Why Wasps Attack
This made us wonder: why do wasps attack? What encourages these annoying pests to go out of their way to sting & bite you?
The answers we found were more than just the typical “don’t attack the hive” advice you find on the internet. In today’s post, we’re analyzing deeply wasp (and bee) behavior to determine what exactly makes them attack us.
And we also have a video version of this post, which you can click HERE.
You can also download the audio-only pest-free podcast by clicking the download button above!
Rule 0: Don’t Attack the Hive
It should go without saying that attacking a bee or wasp hive is a fast way to get attacked by wasps.
This is their home. Imagine if someone tried to destroy your home, how would you respond? This is why the wasps attack you when you try to move their hive or get too close.
Unfortunately you occasionally need to remove a hive, for example if its right outside your front door or on your home you may wish to get rid of it so that it doesn’t interfere with you.
In that case, it might make sense to hire experts (such as us) to do the job for you. We are trained professionals that know how to safely remove wasp & bee hives.
If you wish to do it yourself, then it’s important to be 100% covered. If there is one part of your skin showing, the wasps/bees will find it and sting you into oblivion! If you’re covered completely, then you should be fine… they will still try to sting you, but it shouldn’t penetrate your skin.
Hive Mentality & Pheromones
All wasps (and other insects) release chemical smells called “pheromones.” These smells (which we can’t detect) allow the insects to communicate with one another.
If one wasp emits a “scared for its life” pheromone, then the rest of the wasps will feel triggered to attack you. Insects don’t have rational thought, so as long as this pheromone is active, they will want to sting you.
What does this mean for you? It means if you attack one wasp, you minus well attack the whole hive.
Threatening one wasp will trigger it to release a smell that triggers the rest of the wasps to attack you.
Keeping this in mind is very important when it comes to dealing with wasps & bees. You can’t just “kill one,” unless there are absolutely no others around it.
Fun fact: you usually can’t smell the pheromones, however if a certain bee hive is distressed then it may smell like bananas because their pheromone smells like bananas!
What Scares the Wasp?
Wasps become afraid when it or its hive is threatened. Moving the hive, touching it, etc. is generally not a good idea.
The same is true for dealing with even one wasp. If you swat at it, knowingly or unknowingly, it will release the “fear” pheromones which triggers the rest to attack.
If you’ve ever randomly been stung by a wasp, think back to what actions you were doing in that moment of time. It is highly unlikely that you were sitting, meditating on a rock. You were likely engaged in some type of physical activity. A wasp may have felt threatened by you.
Scaring a Wasp Unknowingly
Occasionally a wasp may be afraid of you without you realizing it, or it could be distressed for reasons out of your control, and you were just in the vicinity. In cases like these, it’s always best to leave the area of wasps as soon as you possibly can.
If you get stung by a wasp, and you don’t know why, just leave.
Don’t Be Afraid
Don’t be afraid if a wasp lands on you or is flying near you. That doesn’t mean it’s in an aggressive mood or wants to hurt you; however you should be careful not to scare it (as that will trigger the attack!).
Your fear may make you more likely to move around, triggering the very attack you wish to avoid. Remember to relax; the wasp doesn’t really want to hurt you.
Killing Doesn’t Work… Usually
Killing almost never is an effective solution for dealing with a wasp or bee problem. As mentioned earlier, you must deal with the hive, whether that means killing the queen or moving the hive.
Again we recommend that you hire an expert to deal with this, as the problem can get messy fast. If you think you need help, make sure to give us a call at 855-WILDLIFE.
If you kill one wasp, it will not stop the onslaught of other wasps. There are a lot more wasps than you could easily kill at once, or even over the course of hours!
Our research has also indicated that wearing yellow or white may attract insects to you. Insects such as wasps can’t see the color red, so that may be a good color to wear while out with a risk of wasps.
Another tip would be to not use an excessive amount of fragrance/deodorant. Insects are very sensitive to smells so this may trigger an attack, as they aren’t used to these types of smells.
Finally avoid sugary & meat snacks with an open container, as this seems to attract wasps as well.
Wasps aren’t inherently aggressive, but if they feel threatened they will attack you. They feel threatened when you move a hive, approach a hive, swat (knowingly or unknowingly) at a wasp, or kill one.
Odors caused by sugary & meat snacks as well as fragrance may trigger attacks also. Evidence also suggests wearing red may prevent the occurrence of attacks, whereas wearing yellow & white may actually attract wasps to you.
If a wasp lands near you, on you, or is flying near you, don’t swat at it. The wasp will go away on its own.
Finally if you have a regular wasp problem, or there is a hive at your home, it is highly advisable to hire experts such as us (855-WILDLIFE) to handle the problem for you. If you wish to proceed on your own, it’s very important to be completely covered in thick clothing.
Thanks for reading this article! We hope you enjoyed Questions? Ask away.
-Wildlife x Team International