Summer is the best time to eat on your patio — it’s also peak season for bees. “Late summer and early fall is when stinging insect colonies reach their peak population levels,” says Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entymologist for the National Pest Management Association. Across the United States, we get many different species of bees, including carpenter bees, bumble bees, and honey bees, and we tend to think of yellow jackets as bees, even though they are actually wasps. (So many bees!)
While most bees can and will sting humans, their level of aggression can vary, which can make them an unpredictable (and possibly painful) nuisance — or a real health issue. “People with known allergies to insect stings or asthma should be particularly careful, since the stings could trigger a potentially life-threatening reaction,” says Dr. Fredericks. (I know this to be true because I’m still recovering from Macauley Caulkin’s untimely death in My Girl, circa 1991.)
So we do not want bees, but they’re around. Luckily, there are a few solid things you can do to keep them away from your cookout.