The correct behaviour on wasp alert

One of the nicest things about sunny weather: Sitting outside and eating. Unfortunately, the pleasure is often disturbed by wasps buzzing around. Don’t panic: Wasp stings hurt a bit, but are not dangerous for non-allergists. Biologist and NABU -expert Dr. Melanie von Orlow explains the perfect handling of wasps and tells you how to avoid being stung. In addition… SOS -Tips on how to treat the sting if it does occur.

Which foods attract wasps?

Important: Wasps are not interested in humans, but only in food. As soon as you sit down with a delicious salad after training, the yellow and black insects buzz at you and want you to share your food with them. No need to beat them to death. “Wasps are useful animals and have their role in nature,” says von Orlow. “There are only two wasp species that are annoying, the German wasp and the common wasp. All other species don’t fly to the table.”

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The animals are particularly attracted to dishes containing protein and sugar, such as meat, milk dishes or sweet cakes. “It is best not to let them get close to the food at all,” the expert advises, “If a wasp knows where food is available, it will bring its conspecifics with it. In other words, cover the food and keep it out of reach, use sealable containers.

Wasps are not interested in people, but in their food. The best thing to do is to cover them up. © Hellwig /

What is the best way to deal with wasps?

To get rid of the insects gently, it is best to put an empty glass over the individual animal and release it after eating. If a wasp becomes particularly annoying, gently push it away, for example with a magazine or a piece of cardboard. The most important rule, however, is to keep cool! When the animals fly frantically around you, this means that they try to see sharply, as they can only do so at air speed. They are looking for food and do not attack.

As a rule, wasps only become aggressive when you approach their nest. Then they sting to defend themselves, otherwise never without reason. By hitting or blowing on the animal, you first provoke it to sting. Especially blowing is a bad idea, because you create an atmosphere (warm, stuffy) that makes the animal react as if it were attacking the nest.

What do I do if I get a wasp sting?

If you have been stung near a nest, the first thing you need to do is to get away from it! You should not attract the attention of more wasps. When you are stung, wasps emit alarm pheromones (attractants). They are released to warn other animals and mark stung people. So you are tagged as an attacker! It is best to flee into the dark or shade, because there the animals can track you less easily.

It is important not to cool the stitch immediately! This is the last step. According to Orlov’s wasp researcher, the first thing you should do is tackle the cause of the pain. Since wasp venom consists of a mixture of proteins that is injected into the skin through the sting, your body starts a defensive reaction that causes swelling and pain. Therefore, the foreign proteins should be destroyed first.

When eating ice cream hurts: How to prevent brain freeze Drinks also have an attractive effect on wasps. A cardboard lid on the glass helps. © Yuri Bondar /

What are effective means of treating wasp stings?

There are several ways to patch up the sting before you cool it:

Battery operated stab healer: “Stab healers are the best means of treating wasp stings,” says von Orlow. A battery-powered sting healer heats the sting locally, which destroys the foreign proteins.

Home remedy: Home remedies such as a sliced onion, lemon or rhubarb also help. The acids contained in it also destroy the proteins of the poison, but are less effective than heat.

Insect stick: This stick from the pharmacy acts through an ammonia solution and destroys proteins alkaline.

Only after the immediate measures have been taken is it advisable to cool the puncture site to relieve the swelling and pain. By the way, unlike a bee sting, it is unusual for a wasp sting to get stuck in the skin. However, if this is the case, you should remove it immediately with your fingernail.

When should I see a doctor about a wasp sting?

If you experience symptoms such as circulatory problems, dizziness or nausea, you should see your doctor immediately, as there is a likelihood of wasp allergy. The expert reassures: “Only about 3 percent of the population suffer from an allergy.” Nevertheless: An allergic reaction is very dangerous and should be taken seriously! The expert advises you to keep an eye on the sting even in the long term. Since wasps come into contact with carrion, it is possible that a bite can become infected.

If this is festering, reddening or painful for several days, you should always consult a doctor.

How do I find out if I have a wasp sting allergy?

Better not get stung! If you’re worried about wasp allergies, doctors can check it out: In a provocation test, which you can have done in hospital, for example, poison is injected under the skin. However, a negative result does not mean that you are permanently allergy-free. Allergies can develop. The good news is that a wasp allergy can be treated very well by hyposensitization. This involves gradually accustoming the body to wasp venom.

Conclusion: Keep cool during wasp attacks. When wasps buzz around you, they are after your food, not you. Deprive them of their reason for being interested – and the uninvited table guests buzz off again.