8-2-08: State Pest Management Association and Leading NCSU Entomology Professor Encourage Public to Recognize Benefits of State’s Stinging Insects

Association also offers summer insect survival tips to consumers

Wrightsville Beach, N.C. – Encouraging the general public to recognize the benefits stinging insects bring to the state was part of a discussion today at the 2008 Carolinas/Mid Atlantic Summer Conference in Wrightsville Beach.  Dr. Mike Waldvogel, a professor in the North Carolina State University’s Entomology Department, emphasized the benefits honey bees bring to the population and explained the positive attributes of wasps. 

“Many people are simply scared of any insect with a stinger, but they don’t realize that wasps and bees have good benefits for our environment too,” said Dr. Waldvogel.  “Everyone knows that bees provide honey and pollination, but many don’t realize that most wasps eat pests such as cicadas, caterpillars and spiders.”    

Pest professionals from across the state today gathered for the weekend conference.  The event is an annual event co-sponsored by the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA), the South Carolina Pest Control Association and the Virginia Pest Management Association.

Summertime humidity and heat creates a perfect environment for insects that can sting or bite, including yellow jackets, bees and wasps.  Waldvogel explained to the audience, including members of the NCPMA that their customers are often at greater risk of getting stung when they are in greater proximity to insects, which is often during picnicking, hiking or other outdoor activities.

“We want North Carolinians to know that they don’t have to be scared of getting stung while enjoying their summertime activities,” said Burns Blackwell of Terminix Company in Greensboro and a board member of the NCPMA.  “Our association is dedicated to providing those we serve with detailed strategies they can implement to avoid any unwanted encounters with these insects this summer.”

The NCPMA offers several ways for consumers to prevent stings.  These include:

  • Know that not every wasp or bee is ready to sting.  Some are only interested in pests and don’t attack humans.
  • Don’t swat or wave insects away.  Gently and slowly brush the insects away from you.
  • Keep food covered.  Many wasps are attracted to sweet drinks and foods.
  • Don’t sit near trash cans when picknicking. They are prime targets for yellow jackets.
  • Don’t wear heavy perfume or aftershave when spending time outdoors.  The smell attracts wasps and bees.
  • Wear loose or baggy clothing when walking outside, especially in wooded areas.  And always wear shoes to prevent stepping on insects.
  • Watch for yellow jackets when doing yard work.  Yellow jackets often live in nests in the ground which can be disturbed by lawnmowers, weed eaters and other lawn tools.
  • Consult a pest management professional to determine the best solutions to reduce stinging insects and other pests from your home and yard. 

To find a local pest management professional, check www.ncpestmanagement.org.  The new Web site for NCPMA offers an online tool to help North Carolinians find their local pest professionals by typing in their zip code.

About the NCPMA

Founded in 1952, the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA), is the trade association representing the professional pest management industry in North Carolina. NCPMA promotes the continued cooperation and success of all pest management businesses in North Carolina.  Formerly, the North Carolina Pest Control Association, NCPMA is the only statewide association dedicated to representing and educating North Carolina’s pest management professionals. 

To learn more about NCPMA, please visit its new Web site at www.ncpestmanagement.org.

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