
Hornets are another victim of bad press. Being a huge ( up to 2 inch) wasp, they are victimised by people even more so, yet are not aggressive unless provoked, in which case they can both sting and bite.
Another common, (and sad) misconception, is the misidentification of hoverflies for wasps. These harmless insects look like a much smaller version of a wasp, but have developed the black and yellow stripes as a form of protection to deter predators. Hoverflies have no sting, do not 'buzz' like a wasp or hornet, and are actually very good for the garden in terms of pollinating plants. There are over 270 varieties of hoverflies in Britain, many of which are migrants from the continent. It is incredible that a creature so small can travel so far, and a tragedy if they are killed by humans who are fooled by their colours, and ignorant of their true nature.
So next time you see a flying black and yellow striped insect in your immediate vicinity, try to curb your desire to swat them away, hit them with rolled up papers, scream out loud or run around flapping your limbs like a demented spider. Not only will this be a big plus for the environment, but you should avoid getting stung as well (plus avoiding the risk of killing the harmless hoverfly)!!! Instead, allow them to enjoy a few mouthfuls of your beer, a snack on your jam and a buzz round your table. They will soon move on, (and once they are slightly drunk they won't be capable of bothering you any more anyway!)
Dwain E. Buchanan on March 29, 2020:
Well at one time i didn't have a fear in wasp,just yellow jackets,recently at my work we got overly busy with reloading bundles of lumber.the normal was 50 to 100 units total between 5 to 8 customers, 1 customer had 500 bundles to guess starting dec 2018 through the summer of 2019.wasp nest on the sides in between stacks,so worried id stir em up,then i get home and 1 of my open door buildings are full of wasp,also carport,under 1 of my trucks im working on,front porch,over welmed i tell yeah,ive read alot about wasp and i cant tolerate this year,already im spraying peppermint soap and water everywhere to deter them,trying to spray them yesterday didnt kill them but i think they figured out what i was doing cause i had a red hooded on spraying house,ground and my truck,and my pull behind trailers just to spread the peppermint spray to keep them away,i got ready to leave and they 6 maybe hanging around my door,i wasnt swatting,but im ducking saying c'mon now,with a handful trying to unlock door i finally get in and they were at window,1 maybe 2,i back up and take red hoodie off in my red truck,put seat belt on and i see 1 still at window,i take off,check mail,carefully rolling down window,and get mail,go to atm and damn if a wasp wasnt there. Im about to go out and cover this truck before day break and try not to stir them up with plastic and tarp,let off 2 bombs,another time in a day or to,block off open door building let off 3 bombs,carport cover sides with tarp 3 bombs,im not playing this year but i read somewhere they dont see red,could have fooled me cause they acted like they wanted me.im not letting them rule me on my property
Joeycheeks on August 19, 2019:
Yesterday my family and I were enjoying a quiet picnic in the park. My kids were standing quietly looking out over the lake when a swarm of wasps just attacked them for literally no reason. My 6yo got stung 14 times, my 8yo 5 times, me 5 times whilst getting them off the kids and my hubby got stung once. The children did nothing to attract them or antagonise them, they quite simply appeared! I can only assume that they were stood near a nest and the wasps felt threatened. Until they started stinging there was no flapping, or running they were just stood watching a grebe on the lake bathing. So irrespective of what this article says I now hate the mofo's.
Wasp Hottie on August 17, 2019:
This is bogus. Wasps love me, I can be sitting still as a statue and they sting me. I don't know why. I have been sleeping in a tent and have been stung. Lying in a patio chair -- same thing. Watching an outdoor performance, calmly, and stung. It has absolutely nothing to do with flapping or anything that I am doing. I am seeking scientific data about why some people are targeted. Now I do wear sunscreen daily and wash using scented shampoos daily so maybe that's why. I also wear patterns. But that's the only thing I can think of.
Beelover33 on July 31, 2019:
I love all bees, wasps, and Hornets my favorite insects! I have a huge hornet chilling by my steps during the day and everyday! I don’t bother him he don’t bother me! They know I won’t hurt them and we live our lives happy in spring and summers
Dave on July 25, 2019:
Wasps sting when they feel threatened. They will sting you when in this state whether you are the threat or not.. This article is written by someone who has not studied wasps. When the weather heats up they get aggressive. They do not attack because 'you wave your arms around like a demented spider'. That is ridiculous and written by someone that loves to ridicule others. You can see this by the language used.. They attack then they feel threatened. They may not feel threatened by your actions, you can be an innocent bystander and still get stung. The heat can threaten their wellbeing and cause them to attack anything that moves close to them. False advice like this article can put peoples lives at risk. I am allergic to wasp stings and need rushing to hospital every time I get stung. The reason I have studied their behaviour and written about them. Many people say wasps never reuse old nests the following year, this is also untrue. I have personally documented this behaviour. Remove nests in the winter to avoid this. Ignore this article and get proper advice from almost anywhere else on the internet. Especially if wasp stings can cause you Anaphylactic shock like they do me. This can kill people which is why I find this article so dangerous.
Tin on July 20, 2019:
For some people who have a fear of insects and creepy crawlies, its kind of hard to stay still when a wasp comes buzzing around looking for something to sink its stinger into.
I disagree about wasps having a use. They are not useful what so ever unlike bees.
There are other better solutions for saving crops. If wasps became extinct, the human race would be better off. We will not miss them at all. There would be no imbalance in the food chain.
Phoenix on April 29, 2019:
Honestly, I got stung on my hand by accident when I was a kid, and then I just thought "Meh, it wasn't the wasp's fault." And I forgave it.
A couple of years later, however, I was just chilling in a garden, and I had my eyes closed. A wasp came and sat down on my face (mind you all, I wasn't moving) and it stung me under my eye for no goddamn reason. So, yeah, I do not like or trust wasps.
Jacob on April 21, 2019:
I am absolutely afraid of wasps, since I had my fair share of painful encounters when I was younger. I do try to stay still and typically they don't bother me, unless they just fly around me like a predator surrounding its pray before striking. (That's how I percieve it.) However, one time, a wasp landed on me, so I stayed the most absolute still, and as I stayed still, it continued to crawl on me, getting close to my ear and boy, was I scared. I had my dad come outside to get it to go away since I was so scared to move at all! Dad does most of the wasp killing, especially since I have poor aim with wasp spray. Overall, they are simply annoying for the fact of the fact they are intimidating, they build nests absolutely everywhere in the worst spots, they attack whenever they please, possibly for no reason, and etc. Yellow and black colors on an insect is not a good combo, but the honeybees are ok with me, just as long as they don't attack... And yes, while wasps have their uses, they seem to be menaces towards the human race, and there are reasons why they are seen as such.
serrra79 on September 17, 2018:
I've been looking everywhere for more scientific evidence that shows why some people are targeted by wasps when others are not. My daughter's joke and say that I'm the best but repellent because when I'm around they go after me all at once, leaving them alone. It's not just wasps (although I hate them the most), mosquitos, flies and even dragonflies seem to want to fly up my nose and in my ears. It's scientifically proven that people with the O blood type attract more mosquitos than the other blood types. I'm O- and they love me! Has anyone heard of this being true for wasps? I wonder how many people who've posted in the comments have O blood?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 02, 2018:
Well worth reading the comment 4 down from this one by Bumblelover36 if you have any doubts as to how necessary wasps are to the environment and how they help clean up our garden pests etc.
