Warm weather wellness: bee sting preventions and treatments

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As the flowers start blooming with the hopes of new life in spring, the bees also begin buzzing around. Why is it that this little creature invokes so much fear in the hearts of folks? Big or small, most people run from the path of these wasps or anything else that stings. Some people are allergic to these insects, so it’s only natural that they would be antsy around them. Is there a way to prevent bee or wasp stings,,, and what is the best way to treat a sting once it happens? Well, here are a few tips to help you prepare for the possibilities of an encounter.

Why are bees attracted to people?

First, most bees aren’t going to hunt you down and attack you. They are just as afraid of you as you are of them. They want to stay out of your way. However, they are attracted to sweet scents, and if you have on perfume or cologne, they may see you as their next meal. Our scents are confusing to the bee because they are looking for pollen to eat. So if you have on a sweet-smelling fragrance, then they may think that the scent is coming from a flower. Another thing that attracts bees is sugary drinks. If you’re sitting out on your porch with a glass of lemonade, then they can smell the sugary sweet goodness in that glass. Again, they are not coming toward you but rather towards your drink. Also, if you should have a can of soda sitting outside uncovered, make sure you check it before you take a sip. Bees love to go inside cans to drink the sweet nectar too.

Preventing a bee sting

The first line of defense in preventing a bee or wasp sting is to simply stay away from them. The obvious things you can do during prime honeybee season is to avoid wearing strong perfumes that attract them. Also, if you don’t want these insects near your porch, then choose flower varieties that don’t have a potent smell to attract them. Never leave your drinks outside and uncovered. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they see a bee is to panic. If you start screaming and waving your arms running, then you can frighten the bee too. A frightened bee or wasp will sting in defense. The best thing to do if a wasp or sweat bee comes near you is to stand still. If they see you are no threat, then they will go away. Have you ever seen someone covered in bees on a reality show? They walk away with very few stings. The reason is that bees can land on your body and never sting you if you don’t move. The movement is what makes them feel threatened.

Bee sting behaviors

Not all bee stings are created equal. Some bees tend to be a bit more aggressive than others. Though the wasp is not a bee, it’s put into the same category. This insect is a close relative, but they are altogether different. A wasp can sting you repetitively, and they won’t die. Unlike honeybees that release their stinger once before they die , a wasp can sting as many times as they want. They tend to be more aggressive.

The warm weather of summer brings out the honeybees. While they are not an aggressive bee, they will sting if necessary. Once the honeybee stings you, it leaves its barbed stinger behind. The sad part is that also some of the muscles, digestive tracts, and abdomen are left with it. Once they sting, they have an abdominal rupture that almost instantly kills them. They are the only bee that dies once they sting. Yellowjackets are often confused for honeybees, but they are two separate species. The yellow jacket isn’t a bee at all as they are in a category of their own. They’re technically classified as a predatory wasp.These insects build their nests on the ground, which makes them hard to detect. They often attack in swarms, so if you step into a nest unknowingly, you could be chased by 100 of these insects!

One of the issues when being around these bees is they are aggressive and will sting you unprovoked. They also bite. Frequently, yellow jackets bite to get a better hold on the person they are going to sting. If you have children playing in the yard, then you need to make sure that no yellow jackets build a nest in or around their play area. Bumblebees look scary to most people. Their large shape makes them a force. However, only the queen and worker bees can sting. The males don’t have that ability. The only time a bumblebee will sting is if they feel you are threatening their nest. They are pretty docile, yet they have a loud buzz that many people find scary. Any bee has the potential to sting or be aggressive if their nest is in danger. However, most won’t hunt you down to attack. The only exception is the yellow jacket.

Handling a bee or wasp sting

Some bees leave stingers, and others don’t. The first step is to remove any stinger that may be left in the skin as it’s continuing to pump venom. Next, follow these steps.

Use soap and water to wash the affected bee or wasp sting area. Much of the bee or wasp venom is sitting on the surface of the skin. You can lessen the impact by washing it off.

It’s normal for the area to swell and become red with inflammation after a bee or wasp sting. Apply a cold compress to the area to help reduce swelling.

Hydrocortisone cream is an excellent remedy to help take the itch from a bee or wasp sting away and increase healing time. You can cover it with a bandage after you have applied the cream.

If you should start to see abnormal swelling or your airway feels constricted after a bee or wasp sting, then you need to seek help immediately. You may be allergic to the sting. There are many over-the-counter treatments readily available, so it’s best to keep some of these on hand during the summer months. Also, stay tuned to your local weather forecast for the pollen report. You will see more bees bustling about when pollen counts are high, and the flowers are bursting with bloom.


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