Here's What To Do If You're Attacked By A Swarm Of Wasps Or Bees

Oh hai there, Vespa crabro (European hornet). Umberto Salvagnin/Flickr; CC BY 2.0

Robin Andrews 29 Aug 2018, 18:37

“Do not stop to help others. However,” they hasten to note, “small children and the disabled may need some assistance.” You should also pull your shirt up over your head to protect your face, but make sure you know where you’re running before you go temporarily blind.

If you jump into water, these particular bees will genuinely wait for you to come up for air, so you should instead run indoors. Even if some follow you inside, they tend to become disorientated in well-lit areas, providing you with a chance at further escape in your chosen shelter.

If you are stung and you feel ill, you should seek medical attention immediately. If there are just a handful of stings protruding into your flesh, you should remove them carefully – but don’t pinch them with your fingers, as this will inject more venom into the body. Instead, scrape it out with a sideways slice using a thin object.

The NHS’ other advice is more preparatory work: cover exposed skin with clothing, apply insect repellent, wear shoes outdoors, and be careful around flowering plants, trash, compost, standing and stagnant water, and anywhere food is served. If you know you’re allergic, carry your epinephrine pen with you in such environments.

They also advise not wearing strong perfumes, which can be found in anything from deodorants to soaps, that can attract a variety of insects to you.

So, in general, avoid nests and try not to be clumsy. If swarmed, walk away and stay calm.

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