Cody on September 02, 2018:
I'm sorry, but in my experience, wasps are purely punks. I'm not among the "scream and run around flailing my limbs" crowd. When I see a wasp, I usually just try to ignore it. Live and let live. Yet, so many of these jerks make it their business to buzz around me, get in my face, and try to land on me and crawl up my shorts (male or female, the LAST place you want a wasp is crawling up your inner leg). They're nosy, intrusive, and then when you understandably try to wave them away so they're not all "up in your space", they turn aggressive and angrily buzz around you and/or try to sting. Punks, the whole lot of them. I've only been stung once, and that was as a kid. I was sitting on a wooden beam or something, kicking my feet against it, not knowing there was a wasp nest inside. That one's on me - I don't blame the wasps for that one. My hatred of them stems simply from the fact that they don't contribute nearly as much to the environment as bees, and seem to be far more intrusive and aggressive in my experience. I try not to kill them unnecessarily, but if they act like punks (which most of them do), I will turn into a mob boss and wipe out their whole family with no regrets.
Aaron on August 09, 2018:
I always see the advice to just stay still and they won't bother you, but experience tells me different.
I am 27 years old and I have NEVER been stung by a wasp, despite often living in rural areas where they are everywhere and constantly get inside the house. I attribute my luck to the fact that if one of these little bastards comes anywhere near me I swat at it to make it back off, and then I move swiftly away. Can't sting you if it's avoiding being smacked by a limb 10000x its size.
If a wasp is in the room I'm in I will not ignore it, I will not relax and will focus 100% of my energy into killing it.
Conversely, everyone else in my family has been stung multiple times, and many of them are part of the "just leave them be" brigade. It seems to me that they are getting stung BECAUSE they leave them alone.
I do not buy into the idea that they are smart enough to distinguish normal movements from aggressive ones, I think they sting on an impulse which is impossible to predict. If they never land on you then they won't sting you.
Wasps have no more right to this world than me, and they would kill me in a heartbeat if they could, so I feel no guilt in killing them. I would leave them alone if they really did only sting in genuine self-defence, but they don't, they sting because they have a brain the size of a pinhead and act purely on instinct.
I accept them for what they are, mindless flying syringes of venom liable to sting me, and they can accept me for what I am, a human that will swat, squish, and spray them if they make the mistake of hassling me.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 03, 2018:
Hi Bumblelover36, thanks for the great comment and all the history you have provided. Glad you appreciate how important all these creatures are to us.
To the best of my knowledge normal wasps don’t attack bees but it would be worth looking into this further as I can’t be certain if some types of wasp might target bees.
Bumblelover36 on August 03, 2018:
Hi, thank you for the article I just wanted to share my experiences. I love bees and hoverflies.
when I was a baby my mum found three bees in my nappy, goodness knows why and whenever I was ill my dr would ask if I’d been eating sweets as I smelt sweet. but I hadn’t, so I wonder if I emit some sort of hormone to attract our little winged friends. I am chronically ill now so often get asked what scent I’m wearing when I’m not wearing any and I think it’s the same deal as when I was little.
Luckily I adore bees and hoverflies so I just say hello when they visit me constantly and I used to let wasps sit on my hand and jam sandwich while I ate and never got stung.
The past week has tested my resolve with wasps however, I think there is a nest near my garden and have even killed a dozen in a frenzy of “leave me the eff alone!” without realising there was a chemical signal drawing more to come and sniff (yes, sniff lol) their dying brethren then look to me before getting irate. Now I understand and vow to try not to kill anymore.
I’ve been researching them a little and of course now it seems obvious they play a role in helping nature and I have absolutely no right to stop them.
I do have a question though, is it just hornets that kill bees? Are wasps a threat to them because it will test my resolve more if they are. Bees are my friends as are hoverflies so I hope they all can coexist? If not I will try getting a fake nest to keep them away I guess.
I have left a sacrificial nectarine to draw their fire and I’ve dabbed eucalyptus on my brolly/parasol and on my clothes as I hear they don’t like the smell. I’ve managed to have both a Coca Cola and a raspberry cordial in sparkling water by attaching lids and it seems to help a lot.
As much as I can see they have a place and a right to life I’d rather just talk to my bees and hoverflies. I’ve only been stung once by a wasp when one flew up my shorts while I was enjoying a sherbet dip dab lol and I got stung in the back by a poor bee who got caught in my hair.
I think over the years I’ve absorbed some of the fear from others, especially my sister who is famous for her wasp freak outs, hilarious! But I am going to make a concerted effort to get back to my child state of trust and if I get stung, well, there are worse things in the world. At least their pricks stop hurting when they leave lol (thinly veiled attempt at humour)
Keep informing people about all our nature allies (allies? Ally’s?) and fight the good fight, many thanks, a bee Allie (ally, Allie, one of those lol)
sam8988378 on July 23, 2018:
I'm a runner, at least when it comes to bees. I've heard that bees have no peripheral vision, so I duck behind the 1st tree I can find. I've never been stung, so something must be working. I originally was doing research on why yellowjackets are attracted to me, even though I don't wear perfume or scented products. Likely they can smell even the faintest of scent though. I was prompted to write to say 2 things. I stayed at a campground on the shores of Lake Erie, which had a stone shower & dressing room, open to the sky above. I showered and dressed, then noticed the huge black hornets, above. They pretty much stayed above. I could see them flying against the sky. When I left I found out there was a nest on the outside of the stone shower building. They didn't bother either me or my friend the entire time we stayed there. Score 1 for the writer of this article. The second thing is to warn people NOT to pick up those pale, off-white to brown colored spheres you might see in the woods. They house one apple gall wasp per sphere. I took two of them home within two weeks, and awakened to find a wasp flying around my bedroom. :ater on I found another wasp in my bedroom. I spoke rather sharply to the others in the house, accusing them of carelessly letting the wasps in when they used the front/back doors. Much later I found the broken spheres. Nope, no, not ever. Don't bring anything into your house until you know what it is.
Fuck wasps on May 15, 2018:
I'm pretty sure nature would figure out a way to balance out losing fucking wasps. Billions of years of evolution and more than 99% of all species that ever lived are extinct. People need to stop giving so much credit to one species. The earth will always move on after losing species.
Anyways, my mother found a big ass nest in her shed and was going to call an exterminator. But I came over, lit it on fire and the job was done. Hundreds, if not thousands of dead wasps on the floor. For the next half hour I was swatting like 20-30 survivors who kept coming back. Felt amazing.
VagineofArc on May 10, 2018:
They seem somewhat bigger that I remember. When I was younger the wasps were tiny, but now they are big. I had to kill two. One came into my bed and touched my leg. I screamed and flicked it. I ran to get some house spray and gassed it to death. The next day another one comes in through the window. My windows closed but they manage to get in from above?
Mischa on May 07, 2018:
Totally don’t trust wasps OR bees for that matter. This explains to freeze up and wait for it to move on. LIES!!! Defiantly minding my own business enjoying my food. I see a wasp... I freeze since I read a similar article back in school to not move. The little bugger flew around landed on my arm, and then it Stung me. I did nothing to aggravate it. I have a high pain threshold normally so I didn’t move and thought it was just ornery. Waited for it to get tired or fly away... nope the wasp flew about a couple of inches down and then stung me right between my ring and pinkie finger. That hurt a lot :( my friends said it was a random wasp and normally that’s the right attitude. I tried again later that year and was still stung. So I will run away and if I get the chance kill those things. I soon follow up with washing the dead body and guts and spray what ever smelling spray around the area. Sorry to say I’m glad what they do, just stay the hell away from me.
globglogabgalab on May 05, 2018:
wasps are stupid. Today, I was minding my own business, building something, and one of these rotund peeves just flies over, lands on my FACE and starts to sting me but I swatted it before it could. then I bolted off, and while I was running, another one of these nettles lands on my face, causing me to run faster. this whole day, the wasps were trying to attack me. I saw about 5 crawling deep in the grass, coming towards me, and as soon as I looked at them, they flew further away, about 4 feet, and again, started crawling childishly like an army man through the grass. those things piss people off and I disagree with anyone who thinks they are "cute" and "adorable" they are downright JANKY.
Sam on April 23, 2018:
Honestly wasps are super fascinating. This year I haven't seen any of the "regular" wasps but I've seen plenty of Ichneumon wasps (I'm not sure if the species of Ichneumon, though, lots of them look exactly the same) , and the Great Black Wasps are starting to come out. It's a shame that a wasp's motivations for stinging aren't always obvious (I mean I'm interested in wasps but I sometimes have no idea why a sting happened in some situations), so it's easy for people to believe that they just little packages of concentrated hate.
People gotta stop looking at wasps as though they think like people, because they don't, they're insects. They don't have the capacity for hate, grudges, or mischief, they're just little insects trying to do what their ancestors have done for millions of years: survive. And sometimes they'll mistake a human who probably means no harm for a threat.
Ed on September 19, 2017:
I only start waving my arms around and swatting at them after hours of them flying into my ears, my eyes, into my hands when i try to pick something up. up my shirt down my pants. I honestly get swarmed by hundreds every day that i work outside and im at the point where i want to genocide the species.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 09, 2017:
It seems a shame to get rid of any bees as we need pollinators C Crockett. I don't know if they are of any use to a beekeepers association, but I would contact the nearest one to ask, as they can usually relocate the nest for you. Even if the bees are no use to them for honey they may well be able to offer advice.
C Crockett on September 09, 2017:
Helpful info. I had a red bee or wasp that had a long stem from the rear, curious what type of bee is it. It kept darting me and I had not tried to intimidate them, rather, I was innocently cleaning my mothers deck.
What can we do as a DIY to rid these pests or call an exterminator?
Every spring there are bees that swarm this corner on my mothers roof. What do you think is going on and is there any way for a DIY to take care of it or do we need to contact an exterminator.
Annie Seymoure on September 04, 2017:
Hi! I'm Annie Seymoure. I'm 11 years old and I must say this is COMPLETELY fictional. Wasps are, excuse me language, pieces a shit that ruin your summer by hoarding your pool, attacking you for no reason whatsoever, and attempting to sting your pets! Even though those wasps are no match for my turtles, they are, excuse my language (again), fucking assholes that will ruin your life and attempting to sting you, even if you aren't harming them at all. I'm sorry wasp lover, but you are truly retarded to think that about those asshole pests.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 29, 2017:
Thanks Bug Guy, that was very helpful information and I have made some edits based on your comment. If you spot anything else please feel free to let me know. Have a great day :)
melp on August 26, 2017:
But they DO sting for no reason... One of them just landed on my ear today, sat there for a little while and then stung me for no reason. I was wearing black and no perfume and I was perfectly calm. Up until now I believed that if you avoid them they avoid you and I would never hurt them but now I've changed my mind.
Laura morrow on June 20, 2017:
I would throw gasoline on their nests & set them on fire! Wasps are garbage eaters, they destroy honey bees & bumble bees nests! I see no good function for them.
jim on April 12, 2017:
love it !
Kirk on September 14, 2016:
I was stung on numerous occasions as a young child (primary ground wasps) and as a young Adult a few more times when I was working over the summer at a fair (lots of cotton candy and lots of wasps)… Then nothing for… about 35 years and in the last 8 days I have been stung 3 times (while down town) no nests and the only time I saw the wasps on all three occasions was after I had been stung. I don’t know if all of a sudden I am giving of a sent that they don’t like or what but I am starting to change my view from “don’t bug them they won’t bug you” to “spawns of the devil”.
Jon on August 31, 2016:
I can honestly say i cannot stand wasps
I find them naturally aggressive for no reason. I have an immense fear due to one getting inside my t shirt as a child and getting stung multiple times. Since then i am petrified. I find that even keeping still that they will still attack for no reason. I dont like them and have tried ways of being ok with them but have given up. Wasps just interfere, sting for no reason and upset lots of people.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 26, 2016:
You can buy fake wasps nests or use a brown paper bag tied with string to look like a wasps nest. It can deter the wasps from nesting in the same vicinity as they see the fake nest as competition. In the meantime avoid aftershaves and try not to panic when they are around you. If they don't receive aggression from you they are far more likely to leave you alone.
