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What to do about a bad bee sting?


Yesterday I finally got my Apistan Strips in. I still have one more to do today, but here is my question. One hive I have is extremely agressive and wouldn’t you know it I got stung by one of them yesterday. Now this isn’t the first time I got stung but the reaction my body is having is different. I got stung while away from the hive taking my suit off and a bee was in my ballcap and when I put it back on my head WHAM! right on the tip of my forhead and hairline. It hurt so bad I thought that little bugger was trying to drill for oil in my scalp bone. Anyway it hurt like you know what and burned so bad I thought maybe it was a wasp, but it was just a little bee. Anyway I got the stinger out and had a headache most of last night from it, but today my whole forhead is red and swollen with a little bump where the actual sting was. What remedies do you use? I put a little honey on it last night and it eased the ache a bit, so I’d like to think. These bees are Caucus Mountain bees. Great honey producers but very agressive as well. I did a search in the forum and didn’t find anything on this topic and not sure where to put it, so will leave that to the mods.


@tony Yup it can Hurt.

I got stung in the hairline just as you said and my eye swelled up as well!!

It seems to depend where you get stung. On my fingers- a little swelling on my hand Loads of swelling on my scalp no swelling. Lose and soft skin seems to swell more tough skin and next to bone less.

In the beginning I used to swell up and itch for a good week 10 days - now I hardly notice it after a day or couple of hours… GP told me to take Piriton http://www.boots.com/en/Piriton-Allergy-Tablets-30-Tablets_11235/ for a week after the sting and I did that for about 2 months - now I don’t need it the reaction is almost nothing?

Anaphylaxis and Bee Sting Allergies hope this helps


There was this one a while back, there might be something in it that helps.


Hi Tony, sounds like you got a beauty. The best advice I could offer is to remove the sting as quickly as possible, sounds like you did that & rub some honey on the spot. I don’t know why this is the case but it seems that some bees venom is more potent than others.


I got stung in the forehead and immediately removed the stinger. It hurt and I was fine for about 24 hours, just that the location of the sting was tender. The next evening, my face started swelling around my eyes, and my brow, it seemed to move down my face and fade out over the next couple of days.


That sounds almost normal:) If your a male beekeeper, there’s one place you don’t want to get stung, not speaking from experience. I’m always very careful if I need to do a #1 with angry bees chasing me.


Here is just an update. I identified the culprit, wasn’t one of mine and wasn’t a wasp either. Would after doing a photo id I saw that he was a smaller fuzzy kind of bumble bee. Nasty bugger too. My face was swollen pretty bad, got a selfie to show you. Got some great photos of the Grand Teton’s as well, thought maybe you’d like to see a picturesque side of Wyoming wilderness as well.<img src="/uploads/honeyflow/original/2X/d/d7db71b5904532e8f3bee876308e4b76a52fa978.JPG" width=“666” height="49


Wasp or Bee the venom is the same/similar


yes, similar to what happened to me, no big deal, part of the adventure.


Maybe so Valli. I know that when I getstung by a one of my bees it hardly hurts and I only get a little hard bump and then it goes away, but I had never been stung by a bumble bee before and have had several wasp and one hornet sting. I think maybe though the venoms might be similar in some respects, I do thing there is a difference as well. Why would one type have hardly any effect and another burn like the dickens and yet another get you all puffy? Seems to me; maybe, that the differences might be in our own body chemistry.


Maybe the bumble just got a really good ‘stick’ into you so it was bad?


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It does also depend on the amount of venom received as well as the type of skin area you were stung.

If you scraped away the stinger quickly then not too bad. if you squeeze the stinger you pump in more venom.

