7 Things You Should Do When a Wasp Lands on You

You know this feeling when you just enjoy your time on a picnic or family gathering in nature, and suddenly see an unwanted guest – a wasp. The wasps love these activities, as it’s a great opportunity for them to get some sugary foods, which they love the most. 

The first thing that you immediately want to do is to kill the wasp. You start to move aggressively trying to smack the insect. This draws a wasp’s attention to you and makes you a potential threat based on your behavior. That’s why the chances are you will get stung by a wasp several times for sure.

What Do You Do When a Wasp Lands on You?

To avoid getting stung, follow these 7 simple tips on how to behave when you faced a wasp:

1. Stay Calm

The easiest and the hardest at the same time is staying calm when you see a wasp. Knowing that there is a chance of getting stung, which is based on our past experiences or our knowledge about wasps, gets on our nerves. 

Remember, wasps are not interested in stinging you. They only use their sting for defense. Even if wasps sit on you, your fear is unfounded. In most cases, they just explore the area (in this case, you) and then keep flying because there is nothing of interest to them.

There are several techniques you can use to keep calm.

  • Deep and slow breathing helps calm your body and mind.
  • Closing your eyes stops sight of the insect. This sounds a little brave, but if someone describes what the wasp is doing in the meantime, it brings security.
  • Imagine the wasp is an insect you don’t fear, like a bumblebee or a fly.

2. Stay passive, avoid aggression

The most common mistake that leads to unwanted sting is trying to kill a wasp. This doesn’t usually work. Actually, it only makes it worse, as you make a wasp see you as a threat, which makes her use its defensive instinct – sting. 

If you don’t have any terrible allergic reactions to wasps, there is nothing to be afraid about. Fear is a key factor that drives us to act aggressively. The wasps sting only in situations when they feel they are in danger (Read more in our great Article Do Wasps Sense Fear? (Definitive Answer). Acting aggressively will only make you look like a threat.  

Passive behavior is most likely to save you from a sting.

Wasps are predators and act immediately when they sense danger. Make sure your behavior can’t be interpreted as an attack by a wasp and you will be safe.

3.  Avoid sudden rapid movements

If you see that a wasp landed on you, try to avoid sudden rapid movements.

Don’t try to flap at it or brush it off rapidly.

This won’t help you to get rid of it, you will only get stung. You need to stay calm and wait till it flies away on its own. 

A wasp can sting up to 5 times in a row during an attack. Rapid movements can provoke an attack, so try to move as slowly and gently as possible.

4. Gently and slowly brush it away with a piece of paper.

Brushing the wasp off is much better than smashing it because then it will most likely sting you. Of course, you never know if wasp lands on you to sting right away or to find some food on your clothes.

If you see that after some time, the wasp doesn’t fly away, then take a piece of paper and gently brush it off. Don’t press the paper trying to squash the wasp, as it can also result in getting stung.

This works even better if anyone can help you. You don’t have to move your head around and find the wasp. You can stay calm all the time and have somebody who explains to you where the wasp is, what it is doing, and finally brushes the wasp away in a calm manner.

5. Observe the area around you and make sure there is no wasp nest nearby

If there’s a wasp nest near you, you are in trouble. If you’re close to the nest, there is a chance you’ll be identified as a threat to the nest. If there’s only one wasp near you, it can signal other wasps in the nest that there is a potential danger. When it comes to protecting their nests, wasps can be excessively aggressive and attack vigorously.

A wasp nest can be difficult to spot as most wasps build their colony in the ground. There is a good chance that such a nest will be overlooked. A helpful indication is the flight path which is obvious in a range up to 5 meters (15 ft) as numerous wasps are constantly flying in and out.

So if you noticed a wasp nest near you, walk away from it immediately.

You should leave that area and don’t come too close to the nest, as it can be very dangerous. If the wasp lands on you and you see there is no nest nearby, then just try to gently brush it off and go away.

6. If a wasp got stuck in your clothes, wait till it gets out on its own

There are situations when a wasp not only lands on you but also gets stuck in your clothes. The hardest part about this is that in order to avoid a sting is that you need to wait for the wasp to find the way out on its own. 

If you want to smack it, be ready that you will be stung, as the stinger is very close to your body. So smashing a wasp on you is not a good option. You can try to gently brush the wasp off, however, you need to be very careful and make sure the wasp will not get more stuck even more.

You will face a great demand of doing anything – so what you can do is to open up your clothes very slowly and try to help the wasp find its way out. This increases your chances of not getting stung, bit still isn’t a guarantee.

7. Slowly walk away from where the wasp is flying

Try to slowly go away, without too much movement, from the area where the wasp is. This may not always work, especially when a wasp lands on you, meaning there is something that attracted the wasp to you. This may be your smell, perfume, or odor you’re wearing, sweat and salts in it, etc. In this case, just try to gently brush the wasp off and walk away, but don’t run.

It’s good to know that there are some smells, which wasps don’t like. It may be helpful before going on a picnic. The wasps hate the smell of herbs, such as eucalyptus, spearmint, thyme, and citronella. Choosing perfume with some of these fragrances will reduce the chances of a wasp landing on you.

To conclude, the most important thing that will save you from getting stung by a wasp is the right behavior. Staying calm and controlling your emotions in the situation when a wasp lands on you are key to enjoying your time in nature without unwanted wasp stings.

Want to know more about Wasps? Here are some of our most popular articles about yellowjackets:
How Long Does It Take for a Wasp to Die in a House?
Why Do Yellow Jackets Eat Each Other? (Murder Facts)
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Are wasps clean or dirty? (Practical Knowledge)
Wasps, Hornets and Honey – Surprising Facts
Wasps Without A Nest: Reasons, Seasons, Danger (Rarely Known)
Do Wasps Play Dead? (Little-known)
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