Candace Maree on August 26, 2016:
I just wanted to thank you for this information! I'm a painter and I have been doing exterior work on an apartment building that has a LOT of nests on the building (mostly under the open roofs for the porch/deck and doors.) I've already counted 14 nests! Some almost thr size of a softball! Anyway, It really helped me understand what I was doing wrong to try to deter them and why they're so hostile towards me. It's caused a ridiculous amount of stress and unproductive hours trying to work around these guys! :-( Do you have any suggestions on how I finish this job without getting lit up with stings at the same time? (BTW I'm moderately allergic. I was stung by a sweat bee 8 days ago and the sting site is STILL swelled and itchy. I can't imagine what a few hundred wasps, stinging multiple times, would do to someone like me!) :-( I read somewhere about hanging paper bags? Or wearing red? Any legitimacy to these, that you know of? Thanks in advance for any pointers you can offer me!
Karen on August 17, 2016:
I really hate wasps have been stung many times 2 of them being a nasty reaction one time got stung on my arm 3 times so it swelled up, nxt one i got stung on the back of my arm on a day out 3 days later ended up having a neck abcess drained under GA as the venom went to my neck & caused a abcess so my fear has not gone away i try to stand still but hate them & move slowly away but they still seek me out
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 22, 2015:
Thank you for the lovely compliment Sonny, and good luck with your wasp problem. I hope you manage to resolve it :)
Sonny on September 22, 2015:
Thanks, will try to make changes, it happened today again haha but they are
very interesting creatures. Great work by the way, I can see how much time you have put into these pages so thank you for that also.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 21, 2015:
Tricky to answer that one Sonny, unless you are wearing something scented that is attracting them e.g. Aftershave, certain deodorants etc. You could try changing these things to other brands, and even consider changing the brand of washing powder you use in case that is the problem.
Sonny on September 21, 2015:
Hi, nice info but no matter what i'm doing, if i'm out with friends, on the bus, with a group of friends or so on, it comes after and 99% f the time stings me. I just stand there and let it really because I don't want to look stupid with a wasp around me. I must have been stung at least 25 times but what must it be? Any idea
Sonny on September 21, 2015:
Hi Misty, nice info but the thing is, no matter how many times a wasp goes near me (On a Bus, in the house, out with friends and so on) it comes after and stings me. I stand still and they sting whichever piece of flesh they can find, I must have been stung at least 25 times, what could it be?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 22, 2015:
Thanks Caitlin, when I get a moment I will change the image for a different one just to keep the article on subject
Caitlin on May 22, 2015:
Hello! I like that you are very real about the wasps in this blog. In general, I also try to slowly move away from the area (in case I'm near a nest) when a wasp is buzzing around my head, but other that that I heartily agree with what you've said.
I did want you to know that one of your pictures is mislabeled. The large 'hornet' on someone's arm at the end is actually a wasp-mimicking moth, probably in the family Sessidae. You can tell from the antennae, and because it is much fuzzier looking than a wasp would be. Probably still good to include so it doesn't freak someone out though!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 20, 2015:
Not sure what you meant about 'blatant sexism' Ro so have had to delete your comment because this article is about wasps and obviously it is impossible to show blatant sexism on such a topic.
Mr.CSG on August 06, 2014:
Great post Misty,
Your dedication to responding is admirable, and in turn, has made me feel compelled to say so.
I'll definitely try and be more accepting of wasps in the future. They are 1 of only 2 creatures I would ever harm, mosquitos being the other, (I reserve the right to kill anything and anyone who tries to steal my blood whilst I sleep) and of course the occasional accidental snail "Sorry Mr Snail! :("
My father, who is a funny character deploys a shouting tactic which surprisingly seems to work. He simply shouts "Get out!" With an almost rumbling, deep loud voice and off the fly to my amazement. I have no idea if they can hear him but it seems to work for him.
Thanks again for the read,
St. Lunatic on April 21, 2014:
Hello everyone, just thought I would let all of you know how my experiments with keeping wasps from nesting on my house have been going. I don't think I've been here for over a year. Anyway, tis the season of fear for all us people who are allergic or afraid of wasps, hornets and bees. I have constant nest issue under the roof overhang, fascia board areas of my house and I don't like to use poison constantly so here are my 2 best tips from my time experimenting. First I tried hanging a gold or silver ball christmas ornament in the roof corners and this seemed to work great, not one nest. One of the balls fell off during a big storm and all that was left hanging was the little metal cap and surprise, surprise! They still stayed away from that area. Tip number 2, I had 2 wasp nests under roof in front porch and I sprayed them with wasp spray and left the nest intact. Then once a month I hit that nest with a lttle wasp spray and No Wasps have set up shop in the front of my house. I still get panicked if I see a lot of hornets around so I might even hit the ornaments with some wasp spray once in awhile . Well I wish all of you luck and hope this may help some of you. I would rather have a pretty sparkled christmas ball hanging from my roof fasica board than have to use poison every few days trying to knock down the constant nest building that goes on here in the past summers. Cheers all!!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 26, 2013:
But they aren't vermin:( and if we all did that then we would equally all soon starve due to lack of pollination on our essential crops). Bees are particularly unlikely to sting you, so why kill them when there are professionals who can come and remove them for you and relocate them somewhere else along with their queen, so avoiding you having to be concerned by their presence, but equally not contributing to the already declining bee population? Phone any local bee keepers group and they will happily take the bees away for you free of charge rather than see you kill them.
Spiders are still my biggest fear, but I never ever kill them because I know it isn't their problem I am scared of them, it is my problem!
Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on August 26, 2013:
I'm actually the same as Anon123 - wasps and bees are my biggest phobia. Anytime I see any sign of nests or hives, I phone the Environmental Health to come and get them killed. I always have a huge supply of anti-wasp and bee chemicals for the summer to spray in profusion anywhere near where they may exist. I don't care how good they are for plants, I'm afraid - I just want all the buzzing vermin killed...
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 26, 2013:
That is a real shame Anon123, as wasps are so very useful in the garden and destroy numerous pests, plus pollinating important vegetable crops. Generally they will buzz around you for about 20 seconds or so before flying away (assuming you don't panic and start flapping your hands and arms around). Try it, you should quickly feel much more relaxed around them. If they are too close to your face for comfort, then just quietly stand up and walk away a few metres until they move on.... at all costs do NOT flap your limbs around if you don't want to be stung.
Anon123 on August 26, 2013:
Those pictures give me panic attacks, that's how far my phobia has spread.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 20, 2013:
I am not sure I would know the difference between a Yellow Jacket and a standard wasp to be honest Carol, we get so many types of wasp and we do also get hornets which are like very large wasps. I am located in Guernsey in the Channel Islands where the mild climate seems to make the island a perfect haven for all sorts of wildlife, including wasps and bees.
Carol on August 19, 2013:
Misty..thank you for your reply! Are you speaking of wasps or those yellow jackets? I know they are the same 'family, but those yjs are especially annoying come mid-August..they only 'appear' and it's scary. I have conquered my fear of all other summer bees finally. But those things are so frightening. I was outside today and no one else was bothered but I reacted and went inside behind a screen...perhaps I just notice them more than others. OMG...I want to get over this...where are you located? Again, I am so appreciative of your comments and experience. Thank you...
