Before I started beekeeping, I was wondering if is bee sting dangerous for me. Can it damage my body and health? So I did some research about what to do if you get stung, how to avoid it, and what impact does it have on our health. I found some surprising answers about bee venom.
Answer to the question is not a simple yes or no. In my opinion, it is both. If you are allergic to bee venom, have a weak immune system, and you get stung in a sensitive spot in our body (eye, throat, neck) is very dangerous. But on the other hand, bee venom has a lot of beneficial health properties and is commonly used in apitherapy for the treatment of different diseases.
Sometimes bee stings us, even though we don’t oppose them a threat. So why do bee sting us?
Humans are not the primary target of bees or wasps, but the insects will defend themselves if we accidentally step or sit on it. We can lower the risk of getting stung by a bee if we follow some basic guidelines.
● Wear light-colored clothing and keep clothing material as smooth as possible. Avoid colorful clothes that remind them of flowers.
● Avoid using fragrant soaps, shampoos, and deodorants. Avoid perfume and cologne. Avoid bananas and toiletries that smell like bananas. Banana’s sweetness attracts bees.
● Wear clean clothes and wash them regularly. Also, bees dislike the smell of human sweat.
● Protect your body with clothing as much as possible
● Avoid gardening, especially working with flowers that produce a lot of honey or pollen
● Keep the area outside your home clean. Bees, as well as wasps, thrive the most in places where people throw away food or sweet drinks. The smell of beer also attracts wasps. Picnic sites should therefore always be well-cleared
● If a bee is flying around you, remain calm as possible or to tilt your head slightly. The face is the most common place where a bee (or wasp) sticks. Waving your hand to chase a bee often results in a bee sting.
● If you are attacked by multiple bees or a swarm of bees, run as far away from them as possible. When bees sting, they release a chemical that also warns other nearby bees of the intruder. As a result, you may be attacked by more bees. If you are outdoors, you may want to take refuge in the shady surroundings instead or sprinkle yourself with water or jump in the pool.
● If the bee enters your vehicle, slowly stop the car and open all the windows. Remember that with bees, you always have to be calm.
If you get stung by a bee; you will have to remove the stinger. Gently pull out the stinger, preferably with a knife tip, or with the nail. Removal with tweezers is not recommended, as poison can be squeezed into the skin. Skin usually get red and swollen. The person feels a burning sensation or sharp pain and itching. But not every person has the same reaction. A healthy, adult man can withstand up to a couple of hundreds of bee stings, and around a hundred stings can be fatal for a child.
Now let’s look at some helpful tips in case of a bee attack:
● Remain calm, do not panic!
● you must quickly remove the stinger because longer is a stinger in our skin more venom it releases to the body.
● Do not scratch or rub the inflicted area.
● Begin to cool the inflicted area. You can use ice or any other cold object.
● if an injured person feels bad, has red eyes, swollen lips or has difficulty breathing and gets skin rash, we give him antihistamine pills.
● If an injured person feels worse after consuming pills, you lie him down and raise his legs. If he becomes unconscious, we place him in a lateral position and observe the breathing and heartbeat. And immediately call an ambulance.
|Reaction||Mild||Moderated||Severe allergic reaction|
|Symptoms||sharp burning pain at the sting site redness Slight swelling around the sting area||Extreme redness Swelling gradually enlarges over the next day or two||Skin reactions, itching, and pale skin Hard to breathing Swelling of the tongue and throat A weak, rapid pulse diarrhea, Nausea or vomiting Dizziness or fainting Loss of consciousness|
|treatment||Home treated||Home treated/doctor help; this is not an allergic reaction; it can be treated at home it usually resolved over a couple of days. But you will have to talk to your doctor treatment and prevention, especially if the reaction becomes more severe each time||Call 911 immediately you have a 25% to 65% chance of anaphylaxis the next time they’re stung. Talk to your doctor about immunotherapy.|
I stand in my lifetime by a couple of thousand bees, so I consider myself immune to bee venom. Usually, after a sting, I feel a little bit of pain, but the spot of sting never gets red or swollen. But even though sometimes I get a mild reaction after a sting, this usually happens in June. This is the month when bees produce the most venom.
