Getting Stung is a Right of Passage

bee

The first sting of the season always sucks but at the same time feels so good. The sucky part is mostly that the poor old gal that stung ya probably bit the bullet. That’s ultimate altruism. I appreciate her sacrificial gesture for the greater good of the colony but let’s be honest, continuous stings are a true symbol that you’ve made it. You’re a beekeeper.

BEE STING THERAPY

To treat a variety of ailments, a doctor can shoot you up with bee venom as a form of sting therapy. Injections might be used for rheumatoid arthritis, nerve pain, MS, tendinitis, asthma, fibromyositis, and severe allergies to venom.

Controlled exposure to the venom causes the immune system to adapt to the poison apitoxin in bees.

Like the queen, a female worker bee can sting multiple times. Unfortunately when they sting our thick human flesh, most of them will die. The worker cast has a barbed stinger and if dug deep enough, her attempt at flying away can be cumbersome. If all her guts are left behind along with it’s stinger, well, that’s just unfortunate.

Queen bees have smooth stingers so they can sting multiple times.

SCIENCE OF VENOM

Inside Apis Mellifera lives a potent poison called apitoxin. Depending on it’s victim, a sting can cause a person to cry their eyes out or leave a reaction no worse than tweezing unwanted facial hair.

INSTIGATING A STING?

A bee will only sting if instigated. Usually never outside of the hive unless accidentally stepped on .

Near the hive you might get stung if; a bee is accidentally squished and an alarm pheromone is released, the queen is producing mean stock, the colony is threatened by disease, or the colony feels under attack.

GETTING STUNG

The injection of apitoxin along with the release of an alarm pheromone are both defences for bees and only occur when they feel threatened. Stings feel like a pinch and will usually swell up severely if your not accustomed to the venom. Be sure to scrape out the stinger and apply propolis to the targeted area. If stinging persists, use smoke from a bee smoker to remove the alarm pheromone to subside continuous stings.

PREVENTING STINGS

Just remember, honey bees are defensive not predatory. They aren’t even carnivorous, they don’t eat meat. The only “hunting” involved is for nectar, pollen and water.

To prevent stings: Watch where you step, move slowly and cautiously when in the hive, and manage bees to prevent disease and aggressive stock.