According to WVU Agricultural Center:
Stinging insects are limited to the order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps, bees, and ants. The stinger is a modified egg-laying apparatus; so, only females can sting.
Most hymenopterans live solitary lives, and their behavior is more likely to be flight than fight. Social hymenopterans, including yellowjackets, bumble bees, honey bees, and fire ants, have individuals in the colony whose task it is to defend the nest. If the nest is disturbed, these individuals will defend it vigorously. In addition, foraging members of the colony will also sting if they are disturbed or injured as they go about their activities. Some, such as the yellowjackets, are much more liable to attack than are others.
So how is the home owner to assist the wasp in flight instead of fight?
Survey your home and yard regularly for signs of wasp activity: If you are going to be working in the garden or in an area with wood piles, etc. take five to ten minutes to just look around the area and note if you see wasps flying in the area. The worst thing that can happen is that you get an extra ten minutes of peace and quiet, and if you are disturbed, you can tell the human pest that you need to be left alone and in silence, you are ‘surveying’ for signs of wasp activity. If you do notice a few of them flying, try to access where is their home base is located. You may be able to kill the nest and limit the possibility of being stung. Always keep long range wasp spray on hand for precisely these moments.
Dress Appropriately: Guess what? Wasps like nectar, which means they like flowers, which means they like things that look and smell like flowers. Ergo, to you that means, when going to work out in the yard, don’t dress or smell like a flower. Save your Laura Ashley frock and Liz Claiborne scents for garage sale-ing this weekend. Instead, choose more Rambo based fashion choices. Khaki, camouflage, and browns don’t interest your not-so-friendly neighborhood wasp nearly as much. Also, long sleeves and pants (and closed toe shoes too!) are bonus if you can stand the heat.
Don’t FREAK OUT!: With all due respect to those with big time waspy bad dreams…Jumping up and down, screaming, flailing, or running blindly into a fence, will NOT help you where wasps are concerned. Keep your wits about you. If there is one wasp, just looking into what you’re doing, either wait patiently for him to fly off, carefully brush him off if you have gloves on, or walk slowly in the other direction. By doing the cuckoo dance, you only increase the chances that the lone wasp WILL sting you. If there is a plethora of ticked off wasps, okay, RUN! But, look out for where you’re running. Tripping and falling under these circumstances is no better than being the faller in a scary movie, bad things will happen.
In case of allergic reactions or multiple stings, you may need immediate medical attention.