How to Remove A Bee Sting
Bees are a passive creature by nature. They really only attack close to the nest when their home (the colony) is under attack or when they feel personally threatened. Otherwise they simply go about their day looking for flowers and collecting nectar that ultimately gets converted into wonder sweet honey for us to eat.
Every so often people stumble across a bee hive. Because people are so close to the hive, the bees believe the hive is in danger. Sensing the hive is in danger, a single bee or several bees from the colony may attack you (sting you). Alternatively, in a worst case scenario, it may feel like so many bees are attacking you that you feel like the entire hive it attacking you.
Worker bees have a venom sac located on their bottoms. This stinger is barbed and very pointy. The female worker bee can “sting” many animals with her barb. Humans however have thicker skin and are more elastic by nature than many other animals. As such the sharp stinger pierces our skin and the barbs stick into our skin. This means that they have trouble retracting and gets “stuck”. This is what makes them able to pierce our skins and “sting” us and then remain stuck seemingly trapped within our skin.
It is often at this point that we notice the bees and try to “swat” them away. Unfortunately the barbs of the bee stinger is trapped in our skin and the bee can’t get out easily. At this point many people “take another swipe” at the bee with their hands and crush it under the pressure of the “slap” from our hands.
In doing this the worker bee venom sac is pierced a mild toxin is released. Many people are fine with this small amount of toxin. Some people are allergic to this toxin. In extreme cases they can have a severe anaphylaxis reaction and will require urgent medical assistance.
Because of this, the best advice is really is just to leave the bee alone. It really just wants to go about its day looking for pollen, nectar or water to eat. A single bee isn’t really interested in humans and are very unlikely to sting us.
In this case the best advice I can give you is from the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (www.ars.usda.gov, 2017)
Here is a short 1 minute video with advice on how to safely remove a honey bee stinger.
The author is: Jason Chrisman Video date is: Jul 8, 2013
The key points are:
- the faster you remove the stinger the less chance of extra toxins being released into your muscles.
- Try not to pierce the venom sac.
- Use your finger nail and make contact ONLY with the actual pointy part of the stinger.
- Scrape AWAY from the body and this pressure should release the stinger.
- The stinger should be fully released now.
To see more videos by Jason Chrisman, please click here.
IF you would like to lean more about How Bees make honey, please click here.
The top 8 things to do if stung by a bee
1. RUN away quickly. Do not stop to help others. However, small children and the disabled may need some assistance.
2. As you are running, pull your shirt up over your head to protect your face, but make sure it does not slow your progress. This will help keep the bees from targeting the sensitive areas around your head and eyes.
3. Continue to RUN. Do not stop running until you reach shelter, such as a vehicle or building. A few bees may follow you indoors. However, if you run to a well-lit area, the bees will tend to become confused and fly to windows.Do not jump into water! The bees will wait for you to come up for air. If you are trapped for some reason, cover up with blankets, sleeping bags, clothes, or whatever else is immediately available.
4. Do not swat at the bees or flail your arms. Bees are attracted to movement and crushed bees emit a smell that will attract more bees.
5. Once you have reached shelter or have outrun the bees, remove all stingers. When a honey bees stings, it leaves its stinger in the skin. This kills the honey bee so it can’t sting again, but it also means that venom continues to enter into the wound for a short time.
6. Do not pull stingers out with tweezers or your fingers. This will only squeeze more venom into the wound. Instead, scrape the stinger out sideways using your fingernail, the edge of a credit card, a dull knife blade or other straight-edged object.
7. If you see someone being attacked by bees, encourage them to run away or seek shelter. Do not attempt to rescue them yourself. Call 911 to report a serious stinging attack. The emergency response personnel in your area have probably been trained to handle bee attacks.
8. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or are feeling ill, or if you have any reason to believe you may be allergic to bee stings, seek medical attention immediately. The average person can safely tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight. This means that although 500 stings can kill a child, the average adult could withstand more than 1100 stings.
Source: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (www.ars.usda.gov, 2017)
The best way to recover from the sting.
Swelling may be reduced by icing the wound and/or taking an antihistamine such as Benedril. Topical solutions such as calamine may also help to alleviate pain associated with stinging. It is beneficial to drink plenty of water.
If you believe that your reaction to the sting is excessive or if the throat or airways become blocked or start swelling immediately. It’s best to be cautious because in extreme cases people have been shown to be having an anaphylaxis response to the bee venom.
If you would like more information on bees in general, please feel free to visit United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service via their website. Please click here.
If you would like to see more videos by Jason Chrisman, please click here.
If you would like to lean more about the benefits of eating Manuka Honey, please click here.
Have you ever been stung by a bee or wasp? Was it painful or was it alright? Do you have any tips or useful pieces of advice to share with us? Are you a beekeeper?
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