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  • Discourage bees from swarming your summer spread. Use bee biology to reduce your risk of getting stung.

    Garden variety

    To a bee, a flower is a source of food, namely, pollen and nectar. Try to select flowers that don't attract bees. For bees, the flowers that produce the best food are bright blue, yellow and white. Bright orange and purple flowers are also attractive. In general, the least attractive color is red. Good flower choices to keep your garden bee-free are carnation, chrysanthemum, daisy, red dianthus, geranium, marigold, rose, strawflower and zinnia.

    More tips:

    • Because bees and other stinging insects are attracted to colorful flowers, they could mistake you for a garden. Don't wear flower-print clothing or bright, primary colors to outdoor functions, even if you believe these are fashionable. Pastels are a good choice.
    • Don't use brightly colored table cloths, plates, utensils, picnic blankets or other accessories; bees may mistake these for flowers as well.
    • Don't wear flower-scented body sprays or use flower-scented deodorant, soap or lotions. Bees are attracted to flower scents, too.
    • Bees sting because they feel threatened. Make them more comfortable by not moving quickly around them or in areas where they might be, such as a garden. Never swat at a bee. If you find a bee in the car with you, pull over, open the windows and allow it to leave.
    • When hosting an outdoor party, set up a food table at a distance from where people will congregate and away from entrances, exits and other highly trafficked areas. Keep the food and trash bins covered when not in use.


    If you find a hive in your home or yard, call an exterminator who is experienced in removing hives. Do not attempt to remove the hive on your own. Generally, bee-specialized exterminators will have the proper equipment, which includes face netting, and will spray the inside of the hive with pesticide and remove it.

    Be sure that no fragments of the hive remain, particularly at the site where it was attached, and wash the attachment site with detergent if possible. For many hive-building insects, an old attachment site is prime real estate for a new nest.

    More about insect stings and bites: