A Beekeeping Warning – All About Bee Stings
If you’ve never been stung by a honey bee and you are interested in beekeeping, you need to get an allergy test to make sure that you are not deathly allergic to bee stings. If you do have a serious allergy, talk to your doctor about your plans, because you should either rethink beekeeping as a hobby, or you need to make serious preparations in case you are stung. In fact, it is advised that everyone who engages in beekeeping should keep basic medications such as an EpiPen handy in case of an adverse reaction caused by several stings at once.
Anaphylactic shock is something that should also be kept in mind. Signs of this include the typical difficulty breathing and extreme swelling, but be aware that other, lesser symptoms can indicate the presence of this condition. Welts or itchiness in areas not near the bees sting, and swelling on other parts of the body, are a sign that you should seek immediate medical attention. Even if you supposedly do not have an allergy to bee stings, you should be aware of the symptoms, and if they occur – even slowly, and over the span of a couple of days – you should immediately go to the doctor because the situation can become serious very quickly, and in some individuals can lead to death.
Again, this is not to frighten you, since bees are actually very peaceful creatures, and there are many ways to lessen the chance of being stung. However, knowledge is power, and you should know about all possible risks before beginning any activity, whether it is beekeeping, skiing, or swimming. Everything in life carries risks, and the responsible person will know these risks beforehand and use everything in their power to minimize the chance of them happening.
However, you will eventually get stung. It’s a fact of life for beekeepers. It doesn’t have to happen often, but it will happen. One of the reasons that bees are generally more peaceful and less aggressive than insects like wasps and hornets is because bees die when they sting. The stinger, if it becomes embedded in the victim’s skin, pulls out the bee’s internal organs and kills them. The bees seem to know this instinctively, and often refrain from stinging unless they feel the hive and the other members of the colony are threatened. However, since beekeepers often go into hives, they are engaging the bees in the very place that the bees feel most threatened.
Bee Stings 101
If a bee stings you, it will generally leave behind the stinger in your skin. If and when this happens, you can use anything with a hard, straight edge to scrape along the skin and push the stinger out. A credit card, strangely enough, is a perfect tool for doing this. If you can see the stinger, you can also grab it with your fingers and pull it out.
A common aid for applying to bee stings is to mix up a paste of water and baking soda and apply it directly to the sting. A topical antihistamine should keep swelling and itching down, and an oral version can be taken if you are experiencing other symptoms like watering of your eyes. Anything more serious than that, including swelling of other parts of your body or difficulty breathing, should be attended to immediately by a physician.
About the Author: Howard Peterson has been interested in beekeeping for years. Check out his website’s free articles on things like a beekeeping suit that will help you avoid stings. https://twitter.com/123debthelp/status/24500341027