Why do stinging insects attack as you climb out of the pool?

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Offline thedoc

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Jeanette Culver  asked the Naked Scientists:
Hello Chris;
This is a problem that has had me puzzled me for many years.

Why are wasps and hornets inclined to attack you as you're climbing out of the pool in summer? The only times I've ever been stung by a hornet or wasp it was as I climbed out of a pool, just minding my own business, soaking wet. I've found many times that if you dive in to escape them, they seem to stalk you, waiting for you to resurface so they can attack again.
Thank You!
Jeanette from Philadelphia

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 17/07/2012 09:30:01 by _system »


Offline Don_1

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Wasps are certainly persistant little buggers when they want something. It is probably their need to drink which attracts them. It is safer for a wasp to drink from water droplets rather than risk getting a soaking by drinking from a large body of water. What's more, there is no chance of becoming a snack for an unseen fish lurking under the surface.

Its the water they are after and perhaps the possibilty of that water containing a little salt. They are also attracted to sweat for that reason. The reason they sting is usually your flailing arms trying to shoo them off. This is regarded as a threat, to which they respond to defend themselves.
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.