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I've been stung twice in the past week by yellow jackets. A week ago Monday on the lip and yesterday (Labor Day) on the hand. I have a fairly strong reaction to being stung, lots of swelling, fortunately nothing more serious than swelling and lots of itching. Add one more time last fall and I'm thinking these guys are ganging up on me. In all three cases I was moving while I was stung. I was right in the road where I belong on my bike, not near food or nesting sites or anything else predictable. So my question is whether cyclists are more prone to stings than the general population. Does our movement create a great vortex and suck them towards us? :}

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If you act a little funny, they usually go for that MARK, I mean the funny ones at least you attract.
They got bad earlier than usual this year, presumably due to the cool weather. Got 2 stings yesterday - swelling and itching,wotta treat.
I have noticed that, since moving here to Chicago, there are digger wasps. They are big and territorial and tend to inhabit specific areas. I have notice they have burrows in several different locations in about a 100 square foot radius near my apartment for the last 2 summers. Is it possible that you are getting stung generally in the same location due to this type of localized inhabitation? They are huge like hornets but seem to just hang around their burrows and if you come too close they home in on you until you leave. They might perceive you as a threat based on your speed or noise your bike makes. Also, it could simply be coincidental. I have yet to be stung, however, I get hit by a lot of insects in the face while biking.
I was stung last fall by an enormous wasp; it had flown under my helmet and I instinctively went to brush it away but hit my helmet instead, pushing the helmet into the wasp where it apparently became startled and then stung. The area around my eye was completely swollen.

This past spring I was stung again, by a much smaller bee or wasp, on my nose.

Both times were in almost the exact same spot - right along McCormick Place on the LFP.
The ones that got me were the small yellow-jackets not the larger dark hornets. First one was in Arlington Heights, south of downtown; second one was in Lake Forest so I don't think they were close relations, just distant cousins.
Funny you raise this subject. I was also just stung recently. This was for the first time in about thirty years while riding my bike. This occured on August 18th when riding around the Morton Arberetum. I sensed an insect flew down the top of my partially unzipped bike shirt. Five minutes later I felt this excrutiating pain on the right side of my abdomen, just above the top of my shorts. I managed to rid the critter by temporarily lifting my shirt, and kept riding. The area continued to sting for about twelve hours, and remained swollen for over a week. The remminants of the scare are still there.

I've no idea of the species, but would be intrigued to know. The venum of some of these insects is nothing short of a neuro-toxin. One interesting side effect was that the occasional arrythmia I suffer from has been behaved for the last couple of weeks.
It is a shame when these insects treat cyclists in such a threatening way. We pay taxes too and have a right to the road. Hopefully the yellow jacket will consider the safety of cyclists, as well as their own selves, and resolve to share the road in the future.
Had one fly down the back of my shirt once, the woman on the porch got quite a show as i screamed, stopped, danced around. Fortunately I don't react very strongly, just short term pain, but no swelling.
Being highly allergic to bees, I've dealt with this for years. My solution is to cover up as much as possible and use equipment that bounces insects, like:

* Helmets with integral insect netting (common in Europe, and increasingly common here)
* Eyeglasses or sunglasses (seems like a wasp bounces off my glasses at least once per ride)
* Long fingered gloves (this is more a result of having my hands cut up badly and repeatedly whilst crashing in races, but also prevents stings!)

The helmet nets are a godsend, especially with the trend towards massive vents, which seem to not only allow insects access, but suck them in!
I've been stung twice while riding and here's my take on it.

When something huge hits you at 20mph your gut reaction is probably going to be sting, and sting like hell. Bite, tear, kill and hope you can get away in one piece!!!

That's what I think is going through the poor bees mind as you whack him with your fleshy hugeness.

IMHO of course.
Probably not a factor if you're moving at a good clip, but "perfumes" in daily hygeine products as seemingly benign as Shampoos and Deodorants will attract flying stinging things; I try to lay off the Axe when rolling...
Y'know, come to think of it, I saw this guy pedaling away from Foster Beach access to LFB; he was going West on Berwyn, riding a green Stingray...



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