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 19, 2013:
Hi Carol, re-hair colour, good question. I am fair haired, but I can't say I notice any major difference between the attention they pay to me and the attention they pay to 'non-fair haired' people.
So far (apart from my young one-off childhood sting) I have never been stung since. I stick to the 'not flapping my hands' method, and never try to kill the wasps.
Wasps actually do help with pest control on vegetable allotments too, so this is yet another reason to tolerate them and attempt to avoid panicking around them.
To get to 43, work outdoors most of the time (surrounded by wasps and bees) and socialise in outside restaurants/hotels where wasps are everywhere, yet never get stung apart from the one time when I was a young child seems to prove that we just need to exhibit the correct behaviour if we want to avoid being stung.
Carol on August 19, 2013:
Misty....I appreciate your wisdom here and thanks to all for the stories and comments! I am absolutely terrified of yellow jackets - and now, late summer here I am trying to enjoy my last days of summer and here they are! Not many..but even ONE flying around sends me indoors! And I cannot even get groceries until dusk - they lurk at my car. And they have that sideways back and forth ready to attack pose...I'm thinking they know I'm afraid. I was only stung once when I was little and it was not bad at all. I so wish I could get over this......thanks to everyone! PS - I do not wear perfume or bright colors...I am blonde, though...;) do they like that hair color? lol
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 12, 2013:
Hi Emma, you don't do anything, just relax, watch the wasp or bee (or whatever else it might be that is harmless like a hoverfly), and sooner or later it will fly away leaving you unharmed. It is the flailing, brushing it off, flicking it etc that causes the stingers to actually sting you.
Emma on July 12, 2013:
I appreciate your article, and today either a hornet or a hoverfly (I'm now starting to think it was a hoverfly) landed on my arm. I'm incredibly scared of wasps/bees but I managed to stay still, until it started crawling up my wrist. That's when I lost it, and became a flailer. Do I just brush it off, or flick it, or what? Thanks!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 23, 2013:
Thank you for your opinion and thoughts Keenan. Glad you can recognise hoverflies and leave them alone at least. In fairness I work in gardens all the time and in my entire life have only ever been stung by a wasp once, which was when I was a child and knew no better than to flap my arms around trying to get it to leave me alone.
Keenan on June 22, 2013:
What a load of tosh. Wasps are evil, simple as. And i must refute the claim that if you kill one 10000 are going to suddenly be on the case. I've killed many with no further problems. I've been stung for no logical reason before and by the sounds of it so have many others. I would not call that an anomaly! P.s I have nothing against hoverflies as they are pretty chilled and easily identifiable :)
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 14, 2013:
How very strange, you sound like you are a bit of an anomaly. Thanks so much for your comment and anecdotes :)
aramara on March 14, 2013:
After being chased by a tarantula hawk (which I would rather prefer to avoid being stung by one since its sting is said to be excruciatingly painful...) I stumbled upon this page.
I was searching for why wasps chase me (I have yet to know the answer). They have done so my entire life. I've often had them stuck in my hair.
Bumble bees also have an attraction to me. I have had staring contests with them. They like to be about an inch or two from my face, and they stare at me. I stare at them. I try to move out of the way, and they proceed to follow me... (directly in front of my face).
It's rather creepy, and I've had other witnesses claim it was rather creepy to watch too...
Unfortunately, I have a rather intense phobia of wasps (especially). The more I learned about them, the worse this phobia became.
I am not so scared of bees or bumblebees (though I would rather not have them crawling all over me or limiting my vision).
Honeybees leave me alone. I used to have a fear of them too (the fear of the sting), but this fear subsided as I found they left me alone (for the most part).
I don't wear anything scented. I don't drink sugary drinks. I prefer water. I always have. I wear plain clothes. I even tried to give myself that beekeeper look by going all white. It doesn't make a difference.
Most days I feel like a prisoner in the home. If I so much as see a wasp in the vicinity, these days, I retreat indoors.
I've done the following: run (which logically is pointless as I know they are much faster than me), scream (which is more instinctive than anything else), wave my arms (which provides much comic relief to others around me) etc...
In those situations I have NEVER been stung (oddly enough).
I have been stung one time in my life... I was 9 years old. I didn't know a wasp was there. I was taking a stroll with my sister down the street. First she got stung 3 times. I was then stung.
We didn't hear or see anything (very weird).
My sister pointed to the ground. Breathing quite heavily was a small wasp. It then flew away (rather swiftly). There was only one. There was no nest in the vicinity.
To this day... I don't know what provoked the sting...
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 07, 2012:
Hi St. Lunatic, I am a softy over virtually all wildlife and frequently save trapped butterflies and moths from my greenhouse too. Even spiders that venture into our house (and which I am scared stiff of) only ever get caught in a glass and put outside because I won't kill them, (luckily all our spiders are non-venomous here). I have to agree with you that bees are far more cute than wasps and hornets, plus bees do such a fantastic and essential job in our gardens that I actively do my best to encourage them wherever possible.
St. Lunatic on October 06, 2012:
Your right - I've never heard a guy say,"Wow, those mosquitos are eating me alive!" It's always women who get chewed up in the summer. Poor little honey bees, I actully like them, they are quite cute. Wasp and Hornets have always made my skin crawl - They just look creepy with those thin bodies and long dangling legs. And the Hornets with their armored bodies look like bullies on steroids. Honey bees have cute puffy, fluffy little chubby bodies. I don't blame you for trying to help save it.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 03, 2012:
So glad you are here to tell the tale. I especially understand the mosquito thing, as they seem to target me too. Apparently Mozzies find women softer skinned than men, therefore we get more bites (so unfair). I am lucky in the wasp/bee dept as in spite of being an avid veggie gardener I have only ever been stung once, and that was when I was a child, and by a wasp. Even now I can be picking beans etc, surrounded by bees, and they leave me well alone. I totally understand your fear though, because you know what happens if you get stung, and that fear is a natural reaction designed to protect you. I don't know if they would attack a 'fearful' person (not least because a fearful person is surely no threat to them, so it is not logical). Who knows, maybe we never will, but right now I just make sure I am 'careful' and avoid stings. Even today I found what was probably a dying bee on its back by my runner bean plants (probably because Autumn is near). Poor thing was trying to right itself but couldn't, so just in case it had a chance of survival I used a picked runner bean to tip it the right way up again. I have no idea if it survived, but I doubt it did.
