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Painful pests

Insects cause 40 serious accidents a year

By swissinfo.ch and agencies

Roger Federer takes evasive action against an inquisitive wasp. Not all encounters end without serious injury (Keystone)

Roger Federer takes evasive action against an inquisitive wasp. Not all encounters end without serious injury


Insects are responsible for around 40 serious accidents, requiring at least three months off work, every year in Switzerland, says the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA).

The current hot summer in Switzerland is being enjoyed not just by people but also by wasps, bees and mosquitos. The organisation is therefore advising people to take precautionary measures, such as not drinking out of cans.

The smallest insects cause the biggest problems, SUVA said on Tuesday. Wasps, bees and ticks cause some 20,000 accidents a year.

SUVA analysed data from all of Switzerland’s 29 accident insurers and found that half of accidents were down to ticks, whose high season is June. In that month alone, an average of 1,200 people are bitten by ticks.

Wasps are responsible for 3,000 accidents a year and bees 2,300. Bees are most active at the beginning of August and wasps in the middle of August.

The majority of accidents are basically harmless, SUVA said. It starts getting dangerous when someone is stung who is allergic to insect bites, when someone is stung in their mouth or when someone is distracted by a buzzing insect, leading to them crashing the car or falling off a ladder, for example.

SUVA pointed out that wasps are attracted by food, fizzy drinks and beer and advised people against drinking from cans or bottles when eating al fresco.

It’s also not a good idea to move quickly when near bees, wasps or hornets, it said. Perfume or scented creams should be avoided, as should places with beehives, forest clearings and hiking through ecological habitats.

It also helps to treat clothing with insect repellent, according to SUVA. 

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swissinfo.ch and agencies



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