I find soft tissue areas tend to swell more. Fingers and near the bone swell less, one on my nose bridge recently stung like billyo but hardly swelled. One on my scalp hardly noticed, one on my temple and my eye swelled - go figure


I to have reaction to bee stings that just started this year sending me on a ambulance ride on one occasion. This past week was stung on the back of the arm because I wasn’t suited up. I have just a standard bee suit and have never been stung threw it. Like you I don’t plan on giving up my hobby. Any bee suit will give you protection you just have to be willing to put it on each time you are going to open the lid of a hive that is the hard part for me. I haven’t made the suit a habit yet and I pay for it from time to time. What I do when stung now is immediately take 2 benedryll and wait to see how severe the reaction is going to be. So far benedryll has prevented anymore serious reactions but I do have and epi-pen just in case.


I have one tip: don’t get stung on the back of your heel, on the top of your foot or between your toes. The other thing is, scratch the sting out as quickly as possible & rub honey on it.


That’s a great tip Jeff. I’ll make a note to get a memo to the bees about that…


Hi & thank you Sara. While working my bees this morning, I was thinking about all the other places that you don’t want to get stung, however the three places I mentioned were the ones that really gave me curry in recent times. Having to go to bed with pain killers to stop the throbbing so I could get to sleep. That was on 3 separate occasions. The one on the top of my foot felt like I had broken bones in there, I had to remind myself “it’s only a bee sting, nothing’s broken”.


Hi Jeff, I got my first sting last week, I knew I should not have opened the hive but i just wanted to check on them :slight_smile: A storm was brewing ! It was a lil sore for few hours and swelled up but all good now …Im goin out tomoz to check em…so exciting to have my own hive !!


G’day Sya, congratulations on your first sting:) it’s good to know your not allergic, great to hear from you, good luck tomoz, take care, bye


Hey there all and sundry!

Firstly - and highly trivial - thank you for the Grand Teton photo there Tony, a destination that is firmly on my bucket list.

Secondly - for those who are curious - the SWELLING response by a stung body to bee venom is, as in real estate, all about location, location, location. It is also, in MOST people, a normal localised defence reaction by the body to ‘contain’ the toxin to be dealt with by the body. Some poor folks have a hyper-sensitivity to certain ‘foreign’ things and their ‘localised’ response is totally bypassed and STARTS with a systemic response - AKA Anaphylaxis (a whole other brand of cider)

Several factors of the body’s inflammatory response (IR) causes the local blood vessels in the stung area to become physically larger and ‘leaky’ - amongst other things, histamines- this is literally why an inflammed area becomes hot (more blood) and swollen (fluid now outside of the blood vessels). This is where our location, location, location issue comes to the fore…

Several previous posters are correct - if stung in an area where the skin is either normally tight and/or just above a bony surface (think head, ankle, fingers for example) the leaked fluid (swelling) has limited options but to manifest in the nearest soft, spongy, ‘swellable’ area - a face sting makes the eye sockets an easy target for the extra fluid to be pushed into. (As an aside - this is why a broken nose or skull fracture can cause swelling and bruising to the eyes as the internal bleeding has nowhere to go except to the soft areas of the face, known as ‘Racoon eyes’)

This also explains why a sting on your little finger can result in your whole lower arm ‘ballooning’ and becoming hot and tight. The swelling is also a contributing factor to the pain.

So…what to do? (Remember this for a localised sting. An Anaphylactic reaction requires extra, urgent steps)

  1. Remove the stinger with your fingernail.
  2. Apply ice/snow (if you are lucky enough to have the Grand Tetons at your doorstep), or just grab frozen peas or even a cold coke can and apply for 10 mins - this causes the blood vessels to return to their rightful size, reducing how much fluid and histamine leaks out - thus reducing the swelling and the size of your reaction to the original sting. Repeat the cold application, say - 10 mins ON 10 mins OFF 10 mins ON etc.
  3. Go for your favorite remedy or ANTI - histamine whilst performing step 2.
  4. Grab a cold cider and alternate between placing the bottle opening to your lips and resting the cold bottle against the stung area.*
    *Note: NOT a good look if you have indeed been stung in the groin area.

For the nerds amongst us read:

“inflammation”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 04 Dec. 2015