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How To Avoid Bee Stings

Courtesy of Imgur.com

I love spring. The suns warm rays are soothing , the birds are back in full song, and all of nature's little critters are out and about, scurrying or flying around in full force for another summer. Ok, well maybe I don't like the little critters all that much, but they are a necessary part of summer, and I can respect that fact, at least right up until I get bit or stung. Thankfully, I don't have allergic reactions like many people do, but I still don't appreciate being attacked by bees or wasps, so minimizing the risk of being stung is rather important to me nonetheless.

What's The Difference Between A Bee Or Wasp?

Bees are genuinely mild mannered, and usually will not sting you unless you pose a threat to them or provoke them. They only want to do their job collecting pollen, but they will defend themselves if they need to.  When a bee stings animals with thicker skin such as humans, their stinger usually (but not always) gets hooked into your skin and is ripped out of their abdomen when they go to fly away, eventually killing the bee. They almost seem to realize this fact, and strive to avoid death if at all possible, unless it's to protect themselves or their fellow bees.
That About Sums It Up Nicely

Wasps on the other hand, are little assholes. They are little predatory scavengers that don't beat around the bush when they want something, and can be quite aggressive. They can sting you repeatedly until they get tired, take a break, and come back for more. Their stinger is retractable and doesn't rip out like a bee's does. They enjoy a wide variety of foods, and don't mind a good burger or a soft drink. A few years back I was sitting down and enjoying a soft drink at a local festival. I had taken my eyes off my drink for only a matter of seconds between sips in order to take a bite out of the delicious burger I had just bought. I went to take another sip of my coke, and quickly noticed something was wrong when i sensed an unusual lump in my mouthful of liquid. I spit it out immediately, but not before a wasp managed to sting me twice on the tongue. Turns out the little guy had went into the can for a drink when I wasn't looking, and did not appreciate getting washed into my mouth. Now, I practice turning the tab of my drink can over the hole when I put it down to avoid it from happening again.

 Bees Vs Wasps

Characteristic Bees Wasps
Stinger Backward Pointed barbs, Rips out killing bee Small Barbs, Can Sting you until it gets tired and finds something else to do
Body type Round shaped, Hairy European Legs Slender And Smooth, Few Hairs
Food Pollen, Nectar Predatory Scavengers,

So what can a person do to avoid being stung? For bees its pretty simple. Don't make them mad or scare them, and try to stay out of their way. For wasps it's the same general idea, however due to their aggressiveness the results are usually less desirable, but there are several things you can do to minimize the chances of getting stung. 

1)Wearing neutral/ light colored clothing outdoors is less likely to attract a bee's attention. Don't wear flower prints.
2) Try to keep your smell down. Using cologne, perfume and even natural body odor entices bees to come check out what the smell is coming from.
3) If confronted by a bee, remember if you have not done anything to it, then it is probably only checking you out (Assuming you didn't just step on it's nest). Bees are notoriously curious, and like to know whats going on around them. To inspect a person they will simply hover in front of your face for a better look, or may land on you. Waving your arms around to "shoo" it away will almost definitely make it think its under attack, so don't do it. Stand still, and let it check you out without making it feel threatened.
4) Bees will almost always warn you before they sting by headbutting you. If a bee is bumping you, it is trying to tell you to go now, before it's too late. If you still don't back down, then you and the bee are probably both going to regret what happens next.
5) If all else fails and you manage to annoy a swarm of bees, RUN! Don't stop to get your stuff, and  don't jump into a lake like you see in the movies. Bees will simply wait for you to resurface, and may even be more unimpressed that you made them wait around. A bee can travel at about 15 mph (20kph), but will usually give up a chase before 1/4 mile (0.5km), so if you're healthy you should be able to outrun them. And if you're not so healthy, it would be a perfect time to take up jogging anyway.

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