A good number of homeowners want to take the DIY approach to pest removal. This might be because they think that professional pest control will be too costly or that DIY is easier or faster. Maybe they just want the satisfaction of getting rid of the pests themselves!
But for most homeowners, in most situations, DIY is not a good idea.
We’ve talked about why DIY on the blog before. Today, we’re going to talk about why we don’t recommend grabbing a can of Raid and DIYing a stinging insect problem.
Keep reading to find out!
A Painful—Even Dangerous—Activity
For some pests, like bed bugs, ants, or cockroaches, the reason we don’t recommend DIY is practical. Simply put, 99 percent of the ‘home remedies’ that you find on the Internet, whether it’s using essential oils or ultrasonic waves, don’t work. That makes it a waste of time and money to go the DIY route. (Not to mention, some of these ‘home remedies’ are unsafe for children or pets, or pose a fire hazard.)
For stinging insects, however, the primary reason not to DIY is related to safety: attempting to DIY a wasp, yellow jacket, or hornet nest removal is likely to end with getting stung. These insects can be aggressive, making extermination a painful—even dangerous—activity for the average homeowner.
But why are stinging insects aggressive? Let’s talk about why stinging insects make extermination difficult.
Stinging Insect Behavior
First, like most creatures, a stinging insect will defend itself if provoked. The biggest difference between stinging insects and other pests is that, thanks to the stinger, they have the ability to do real harm when they defend themselves! Some stinging insects are more aggressive than others (yellow jackets, for example, are more ‘short-tempered’ than hornets); still, all will defend themselves when threatened.
Second, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are social insects. They live together in a colony, with the workers responsible for enlarging the nest, finding food, feeding the young, and protecting the nest. That means that if a worker believes the nest is being threatened, it will also respond with aggression. If you threaten the nest, you risk earning the aggression of dozens (even hundreds) of insects!
It’s very rare that a wasp, yellow jacket, or hornet will sting you completely unprovoked. That said, humans and stinging insects often have different definitions of what counts as being provoked: things like waving your arms or a newspaper to make the insects go away or driving a lawn mower too close to a ground-level nest can be seen as ‘threatening’ acts to these pests.
If You Get Stung
If you do provoke a stinging insect—intentionally or not—you might find yourself being stung repeatedly. That’s because wasps, yellow jackets and hornets have smooth stingers. (This is unlike honey bees, who have barbed stingers that get stuck in your skin.) Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets can and will sting repeatedly until they believe the threat is gone.
That’s why it’s important to run to shelter if you are being attacked by one or more stinging insects. Swatting at them is unlikely to make them go away, but you can outrun them.
If you are allergic to stinging insects, it’s a good idea to carry an Epi-Pen with you (especially in August and September, which have the highest rates of insect stings).
However, even if you aren’t allergic, you’ll want to take care. Though many people have only a mild reaction to a sting (some pain and slight swelling that goes away in a few hours), others have a more severe reaction (stronger pain and swelling that takes 5-10 days to go away). It’s also possible for your reactions to get worse the more you are stung or even to develop an allergy to stinging insect venom.
If you get stung one or more times and are having a mild reaction, we recommend the following:
- Clean the area with soap and water to remove as much of the venom as possible.
- Ice the area to reduce the swelling.
- Keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection.
If you have a more moderate reaction, you might consider talking with your doctor. (He or she might direct you to take antihistamines.) And of course, if you think you are having an allergic reaction (severe swelling, hives, breathing difficulties, dizziness, or nausea), seek immediate medical care.
How to Exterminate Stinging Insects
The best way to get rid of wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, or other stinging insects is to call a professional. Don’t risk the health and safety of yourself, your family, or your pets.
Pest control professionals have the tools, equipment, and training to safely remove a nest without endangering anyone nearby. They can deal with stinging insects far better than the average homeowner armed with a can of insecticide spray.
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.