Honey bees are peaceful creatures who just want to go about their business pollinating and making strong honey bee colonies and are generally not on the lookout for someone to sting. But, every now and then we get in their way or do something to piss them off and before we know it BLAM! Bee Sting City. Bee stings hurt, no way around it.
Here’s a good way to prevent being stung- understand why bees sting. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, bee’s sting when they feel threatened (i.e. swatted at) or alarmed. Bees aren’t flying around looking for someone to sting. Stinging is a bee’s last resort defense mechanism. They’re equipped with a barbed stinger and venom that is produced in a special venom sac. When the bee stings, the venom sac, along with muscles and part of their digestive tract, stays with the stinger, causing the bee to die. Sad.
Preventing pain is always preferable to treating it. There are a few measures you can take to prevent a sting (from a bee, wasp, yellow jacket, or other stinging insects):
o Cover sweet food and beverages when outside
o Have hives or nests near your home or business removed! (We’ll do this for you!)
o Careful walking around barefoot, sometimes stinging critters are on the ground, not in the air
o Don’t dress like a flowerbed- avoid brightly colored clothes that bees might mistake for flowers
o Avoid scented perfumes, soaps, etc.- you will smell super good to them
o Avoid baggy clothing that they could get tangled up in
o If a bee is flying around you, remain calm and slowly walk away- swatting will only tick them off
Swatting, stepping on, or furiously waving away a bee is a good way to put yourself on the fast track to getting stung.
If you are unfortunate enough to get stung, there are a few things you can do to lessen the severity of the sting.
o DON’T PANIC! Slowly walk away from the area the bee
stung you in just in case other bees are around, you don’t
want to accidentally agitate them.
o Use a fingernail or credit card to swipe across the skin to
remove the stinger. Like we mentioned previously, the
venom sack is attached to the stinger when it’s in you.
Squeezing the sack will only pump more venom into you, so
we don’t want you to try and grab at the stinger to remove it.
This way of removing the stinger will avoid pumping more
venom into you and hopefully lessen the pain you experience
in the long run.
o As mentioned before, if the person who is stung is allergic to bees, immediately get them
professional medical help.
Once the stinger is out, was the area with warm water and soap. Icing may help to reduce pain and swelling, so grab that bag of frozen peas. If the itching or swelling is a pain, grab some Benadryl or other antihistamine to help with symptoms. Other natural remedies that you can try to relieve the sting are:
o Making a paste with 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon water, apply to stung area
o Apply apple cider vinegar to the area with a cotton ball
o Honey! This natural antiseptic will help alleviate symptoms
If you get stung, chin up kid you’re stronger because of it. And, maybe you learned something to prevent it from happening the next time.