ST. Lunatic on October 03, 2012:
Thanks for your comment. Its hard having these issues and a lot of people don't understand. I forgot to mention that I attract these critters to me even when I don't move or run. I've tried everything over the years and friends of mine that thought I was exaggerating at some point got a chance to see that these things and mosquitos as well are just attracted to me. (I'm allergic to mosquito bites too) . But that didn't start till after I had my daughter, like something hormonally was now different that attracts those to me. But you can pop a benydryll asap and keep it from swelling to the freak size of Mr. Olympias bi-cepts. And a tips for gardners is do gardening on overcast/light sprinkle days in spring/summer: weeds come out easier, its cooler to work in and less wasps and bees out when there is some clouds above. Also cover your drinks when outside because stings to the tongue are usually the most fatal since your throat can become obstructed much faster. So no open pop cans outdoors. they can sneek in quickly and be furious when you try to wash them down unsuspectingly. Leave you with a little treat (funny/scary true story.): Years ago in the early fall my friend and I were in a cemetary doing a black and white photo essay on masoleums/cemetaries and crow gatherings .I walked up to the door of a really cool victorian one and had not noticed the buzzing till I got to the door where I was gonna prop up my huge fake raven (His name is Poe and he looks real) lol. My friend was about 60 feet away setting up tripod and looked up to see me walking very slowly and stiffly away from the area toward where my truck was parked. He kept hollering my name and I just ignored him and got in my truck. I was surrounded by thousands of huge black wasps that had made a home in a crack on that masoleum, I walked right up to it and froze as I realized there were thousands of them crawling all over the cracked wall about 8 inches from my face and then the drone of buzzing I heard all around me . They were in the air all around me too and the buzzing was now like a jet engine in my ears. God, only my eyes moved in my head as I was frozen to the spot with my mind racing and my eyes moving very slowly to to see that I was trapped in my worst nightmare. All I could think was DON'T SCREAM, DON'T SCREAM, DON'T RUN, DON'T RUN and I wasn't even sure if I was saying those words in my head or screaming them as I tried to slowly move away and out of the cloud that surrounded me for at least 30 feet or more. My friend finally came to the truck door to realize that he was locked out and I was sitting in there frozen and unable to move or speak (like that kid on Jeepers Creepers, Darious). He kept banging on window and I finally snapped out of it and said ,"get in quick." I told him what happened and he went back to investigate despite my warning not to: I told him if that nest attacks you I can't save your butt and you won't deserve to be saved for doing a jackass stunt like walking up into a huge nest of wasps, knowing that they may attack feeling threatened by you. He went anyway. But God protects fools. He grabbed our equipment and came back knowing I wasn't gonna be getting out of that truck to shoot any pictures in that place. As we were driving away he said, " I can't believe how many wasps were there , I've never seen so many in one place and he didn't even walk all the way up to the crack in the wall, his common sense kicked in just in time. Then he says," I was wondering why you were all frozen and then walked away with your eyes just about bugging out of your head- pale as a sheet, you looked like a bloody zombie walking to your truck. Then we both busted up laughing so hard, but as we were leaving the cemetary traveling down a treed path about 1/2 mile from the wasp nest, all of a sudden wasps started banging into my truck windsheild and more started coming and surrounding my truck and landing on it as I was going maybe 3-4 miles an hour down the little road among the tombstones and even my friend was like, " What the hell, what are they doing?" And I said ,"they are always like this with me, they just keep coming, that's why I got in truck asap." So I have always wondered if they can sense fear - that day was one of my top 2 most frightening encounters. And I am actually surprised that I didn't piss or crap my pants. No really! If those things would have swarmed they would have killed both of us - even though my friend isn't allergic, that many stings would kill anyone. So watch out for those scary old masoleums, cause I almost became a real life scary movie that day. Happy Halloween everybody!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 03, 2012:
A truly great comment St. Lunatic, you really did manage to make me laugh at the same time as I truly sympathised with your predicament. I hope your Grandson does not end up suffering from the same allergy, and that he does manage to cope with being around wasps or hornets. Sounds like you are handling your situation very well all in all :)
St. Lunatic on October 02, 2012:
Very interesting page. And some of these stories made me just about bust a gut laughing. Not that I'm poking fun at anyone - its just - I know what its like to be out mowing the lawn and a huge B-20 bomber of a hornet started dive bombing me a few years back. I am allergic to wasps and do all my yard work, at least I did, but anyway when this hornet kept dive bombing me I let go of the mower and it was a self-running kind that I had clipped the handle to keep it from dying since its so hard to start again and I hit the ground kissing the dirt hoping it would get away. Instead a few neighbors must of got a good laugh as they watched me hit the deck and my mower running across my huge front yard and into a tree. I'm not as afraid of bees but the wasp and hornets in this town are like crazy - they act different every year. One year I had these huge hornets at my back door screen, 3 of them and my dogs had to pee really bad when we woke up. I couldn't get the things off the screen for 1/2 hour - I told my poor dogs - pee on the kitchen floor if you can't hold it cause these monsters want to get in here with us. I watched thru the glass door for a chance to get my poor dogs out but these hornets kept body slamming themselves into the glass at my face level. Freaked me out - never seen them do that. And then they started crawling to the edges of screen like looking for a way to get in. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't having a bad dream. I called exterminator out that day to spray my property - He said there were a lot of complaints like mine in the area that started earlier that week - he thought it was weird too. I've now become a prisoner in my own home the last few summers because I was diagnosed with a blood-clotting disorder related to Lupus. I had a stroke and then they figured out I had Lupus Anti-DNA clotting disorder that caused it. Now my doctor said that if I use my Epi-pen the chances are very high I will have a massive heart attack from the epinephrene shot. So now I see all wasp, hornets, bees as bullets flying around me and I'm in a war zone. If they sting me I sufficate to death from allergic reaction - no hospitals close by here. Or if I use my Epi-pen I can have a heart attack. Can't win for losing man. It seems i can only choose how I will die - smother or cardiac arrest .I got rid of my lawn - bought a bee keeper suit so I can spray down nests and water my floweres gardens, (neighbors freaked out at 1st but its a conversation starter) I've met a lot more people curious when they are walking their dogs past my house and catch the crazy women in her white full body straight jacket watering the lawn. I don't go outside except to fill bird feeders - clean up after dogs area. This year I had a good size nest on front porch and sprayed the crap out of it with hornet spray, but I decided to leave nest there, not knock it down. I spray it every few weeks with more wasp/hornet spray and I gotta say this year I havent' seen many wasp/hornets like in the past. Could be a fluke of nature or maybe a nest in the yard keeps others away. And this is a real nest not a paper waspinator nest. I am experimenting. Cause my situation stinks and I have a 6 year old grandson and I try to teach him not to be scared - even though I'm terrified since dr. said no epi-pen for me. But despite this I laughed really hard at the other runner stories, cause I've been there and you have to laugh at yourselves once your done being scared. Good luck to all us bee/wasp/hornet phobes!!! God help us!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 04, 2012:
I am sorry you got stung Oz, but this is incredibly unusual in cases where people are behaving calmly unless they were wearing perfume, aftershaves, possibly lotions handcreams? or any other scented and unnatural products.
