Bee Stings

Honey bees do sting, but usually only in defence of their Queen or when provoked. The severity of the reaction to a sting depends on the amount of venom injected, and this is related to the time the sting remains in the flesh . It is important that the sting is removed as quickly as possible. It has been demonstrated that the method of removal is less important than the speed with which it is done. The conventional advice is to scrape out the sting immediately with a finger nail or credit card. Apply an ice pack or calamine lotion to soothe the affected part. Some people also find that antihistamine cream applied to a sting site helps to reduce itching.

Most people show little reaction to stings apart from swelling and irritation. Rarely, an individual may be hypersensitive and will need urgent medical attention. When the reaction is severe, intense skin irritation is followed by difficulty in breathing and loss of consciousness (anaphylactic shock).

If collapse follows being stung, an ambulance should be called immediately. Similarly, stings near the eye or inside the mouth (especially in young children) should receive immediate medical attention.

On the whole, bee stings are largely ignored by beekeepers since they suffer no ill effects from them. They are even reputed to be good for rheumatism! Apparently the record for stings sustained is 2243 and the victim made a full recovery. For more information about the treatment of bee stings please visit the British Beekeepers' Association website by clicking on the link below.