Skip to content

Insect Sting Allergy (Ant, Wasp and Bee Stings): Reduce Exposure

Make an Appointment

This information was reviewed and approved by Kanao Otsu, MD, MPH (3/31/2019).

It is important to know how to reduce the risk of bee, wasp and insect stings if you or a family member has a bee sting, wasp sting or insect venom allergy. 

Teach your child’s caregivers to recognize the symptoms of a sting and how to respond when avoidance strategies fail and a sting occurs.

Prevent bee stings, wasp stings, ant bites and other insect stings:

  • Wear protective clothing while outside to decrease exposed skin.

  • Wear long pants when hiking or mowing the grass and wear gloves while gardening.

  • Wear white or light-colored clothing. Dark clothing and clothing with flowery designs are more likely to attract insects.

  • Wear shoes rather than bare feet or sandals.

  • Use unscented deodorant, and rinse off perspiration after vigorous exercise. Insects are attracted to the scent of deodorants and perspiration.

  • Avoid the use of strong-smelling perfume, cologne, hair oil, hair spray or lotions, because insects may be attracted by their fragrance.

  • Cover food and drinks at outdoor events as much as possible.

  • Keep outside garbage covered. The smell of food attracts insects.

  • Use insect repellents, and keep insecticide available.

  • Do not knowingly approach or disturb the nests of stinging insects.

In addition to preventing exposure, it is important to be prepared to treat insect sting reactions in a variety of settings, including at home, school, day care, friend's houses and all other sites where your child spends time. This is called an Insect Sting Action Plan.

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.