Why would you assume a wasp would 'pollute your drink or your food'? Wasps are not flies, they don't spend their time on dog mess or other nasty places. On the contrary, wasps will usually be around flowers and plants, sweet tasting liquids etc. Honestly you need to re-read this with an more open mind and apply some basic knowledge as to what wasps actually 'eat' and the fact they carry no more bacteria than a child's hands do (in fact no doubt much less).
Oz on September 04, 2012:
I was stung by a wasp a few days ago for no reason. I was not screaming or moving fast. I was enjoying a conversation with my sister and I got stung in my finger. I screamed so loud and saw it on my finger. I kept shaking and shaking my finger until it left. It was a very painful experience.
I also don't like the suggestion of sharing my drink with a creature who could pollute my drink or food. Hence, I am not convinced with the article.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 02, 2012:
Yes, Aloe Vera works a treat for stings, and I am sure if the circumstances had been different you would not have been stung, but hey, we all live and learn, and next time you will know what to do :)
tt on September 02, 2012:
oh btw, anyone who ever gets stuck, do not be putting chemicals on it. aloe vera and/or honey are better, my mom put fresh aloe vera from our plant and it soothed the stinging sensation within a minute,
and the mark and swelling disappeared within an our. the experience just freaked me out. lol
tt on September 02, 2012:
but u should have seen me. when i saw him coming i ran for my life screaming like a maniac! but at some point it left and i was just running around screaming making a complete fool of myself to all the neighborhood. (since they didn't see anything following me) i ran to the front of my house and tried to break down our door. my mom finally decided to open the door and saw the sting on my face -.-
everyone always said: their harmless. they dont bite. they're more scared of you.
well he attacked me. even though it was partially my fault i guess, lol
tt on September 02, 2012:
wow really? i feel bad for having their nest removed now :(
but they would ignore everyone else. it was always me they were attracted to. I've always had that affect on nature related things. like i have a green thumb, get along with animals, but my panic attack apparently sent the guy into a raging frenzy.
I'm gonna try to do this. thank you :)
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on September 02, 2012:
Hi tt. It is not surprising you are now scared of wasps after being stung once, but also bear in mind we are constantly surrounded by people telling us 'bees rarely sting unless provoked, wasps sting without provocation'. This is not strictly true, (at least the latter part certainly isn't), if you forget everything you have been told and stay calm, even a wasp will not just land on you and sting you. You were stung due to what you were doing at the time. Had you simply been standing there and not doing anything and ignoring the wasps you would have been just fine. Remind yourself of this next time one is buzzing around you and you won't get stung :)
tt on September 02, 2012:
im 13 and got stung a few weeks ago due to a nest of i think wasps in our gutter. i knew they were their so i guess i provoked a defender scout guy from my fear. i swear i barely moved our outdoor trashbin, and i hear lour buzzing and a wasp comes for my face killer fast. our terminex guy got rid of the nest buy im still scared to death when i have to go move the bins. i can freeze with bees but with wasps i totally freak out. why?!!!!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 15, 2012:
Thanks for commenting Kae-cee, nice to know you haven't been stung due to the 'freezing' method. Just goes to show it works.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 09, 2012:
Nice and useful comment Jman, thanks for sharing :)
Jman on August 09, 2012:
I live on the third floor of an apartment and trees surround my balcony and wasp are always flying from leaf to leaf in search of bug prey but mostly stay away from my balcony window, except when it is really hot here. Then they ocasionally try to get into the window because they feel a slight cool draft at the door edges, but have only had one get in and was not aggressive and had to do was slowly walk up and swat it with a broom and knocked it to the floor and then it was game over ! Now its nats once in a while that pester me and my beer then clap your hands and plat... its gone. To catch a fly on the wall slowly move your hand near the back side of it and in and upward swoosh of your hand over the fly you can catch it and let it loose or your choice slam it on the ground to daze it and then the shoe works just fine.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 11, 2012:
Providing you are not allergic personally, I can't imagine it would be a problem to your unborn baby (but probably best to check this with a doctor or midwife). If you have all been stung it is likely there is a nest very close by, in which case you might want to consider getting it removed to avoid future stings.
AmyP on June 11, 2012:
I have a small yard full of trees. My husband, 4 year old and I have all been stung, and we were doing nothing but standing outside. I am 22 weeks pregnant and would like to be sure wasp stings would not affect the baby
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on June 06, 2012:
I expect they 'forget' after a while once they feel the threat is gone. This is probably within hours rather than days so I would chill out if I were you. I suspect the fake nest failed because your wasp colony were already established. I would imagine the fake nest idea will only work if there are no nests yet on the premises, otherwise the new nest would be the intruders. Generally the existence of a nest would ensure a new nest was not built, so putting up a fake one when a real one was already in existence would seem 'odd' to the existing colony and probably not taken seriously.
Littlejadegirl on June 06, 2012:
We have a wasp nest up under a folded up yard umbrella. It is about 5 ft from our back door. They have been coming back every year for a number of years. We tried the fake wasp nest trick last year and it didn't work. I don't like the idea of killing them, and they've never stung us. I still don't like that I am always having to be so cautious to avoid being attacked in my own back yard.
Lately every time I go to the outdoor faucet to get water, there is the same wasp there, keeping me from using the faucet. Today my husband killed him, even though I pleaded with him not too. I already knew about the retaliation of the other wasps. I went around to our front door to get back in the house safely. I looked out the back window and saw wasps flying around where the wasp was killed. Another one flew at my window. Will I ever be able to go out my back door again, or do they eventually forget?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 25, 2012:
Ummm, thanks for the great info dakota, (I already knew this), but why did you think we were looking for that info on an article about Wasps as opposed to Bees?
dakota on May 25, 2012:
i learnd that my self in 7th grade
dakota on May 25, 2012:
Haven't you always wanted to know if bees die when they die well read this and you will find out. It's true -- female honey bees die after they sting. Their stingers are actually ovipares, tubular structures extending from the abdomen that sometimes contain eggs.
When the barbed stinger is left inside the victim, the honeybee mortally tears her abdomen in the process. Alas, she dies. female honey bees die after stinging. Fortunately, honeybees are relatively docile, and only commit suicidal acts when provoked. And they only die if they sting a mammal, because of the thickness of our skin.
