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Stings. Is there hope for me?

Being a country boy away from major hospitals, I’m used to all sorts of stings, bites, scrapes and ailments… without seeking medical attention.

Since I’ve been beekeeping, 3 or four years, I’ve been stung maybe 6 times. I’m generally not complacent. First sting was quite bad, then they seem to be less nasty.

Two weeks ago I got stung on the inside of my thigh, and boy that swelled. Today, a bee followed me home and stung me some 50m away from the hive. She got me on the temple. Soon after I started to feel itchy all over, in odd places like my palms. I think my reactions are getting a bit worse, not better by time.

Is there still hope or me that by time I’ll get more used to the bee stings, instead of getting worse?

Is there anyone else with the same issue? Sometime, no matter how careful I am, bees outsmart me and sting me.

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Hi Zzz, sorry I can’t answer your question, new to Bee keeping myself, but hope your OK. All The Best Cheers Dave.

Hi Sting,

Bees are particularly reactive to scents, have you switched to a new deodorant or anything like that? (It’s actually best not to wear any while beekeeping - but it’s just been so hot!)

Another thought is that after the first couple, they started to sense a little trepidation.

If you think you may be developing an allergy do keep a close eye on it or seek medical advice as sometimes allergies can become worse with repeated exposure. If you are sure you are not allergic, yes you could get more used to the stings I guess - but with allergies the reactions can become more pronounced.

Finally, you could just have a cranky queen.

Sorry to hear about all the stings :frowning: were you suited up?

Two threads of many that might be worth you browsing:

Personally, I’d suggest a chat with your (nearest) GP.

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I had an off-sider helping me at my hives who had previously had a few stings with next to no reaction when about 14 months ago she got a sting from a bee caught in her hair. She had a very fast reaction that went very bad. I have posted about that day previously.
I would get checked out my a GP to find if you are allergic to bee venom and if so you can be desensitized to it, Lysa has nearly finished the treatment and then she has the mental barrier to contend with.
So don’t just give up on bee keeping, but the treatment does take time.
Cheers

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Hi Zzzz. I’z been stung a few times and on my chin twice with a bad reaction. I always wear a suit and long pants and shirt sleeves. I now wear a cowl and a hat under my suit. It’s hot but i wasn’t stung today. Yipee. See your doctor.

I hope Z is fine.

I have a full suit and always wear it including gloves when I inspect. The problem is when inspecting the hive out for minor things like checking activity at the entrance, the corflute slider, the viewing window etc. I never wear the suit for these and 99% of times I’m fine.

But every once in a while, the bees decide to sting anyway during these routine visits. It is impractical to wear the full suit for such visits, and I’m considering getting either a jacket, or a proper sturdy bee hat/veil.

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I never wear gloves now, I like the extra sense of touch with bare hands. I wear a veil and top but also decide on the safety of a full suit but it is murder here in days in the mid 30’s and over 80% humidity. Funny when I have worn gloves the bees seem to want to sting the gloves, maybe without gloves I work slower and smoother in taking more care not to upset the girls.
I hope Zzz can keep going and hopefully build up an immunity to the odd bee sting.
Cheers

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I find stings on the fingers particularly painful so use a pair of ‘fingerless’ workshop gloves . They’re similar to wetsuit material but with no fingertip covers so you still have the dexterity and touch without the stings. They’re available at most hardware shops/auto shops

On the issue of bee stings: It’s worth keeping in mind that bees target where we exhale from. They must be able to detect through the sensing organs of their antennae an increase in the CO2 we exhale. We think they attack out mouths, nose, eyes or general face, however it’s the CO2 we exhale that guides them to that area.

If we can learn to hold our breath while walking past the flight path of bees, especially if our head passes the flight path, we’ll get less stings. Also if we’re getting chased by an aggressive bee, a good idea is to hold our breath. Also bob down so our head is on a lower elevation also helps while being chased. That seems to confuse the bee because she continues to look at the original height our head was.

I have a simple illustration on my back verandah. I have a hive on the back verandah that I walk past several times every day when going in & out of my honey room to deposit 24/7 urea for my garden. I walk past the entrance within about 6-9 inches. The entrance is at my thigh level, well away from my face. I feel I can do this all day long, backwards & forwards without any stings. However if I was to elevate the entrance to my face height, I believe it would be a different story, I’d be getting chased & possibly stung on account of me exhaling adjacent to the bees entrance.

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Thanks jeff, that was a very interesting post. There is a limit though, how long I can hold my breath when I’m running home with a grumpy bee following me stinger first.

What happened on the weekend was that the brood box was 95% full, it was hot, and windy. My usually calm bees are excused to be cranky on that day. I wasn’t even in front of the hive, but behind it to check the strap was tight as I don’t want to loose the hive roof in the wind.

I do have a full suit and always wear it, but it is impossible to wear it every time I need to go past the hive. Bee stings are part and parcel of beekeeping and I understand that.

I still have half my face swollen, and by Sunday evening I wasn’t feeling very well, don’t know whether it’s related to the sting. I think if it happens again, I need to talk to GP.

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Mate, I would talk to your GP now so that if the poo hits the fan in a big way at least he knows you might have a big issue with bee stings.
I had an off-sider 14 months ago who went really bad with a single bee sting, inside of a minute I had rung for an ambulance and had hit her with an Epi-Pen, a minute later I hit her a second time and had to perform CPR on her till the ambulance arrived with a Dr who injected adrenaline straight into her heart. When the Dr arrived he said she had no vital signs. It is the first time she had anything more than a bit of swelling and an itch from a bee sting.
If you think you know basic first aid do a refresher course. I’m glad I had and so is Lysa.
Cheers

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I agree with the others here - it would be sensible to see a GP to at least rule out having a potential anaphylactic reaction. You don’t want to mess with that stuff!

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