Bee stings can happen with very little warning, which is why it’s a good idea to know what to do (and what not to do) if you or a loved one is ever stung by a bee. This is especially true during the spring and summer months here in the Phoenix area, when honey bees are particularly active.
Why Bees Sting
In general, bees are not out to sting humans for no reason. They will typically only sting when they perceive a threat to themselves or to their hive. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be stung by a bee while simply minding your own business. You might, however, be strung if you accidentally come near a beehive (such as while gardening or doing yard work).
It is important to understand that only female honey bees actually have stingers; male bees, on the other hand, do not. When a female bee stings a human, the barbed stinger remains stuck inside the skin and the bee will subsequently die. However, bee stings release pheromones that can attract additional bees to attack, which is it’s important to act quickly and accordingly when stung by a bee.
You should also be aware that not all stings come from bees. Wasps and hornets also sting—and they can actually sting you multiple times without losing their stingers. If you receive multiple stings from the same insect, you’re probably being stung by a wasp or a hornet rather than a bee; still, the same basic aftercare instructions should be followed.
What to Do if You’re Stung
The most important thing to remember right away if you’re stung by a bee is to stay as calm as possible. Try to move away from the area as swiftly as you can so as to avoid any additional stings. Once you’re in a safer area away from the beehive, carefully remove the stinger from your skin. The best way to do this is to use your fingernail or even a piece of gauze.
When removing the stinger, try to do as gently as possible; this will reduce the amount of venom that is released. Do not use tweezers to remove a stinger, as this tends to release a lot of venom into the skin due to the pinching required.
Once the stinger is removed from your skin, wash the affected area with soap and water right away, This will help to remove any excess venom while also cleaning out the wound. To keep swelling at bay, it is also a good idea to apply an ice pack to the affected area. Applying a cold pack to the area where you were stung can also help to prevent the venom from being absorbed into your skin.
Some pain or discomfort is to be expected after being stung by a bee. If you’re in pain, you can always take an over-the-counter pain killer (such as ibuprofen) to get some relief. Generally, the pain and swelling from a bee sting will subside within a day or two. However, different people can have very different reactions to bee stings.
It’s also important to consider that some people are allergic to bee venom. For this reason, you should always watch out for signs of an allergic reaction following a bee sting (even if you’ve been stung without a reaction before). Some symptoms of a serious allergic reaction to watch out for include:
- swelling that spreads to other parts of the body
- difficulty breathing
- a breakout of hives
If you notice any of these symptoms after being stung by a bee, seek medical attention right away. This is more likely to be the case if you have never been stung by a bee before or if you received multiple bee stings.
Even if you don’t experience any severe reactions to a bee sting, it may be worth contacting your doctor after a few days if your swelling and pain do not subside. Your doctor may be able to write a prescription for a more powerful painkiller that will help you get some relief from your discomfort.
Time For Bee Removal Services?
Being stung by a bee can be a real pain! Fortunately, by knowing what to do (and what not to do), you can make sure that you minimize your suffering. Likewise, being aware of the common signs of an allergic reaction to a bee sting can help you recognize when it may be time to seek medical attention.
If you’re tired of dealing with bees on your property, it may be time to have them removed. At Buzz Tech Pest Control, our technicians and beekeepers have extensive experience removing bees and beehives from your property. We even offer same-day service so you can get rid of the bees on your property as quickly as possible! Contact us today at (623) 826-8200 to find out more or to schedule service at your home.