Bees die when they sting you because when they sting you their stingers get caught in your skin. When they fly away, their guts are ripped out (yes it’s disgusting) because half of them is stuck in your skin. Honey bees sting only as a last resort to protect against what they perceive to be a threat to the colony, and yes, stinging is the honeybees death sentence.
But wasps and hornets can sting as many times as they want. For a honey bee worker it depends on what it stings and how deeply it manages to penetrate. Stings originally evolved to fight other insects.
When a bee stings another insect it just punches a hole in the insect's hard exoskeleton and has no difficulty withdrawing the sting through the hole it has produced. However, along came mammals which, by a cruel twist of evolution, had an elastic skin.
If a honey bee stings a mammal the skin closes up around the sting and grips it. If the sting has penetrated far enough for the barbs to be gripped when the bee tries to pull away the sting may be pulled out of the bee's abdomen, together with the venom sac, the muscles that pump the venom and the nerve ganglion controlling the muscles.
This is why the sting will continue to inject venom after the bee has gone. A honey bee will sting when it perceives a threat to its hive, but when it’s away from the hive foraging, it will rarely sting unless someone steps on it or handles it roughly. And when it does sting, it dies.
A honey bee's stinger is made of two barbed lancets. When the bee stings, it can’t pull the stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger but also part of its digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture is what kills the bee.
bees sting for self defence and worker bees have no stingers queen bees have curved barbed stingers. All the sterile worker bees exist for the same exact genetic interests of helping the fertile queen they came from do its job of reproducing.
All the thousand stingers on a giant bee are working for the same exact genetic interests of helping the reproductive organs in the giant bee do their job. Most importantly, neither the stingers on the giant bee, nor the sterile worker bees can pass on the DNA they contain, they can only help other DNA very similar to theirs be passed on.
well now you have found to your answer on why do bees die after they sting.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 24, 2012:
LOL, those strimmers hurt a lot more if you get 'stung' by one of them. Good luck Caris, remember to freeze like a statue and the wasp will soon move on.
Caris on May 24, 2012:
I'm terrified of wasps and they always seem to come near me and no one else. I'm wondering if it's just because I notice them more than anyone else, I've never been stung and think that's making it worse. Il try the standing still thing though. I normally squeak and run if I hear anything buzzing, even strimmers 2 doors over lol.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 20, 2012:
I am not an expert on wasps, but if the weather was cooling down they may have been becoming less active, but honestly that would be a guess on my part.
Yus on May 19, 2012:
I believe it was late summer when i brought inside the wasp nest.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 19, 2012:
Hi Yus, I have no idea why the wasps left you alone. Perhaps it was 'time of year thing' or based on the weather conditions at the time (but I am guessing). I also have no idea why the bees target you as this is really odd because they sacrifice their lives in order to sting a person.
I have arachnophobia too, but got it under control by using methods I explain in the following hub:
Yus on May 19, 2012:
One more thing, when i said good terms with wasps i meant it, i was five years old and they let me carry their nest, i didn't get one sting. it was funny because i brought it into my house and my dad freaked out.
Yus on May 19, 2012:
Hi! I was wondering, ever since I was little me and wasps have been on great terms. But not so much with bees, whenever they see me they attack me- just bees. This one time when i was little a couple of bees came at me so my older brother took a dustpan and whacked them away and we ran into the house. They were bashing against the glass door trying to get to me, do you know why this might be? Thank you. By the way, i also have arachnophobia.
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 16, 2012:
The 'distress' smell they will have emitted when the nest was disturbed will also have called in the others to help defend it. If you follow my advice I am sure the problem will be solved.
Diane on May 16, 2012:
thank you, and now everytime i go outside to take my dog out, I look up, andthere is another wasp, look up again, and there is another one, i get to my door, and then there are 3 above my head...and everytime i open that window that the other hornet was captured in, they start coming around more and more...i can't believe this...
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on May 16, 2012:
Hi Diane, they may go away, or if they still have a queen they may just build another nest instead. Your best bet is to get them treated by a professional exterminator, and when they are gone invest in a few 'fake' nests to place around your exterior walls so any other wasps believe there is already a nest in residence, so move on to find their own territory.
Diane on May 16, 2012:
So there was a wasp in my house yest. when i arrived at home. My mom picked it up with a towel and then walked downstairs and flushed it. Since then, yest. and now so far all day today, they are hovering outside my window. will they go away? what are they doing?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 11, 2012:
I hope not for your sake Chrissie. The other possibility is there is already a nest nearby and this wasp was out doing its thing and strayed into your daughter's room.
Chrissie on March 10, 2012:
Ive have just been woke up by a wasp in my bedroom at 5am which stung my daughter, my partner did then kill the wasp, I'm just wondering now if that could have been the queen trying to find a new home?
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on November 08, 2011:
Nightmre Scottyukdragon. I think if they are nesting in your roof already, calling in pest control might be your best option. Then you could try the suggestion from an earlier commenter of putting up a fake wasps nest to discourage new colonies from nesting there again, (they will see the territory as already taken and go elsewhere).
Scottyukdragon on November 08, 2011:
Now i feel a lot better about my roofspace being full of them ,, Not !!!! especially as apparently you say there are over 10,000 of them ,,,O M G !!! Help !!!!!!!!!!
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 22, 2011:
It possibly stung you because it was already being forced into 'self defence' mode because your Dad was swatting at it. This probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. I am glad to know that you do the sensible thing in general though, and don't flap about. Clearly this technique works because the Bee has no reason to feel threatened and sting you.
kpzleo on October 22, 2011:
when i was little my dad was and still is alergic to bees. luckily im not but my dad was swating a bee and it came near me and landed on me and stung ME when i didn't do anything. does anyone know why? also ever since whenever im around bees i freze, hold my breath, close my eyes and put my arms by my side and none has ever stung me since exept for when i stepped on one
Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 16, 2011:
LOL Pont, great story and proves they won't sting if you avoid flapping your arms around to shoo them away. Thanks for sharing :)
Pont on October 16, 2011:
When I was a teenager, I stepped outside onto our front porch, and for whatever reason I don't exactly remember, my hand was up in the air. A Yellowjacket proceeded to land on the top of my hand. My instinct, having been told before hand was to literally freeze. I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, and it started to crawl up and down my arm. It tickled, and to make matters worse, it crawled about me for a good 4 minutes. At first I was just numb with fear not thinking anything, then after a minute my arm started to get tired. By the end of the 1st minute, the pain from keeping my arm up started to set it, and I was just thinking "Go away go away go away" over and over. By the 4th minute, I was in agony with keeping my arm up, but it finally got bored and flew away without stinging me.
Longest 4 minutes of my life, and more relief for escaping unscathed than I've ever felt since.