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bees-and-wasps-facts-nyc-8What difference does the color of your shirt make to an insect? Well, if you’re talking about bees and wasps, what you wear could make the difference between being seen as a predator, being mistaken for a flower, or simply being ignored.

Got your attention? We thought so.


The truth is that, like many creatures in the animal kingdom, bees and wasps have more complex eyesight than we do. They see things differently and can often be attracted to incorrect objects — including a person’s clothing — when flying around tending to its daily routine.


Bees and Wasps Facts: Which colors will attract them?


For some people, it might seem like a good thing to look (and smell) like a flower. But if you want to keep bees and wasps away, this is something you’ll want to avoid. Their eyesight is designed in such a way that they can identify colorful flowers. The brighter the flower, the more attracted they are. The same can be said of your clothing. If you wear very bright colors, a bee or wasp may mistake you — at least for the time being — for a flower. Even worse, if you clean your clothes with a laundry detergent that uses a UV brightener, the attraction becomes even stronger. Stick to lighter, pale colors if you have a problem with bees or wasps in your area.


Bees and Wasps Facts: Which colors will make them attack?


You might not think of dark colors such as red or black as being aggressive, but when it comes to bees and wasps, it’s true. Darker colors will sometimes be interpreted as natural predators such as bears and skunks. The bees or wasps might not attack right away, but they will often be on the defensive, which means that even a small thing can set them off. Even worse (and a little funny) is that  bees and wasps will often go after your collar or cuff, depending on what you’re wearing, because these areas will be perceived as your weak spot. On a predator, these areas would be the eyes and other vulnerable places that the bees or wasps could take advantage of.


Bees and Wasps Facts: Which colors will repel them?


It would be great if there was a color that would actually repel bees and wasps, but it’s simply not true. However, there are some colors that will make you all but invisible to these insects. As mentioned before, those colors include pale or light shades. For best results, wear white. This lack of color will typically make bees and wasps leave you alone. In fact, the next time you see a beekeeper, you’ll know exactly why the outfit is white.



Photo Credit:  kokogiak via Flickr