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Bee stings

 
master gardener
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I have been handling bees on and off since the early 80s.  Today I got my first serious stings.  I have yet to determine what went wrong. I did not use a smoker .... but I seldom do.  I was suited up in my upper half ....sometimes I do not suit up at all.  Besides, all stings were from the neck up.  

I did notice the bees were more aggressive than normal. That was the big mistake I made. I should have turned around and went for the smoker and suited fully. Anyway, I got a couple of stings in my mouth and about 4 on my scalp.  I don’t react big time to bee stings, so it is not a huge problem.  I did have the good sense to clear out when things started going wrong. I still need to put the cap back on the hive.

As I think about it, I think the netting rode up on my face and head as I was working, and my head stings were through the netting. I do know the at least one bee got through because I spit him out of my mouth.
 
pollinator
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We put bentonite clay on bee stings to draw out the venom after removing the stingers. Hope you recover soon.

Our experience is with wild bees. We have a lot of pollinator habitat, so during warm months, there are thousands of bees per acre here.
 
pollinator
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John, maybe you need to re-queen the hive with a calmer queen.
I have played with bees for about 60 years and have never had a mouth sting!!!
I met another bee keeper recently who was stung many times recently when he picked up a new swarm, hospital the lot.
He told me he could feel himself falling in and out of consisness [ need a spell check]
Docs gave him adrenalin and he carries an Epi-pen now.
He chose to kill that hive by wrapping it in plastic bags and sealing them because he felt they were just to visious.

many years ago, I used an insect repellant as an experiment DONT DO THAT AT HOME KIDDIES, apparently bees dont like it,[ along with sweat ] and I was attacked, and finished up with a swollen face.
I was trying to work them with no hat and mesh.
I had a blind date that night and you could say it really was a 'blind date' I could hardly see.
Footnote; date went well we still keep in touch!
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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Bees can be unpredictable. Even the nicest calmest colony can suddenly become rowdy without any apparent reason. Might it have been too cold outside for the hive to be opened up?

The worst sting I've ever had was on the eyelid last year. I put a dab of toothpaste on it (that works surprisingly well) then took a Benadryl because I knew it was a solid sting. A few hours later the pain moved to my earlobe. It was still itchy the next day. Stings don't bother me much. A coworker once showed me a pic his mom had just sent him. She stumbled into a yellow jacket nest while mowing. Her face was extremely swollen & she was having trouble breathing. Told him to call an ambulance or leave work & get her to the hospital NOW. She spent a couple days in the hospital. Turns out she was seriously allergic & now carries an epipen.
 
pollinator
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If it is a one off, especially at this time of year, I would suspect that they are short on forage and potentially being hassled by wasps. Autumn is a time when they can get really tetchy.
 
pollinator
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Ching Wan Hung -- herbal balm for burns and stings. Real Chinese medicine with very little text on the small tube or box in English.

A wee bit stinky and a little messy...but totally worth its instant magic and you don't need to spread very much on your skin. You can apply balm and then bandage if the little bit of smell and mess bothers you.

I plant tons of nasturtiums in my summer garden and the bees come by the hundreds. We work well together but once in awhile we get in each other's way and I get stung. I don't go full anaphylactic, but do feel an immediate tingling throughout my body. This balm, when applied right away, stops that in its tracks. Also it's analgesic, so stops any pain.

Works wonders on healing burns. Will always stock this in my medicine cabinet.

Available in health food stores, ethnic markets, from a Chinese herbalist usually located in the China town area of a large city, amazon.
 
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https://bestbees.com/2022/05/04/bee-stings/

^^^ This article I was reading about bee stings, in addition to helpful information about why bees sting, how to prevent stings, and what to do to most effectively treat them, had this super interesting anecdote from a professional beekeeper!

"I recall fondly when a long-term client shared with me data saying that beekeepers live longer lives. We discussed different hypotheses, from molecular causes such as venom, to holistic benefits like the biophilic effects of connections to nature that lower stress. From that conversation to today, I say that every time someone gets stung, that’s another day on their life. See ya when I’m 150 years old, y’all. — Noah Wilson-Rich"

Pretty wild!! I guess what doesn't kill you really can make you stronger sometimes!
 
gardener
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Think about how many crop failures we are having around the world this year.  I wouldn't write off the hive as super aggressive.   Chances are their forage is also suffering under these circumstances.  Sorry you suffered such direct consequences.
 
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I smear honey on the sting as  soon as possible, works great, free and is usually at hand.
 
master gardener
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I had a nasty reaction the only time I got stung by honey bees. It's put me off keeping bees unfortunately. I ended up looking like a Romulan from Star trek for a week.


(source)
Me after getting stung

I gather that a severe reaction commonly happens after you have been stung once already.
 
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John, I second Nancy's last comment. Just because you have not reacted badly to bee stings so far does not mean you never will. In susceptible individuals, being stung sensitises them to the venom and they can subsequently react badly. This can even happen after many years so please take care.
 
brian lee
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And on the other hand, I used to get large local reaction, example, a sting on the wrist would cause my entire forearm to swell for a week, now just the sting site and usually just a day or two. I suggest to discuss it with your doctor to see if you are at a risk.
 
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