While spring is a time for warm sunny days and blooming flowers, it’s also a time for bees and bee stings.
Bee stings are very common and extremely painful. For most people, a bee sting is just a nuisance. You might experience swelling, warmth, sharp pain, and itching at the sting site, but it doesn’t escalate into anything serious. For the minority of people who have severe reactions to bee stings, the symptoms can range from vomiting and shaking to trouble breathing, coma, shock and death. In fact, more Americans die from bee or other insect stings than from snake bites annually.
The message is that you shouldn’t take a bee sting too lightly. Be serious and act quickly if you’re stung by a bee. An allergic reaction need only minutes to show the symptoms which include redness and swelling around the spot of bee sting which that can escalate to a more serious situation. Consequently, it is important to know how to treat bee stings, from the minor to the severe.
Prevention and Treatment
One of the best ways to avoid bee stings is through prevention. Successful prevention means not frightening them and not attracting them if they are nearby. Prevention techniques are especially important in the fall, when most stings occur. Prevent bee stings by taking the following precautions:
- Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, especially floral prints. Otherwise, you’ll look like a flower patch.
- Always check for nests around your home, especially around warmer months (August, July and June).
- If you’re on a picnic keep a good distance from receptacles and keep your grills, tables and eating areas clean to prevent bees from flying near you.
- Bees are attracted to sweet scents, so avoid fragrances. This includes scented lotions, hair sprays and soaps.
- If attacked by bees try to run indoors or to an outdoor shaded area. Protect your face while running since this is the most likely place to be stung.
- Sweet drinks and food are entice bees, especially canned fizzy drinks. The tiny insect will climb in the opening and may sting if someone unsuspectingly takes a sip.
- Always wear closed shoes outdoors especially when walking in the grass. Bees are attracted to the white clover weed that is often found in most lawns.
- Bees are not aggressive insects and their stingers are only used as a defense mechanism. If a bee lands on you, don’t panic. Hold still. If you make brisk movements, the frightened bee will react by stinging.
- If you have been stung by a bee, follow the following guidelines and procedures to relieve and reduce any pain or swelling and prevent the sting from worsening:
- Scrape the stinger out as soon as possible and avoid squeezing or pulling it out as that may release more venom.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water.
- Apply an ice bag wrapped in a cloth or towel. Ice lessens swelling by shrinking vessels and reducing the flow of venom in the blood. And the numbing effect calms itching and pain.
- Avoid scratching the sting to minimize the chances of infection and swelling.
- Have someone monitor you for any allergic reactions.
- According to CDC, fifty percent of people in the United States die annually as a result of bee stings. Individuals with severe reactions to insect stings should wear a medical ID bracelet and carry an insect allergy kit.
- Symptoms of Allergic Reactions to Insect Stings
- There are several signs of an allergic reaction to bee stings:
- Wheezing (difficulty in breathing)
- Drop in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Pale skin
- Diarrhea and dizziness
- Swelling of throat or mouth
- Hives and itching over the entire body
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or if you have been stung in the throat, nose or mouth. Swelling in the highlighted areas may interfere with breathing.
Amazing Bee Facts
- Did you know that a honey bee makes about two thousand trips to the flower fields to make just an ounce of honey? Well, each trip can be up to five miles, and this equates to a thousand or more flowers per bee.
- If a worker bee uses her stinger, she will die.
- Of all the bee species you could know about, the European honey bee is maybe the most known because of its ability to produce honey.
- Are you aware that bees have antennae that are usually made differently in females and males? In females they’re made up of twelve distinct segments while male antennae are made up of thirteen different segments.
Keep in mind that naturally most of the bees do not sting unless they feel endangered or annoyed by something, so avoid provoking them. Contact a bee removal company that offers multiple techniques and services to remove bees from both commercial and residential areas.