From my experience, most cases of bee attacks can be treated at home. But if you have an allergic reaction in the past, you must immediately seek professional help, because it is likely to be repeated. Once I had an accident, my bees were swarming, and they landed on a nearby apple tree. Usually, a swarm of honey bees is not aggressive (apis mellifera carnica). This was at the end of May, and I was in a hurry. So I decided that I will scratch the swarm without a protection suit, wearing only shorts and a t-shirt. So I climb on an apple tree, and successfully scratch swarm, but when I was descending a branch crack, and I felt down. The whole swarm of bees flat on my chest. I was probably stung more than a hundred times. When I clear all the bees from me, my wife helped me remove stingers. I have not had any allergic reaction. I have some swelling around my eyes and fingers. A couple of hours after the accident, my head started to ache, headache lasted for one day.
Much more than apis mellifera carnica in dangerous Africanized bee. Carnica is a very calm species of honey bees. On the other hand, it is Africanized bee territorial and hostile to all intruders. It is hard to work with it. It can attack passersby without reason, and they attack in higher numbers. So what is the best thing to do when you are attacked by multiple or a swarm of bees?
We have to realize that when a couple of bees sting us, they release a chemical that attracts more bees. So, in that case, it is essential that we started to run far away for swarm attacks. If we can, we have to cover mouth and neck but must not hide our eyes so that we can see where to run. After we are clear of bees, we have to start to remove bees from our hair. They usually stick to our hairs. Then we have to remove stingers. As soon as we can, we must call 911, attack by so many bees is hazardous. It can provoke anaphylactic shock, and in the worst-case scenario first, symptoms can appear after 10 seconds of a sting. Symptoms are particular: nausea, nausea, and vomiting, dry mouth, burning tongue, visual disturbances, shortness of breath, heart rate become rapid and fuzzy, impaired concentration. Skin rashes, itching, and other skin changes are also possible, but they do not express themselves due to the fast course of the reaction. In that case, the injection of adrenalin can save our life.
When I am working with my bees; I usually sprinkle myself with homemade apple vinegar. Honeybees are much calmer when they sense the smell of vinegar on our hands. It also works if you rub your hands with clove essential oil. I also put in bee smoker dry wood fungi. They have disinfection property, burn slowly, and produce a lot of smoke. Smoke calms bees. It is very wise to be well prepared before you start to work with bees. We must not forget that honey bee cannot pull the barbed stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its abdomen and digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This kills bees.
I put together a list of home remedies that can help in the case of bee or insect sting. I talked with a couple of old beekeepers in my area, and they were willing to share these simple recipes.
● BASIL. Tear off the basil leaf and rub it against the spot. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
● VINEGAR. If multiple bees attacked you prepare yourself a vinegar bath. Pour two or three cups of vinegar, preferably apple cider, into a tub of water, and you will soon feel relief. Or you can mix in ratio 1:1 cold water and apple vinegar pore it to cloth and place it to the sting area. This will help you reduce swelling and decrease itching. It will also cool us.
● RAW POTATOES. Grind the fresh potatoes or cut them into thin rings. Place them to the affected area and let it work for a while.
● SOIL, MUD, OR CLAY. If you get stung by a bee and have nothing to do with you, you can use land. Place on a sting area and wait a couple of minutes. The soil will cool the wound and prevent swelling. If we have nearby clay, it is much better, because clay absorbs poison.
● LEMON JUICE. Lemon juice will reduce the swelling and minimize annoying itching after a sting. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on the spot and rub gently into the skin. Repeat if it is necessary.
● Sodium bicarbonate. Due to its alkaline nature, it helps neutralize the pH of the skin, providing relief. Mix the baking soda with some water and rub the mixture gently in the affected area.
● PARSHALL. Parsley also helps with the bee or mosquito bite. Gather a bunch of parsley and crush it in your hand, then place it on the spot. Relieves itching and prevents swelling.
● LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL, TEA TREE OIL. These essential oils also have anti-inflammatory properties and will, therefore, relieve itching, swelling, and pain. They also have antibacterial properties, which help them to prevent infection of the sting area. Tea tree and lavender essential oil can be applied directly to the skin. Both oils help in picking mosquitoes, bees, ticks, wasps, and other insects. Put a drop or two into the spot and massage gently into the skin.
● CABBAGE LEAFS. Cabbage leaves help reduce swelling. For example, if you were stung in hand, put a couple of fresh leaves on the spot and fix it with a bandage. Then leave it on for a couple of hours and then replace them with new ones.
● HONEY. Beekeepers also use honey in case of the sting; it helps us reduce pain, swelling, and itching. I do not recommend this method because it can attract more bees. I use honey. We have to be very careful.
In conclusion, if we have a robust immune system and have no prior allergic reaction to bee venom, we will survive bee sting without problems. On the other hand, bee venom has a lot of positive health benefits.