Wasps and Sting Prevention

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It is impossible to say that wasps get "angry" or "frightened" or "aggressive". These are human characteristics. We do know that wasps seek food and act to defend their own lives and the lives of the colony or queen. They are attracted by flowers and potential food. Wasp season runs from approximately April to October. In the early to middle wasp season they focus on collecting food for larvae. This food is commonly insects found through visiting plants. Wasps also work flowers for nectar and make use of fruit for a food source.

Wasps find their food through colour and scent. Many websites advise avoiding wearing fragrance and bright colours. A wasp may mistake you as a flower if you are as attractive as a flower in colour and scent. Some perfumes in skin products may mimic certain odours of fruit and this could also cause a wasp to be attracted to you. Having brushed aside a wasp that has taken an interest in you creates a cycle of concern on your part and survival mode on the part of the wasp. Like road rage – the safest action is for the one with the most intelligence to move quietly away. This is problematic if the fragrance of your hair product has enticed the insect into entanglement in your hair.

My advice on skin care is to avoid wearing fragrance when you are expecting to be active outdoors. If you are going to be in an area where there may be a number of wasps such as a camp site in summer on a hot day you would be wise to ensure all skin products are fragrance free. You should look for fragrance free sun screen. Most insect repellents do not deter wasps but some websites suggest that those containing DEET (check the label) may help repel wasps. "Tropical strength" 50% DEET insect repellant is now available.

Additionally you should avoid floral patterns and shiny or other bright colours. Buckles & jewellery may attract the attention of wasps. Several websites suggest black is a bad colour to wear while colours less likely to be attractive to wasps include white, green and khaki. Shoes, and preferably also socks, should be worn at all times and sandals, where there are flowers underfoot, are risky. 

Wasp preeningWasp preening