A Sting is No Joke
June 15, 2021 • Category: General Beekeeping
Bees are stinging insects. Most beekeepers don't get stung a lot. But if you keep bees you will get stung.
The science of bee stings is fascinating. The mechanics of the stinger and the composition of the venom are specifically designed to hurt. There are a small percentage of beekeepers who develop a serious and potentially deadly allergic reaction.
I was one of them. It was about four years into beekeeping. Richard and I made a quick trip to a yard. A bee got inside my veil and stung me on the neck. I knew in the snap of fingers that this sting was different. I told Richard he had to get me to the hospital and quick.
When I heard the nurses saying his blood pressure is 60 over 40, he's crashing, I thought this was not good. Blood pressure numbers are not to be that low nor that close together. It is what bee venom is designed to do. Epinephrine, benadryl and steroids did their job along with the staff. I lived.
This was posted on a forum recently. "I am very new to bee keeping. Have only had my hives for about a month. I worked with a mentor and never been stung. I got stung for the first time about 3 weeks ago when I got my second hive. Two stings right next to each other on the left arm near my wrist. My arm swell of course. For a couple days I had some numbness. Last Sunday, I got stung working on my older hive that had lost their queen. One got in my jacket, and stung me in the same arm on the bicep. (Not much of one) lol. The next day, the left side of my face and neck was itching. I was at work, didn't think much of it. Tuesday, still itching but nothing visible. Wednesday, I had hives from my jawline to my ear and down my neck. By Friday, the hives were worse and I got a few spots on my stomach, back, and thigh all on the left side. My mentor says she never seen it as bad as my pictures and we were wondering if I am going to have to give up my hives. I plan on wearing more layers. I always wear 2 pants. I will wear 2 or 3 tops under my bee jacket if need be. I also have the jumper type but have not worn it yet. Please help"
Alarm bells! Red alert! This is no joke. What this describes is a very serious reaction. The next sting could be fatal.
Stop working the bees! Get to an allergist and get tested. Then you have a decision to make. 1-Quit beekeeping. 2-Roll the dice with your life. 3-Try allergy shots. And from now on always keep an epi pen handy. Beekeeping is a lot of fun, but it is not worth your life.
I went the allergy shot route and have not had a bad reaction since for many years. Know the signs of a potentially deadly anaphylactic reaction. Local swelling and itching is normal for a day. What I and the other beekeeper experienced is not.