No matter how observant or careful we are, somehow a six or eight legged ‘’friend’’ will eventually decide to join you outdoors, especially if there are some delicious nibbles available. Not all critters are out to get us though, so here’s a quick guide on how to identify who can hurt, and who won’t.
Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets – the most common flying insects that pose a threat to relaxing outdoors are these stinging, buzzing creatures. Depending on their genre, some are far more aggressive than others. Honey bees tend to mind their own business unless they are swarming, or unless they are Africanized (having mixed with the more aggressive cousins from the tropics.) Wasps and hornets fortunately make a very audible sound when they are nearby, and yellow jackets nest underground and are very attracted to meat products. Dragonflies can look pretty scary but are generally harmless.
Scorpion stings can be excruciatingly painful and dangerous. If you are in a dry, desert area, or if the weather has been especially hot, be careful of these nasties. They like to come out at dusk, and walk sideways, similar to a crab. Stay clear of them by all means.
Butterflies are harmless and beautiful to behold, but don’t hold them as it disrupts their very delicate wings.
While technically not an insect, you may have the occasional spider visit you outdoors. Most of these are harmless, except the black widow and brown recluse who prefer lurking indoors.
Ants are also generally harmless, unless they are fire ants or if you disturb their nest. Be vigilant when you choose your picnic or hangout spot.
Tips for Safely Discouraging Unwanted Visitors
One trick to keeping all these flying creatures at bay is to burn coffee grounds in a tin or a can. Just light a few cans of coffee grounds and spread them around your area. The resulting smoke will discourage them from sharing your lunch.
Pack a spray bottle with white vinegar diluted with water to spray areas where insects are encroaching. Most insects will turn right around.
Bring some citronella incense sticks with you, or natural citronella body spray. Most insects are repelled by the odor.
If anyone in your group has allergies, always ensure that a doctor prescribed dosage of Epidrin is available for any emergencies.
Know Your Insects (and keep them at bay) was last modified: February 16th, 2017 by jokaren