Campus News

Stay safe from insect stings during outdoor activities this spring

Spring is the time to plant gardens, clean up, grill out or just spend time with friends outdoors, but to avoid insect stings a UGA expert suggests pesticide, when necessary.

“Insect encounters don’t usually result in human injury, and most insects should be left alone,” said Elmer Gray, a UGA Cooperative Extension entomologist. “Eliminating areas where insects develop and hide near your home and properly applying pesticides if necessary will keep most stinging and biting pests away.”

Because of the benefits social insects have on the environment, such as pollination and preying on pest insects, most should not be controlled unless they create a hazard to humans. If you find a nest around your home, Gray said to apply an insecticide in the evening when the insects are at rest.

“With the wind at your back and an escape route selected, aim the insecticide at nest openings in trees, bushes, under eaves, ground cracks and crevices in and around nest openings,” he said. “If possible, destroy the nest or seal the nest opening. Honey bees nesting in buildings will require professional hive removal.”

Treat fire ant mounds right after rain.

“Gently pour an insecticidal drench over a mound so that the mixture will break the surface. Do not stir the mound,” he said. “Use 1 to 2 gallons for an average (12- to 14-inch diameter) mound. Granular and bait formulations are also available.”