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The complete guide to bee stings

The biggest concern of a bee infestation is that members of your family might incur bee stings. For most people, a bee sting only results in temporary pain and swelling. However, for a small segment of the population with bee allergies, a bee sting can be a very dangerous experience.

Most types of bees do have bee stingers and will sting if provoked. Most species of bee will also defend their nests or hives. This is why finding a bee’s nest around your home can be risky, since someone within your family might just stumble upon the nest and be stung by multiple bees.

Ehrlich bee control and removal Technicians can work with you to make sure bees are safely removed from your property and reduce the risk of stings. For effective bee removal, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today.


Why do bees sting?

The reason bees sting is that they become afraid that their nest will be damaged. If their nests are left alone, most species of bee will not attack. 

However, if the nests are under attack, bees let out pheromones that can cause the rest of the nest to go into panic mode and send out swarms to defend their home. Bees, unless they are Africanized honey bees, are not generally very aggressive, but you can still be stung if you try to remove the hive incorrectly.

The best way to avoid bee stings is to avoid the nests. If you notice increased bee activity around a certain area of your home or yard, contact a professional for help to get the bee nest removed.

Why do bees sting?

Do bumble bees sting?

Many people do not believe that bumble bees will sting. However, this is a common misconception. Bumble bees can and will sting if they are threatened or handled. Unlike a honeybee, a bumble bee's stinger does not have barbs and can sting multiple times. Queen and worker bees will sting if they are threatened or handled.

Bumble bees tend to be slow moving and very docile. The bees are more interested in flowers and pollen than they are in going after people. It often takes quite a bit of handling for the bumble bee to sting. Sometimes people step on bumble bees and end up stung, too.

Unlike honey bees and other stinging pests, bumble bees tend to create smaller nests and many of them will build the nests underground. This means the nest can be disturbed by someone walking on the nest or disturbing the nest doing yard work like mowing.

Do honey bees sting?

Honey bees are known to have barbed stingers and will sting only once and then die. While this is true of most honey bees, the queen honey bee usually has a smooth stinger and can sting multiple times.

Honey bees are usually very docile. These bees are often handled by beekeepers without gloves. However, if honey bees are handled aggressively, they will sting. Most of the time, honey bees that are found away from the nest will prefer not to sting. However, if a hive is in close proximity or someone attempts to move or handle that hive, the honey bees may attack sometimes in the hundreds.

In a honey bee nest, only worker bees and the queen bee have stingers. Honey bees also have venom, which will be injected within the person stung. A person who has an allergy to bee stings may have a reaction.

Bee stinger anatomy

Bees are not like other stinging insects such as wasps and hornets. Bees have barbed stingers, meaning there is a tiny hook on the end of it. When they stab their intended victim and fly off, that barb holds the stinger in the skin and disembowels the bee. The stinger that's left behind can continue to pump out venom, but the bee will soon die.

What the victim is left with is the small stinger still stuck in their skin. On top of the stinger there is a small yellowish sac. Venom will be injected from the sac into the victim even after the stinger has detached from the bee. This is why quick removal of the stinger from the skin is so important.

Bee stinger anatomy

Bee sting treatment

For the most part, bee stings will hurt at first and might bring about a little bit of swelling. However, unless there is an allergy, very little needs to be done to treat a bee sting. In cases of a more severe reaction, here's what to do for a bee sting:

  1. If you experience any of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as a swelling of the throat or severe rash, you should seek medical attention immediately.
  2. If there is swelling, ice can be added to the wound area and to reduce it.
  3. Make sure the bite area is cleaned and sterilized. Although the hole created is small, scratching it or not cleaning it can lead to infections.
  4. Simple anti-inflammatories and other over the counter pain relievers can be taken to reduce swelling and pain.

If any kind of infection starts, the pain lasts a long time or the swelling seems to be getting out of control, seek medical attention immediately.

Bee stinger removal

It is important to remove the bee stinger as quickly as possible after being stung. Doing so will prevent additional venom from being injected and causing potentially negative reactions. Here are some tips for removing a bee stinger:

  • Do not pinch the end of the stinger with your fingers or a tweezers. This can squeeze the venom sac and inject more venom.
  • Scrape the stinger out using a fingernail or some other flat object like a credit card or business card. Place the object near the stinger and slide it right across, dragging the stinger out.

Bee sting reactions

If the person stung has an allergy to bees, it is important that they seek medical attention immediately.

The reaction to a bee sting from someone who has allergies can be very quick and serious medical problems can develop, including obstruction of airways. It is best to take the person to a hospital and seek medical attention right away.

Below are a list of symptoms which can be linked to an allergic reaction to a bee sting:

  • Swelling around the throat, mouth, or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Breakout of hives
  • A weak, rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Loss of consciousness

Stop bee stings

Honey bee infestations can sometimes pose serious health risks to people who are allergic to their stings. Ehrlich understands these risks and will make every effort to protect our customers. In some cases, it involves a beekeeper, or, it may involve eliminating a nest that poses a serious health threat. Whatever the situation, Ehrlich can help you determine the best course of action.

The first step in the process is to call Ehrlich at 800-837-5520 or fill in the online contact form and schedule an appointment today.

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