There is no way around it - if you become a beekeeper you will get stung a few times a year. Although bees are not aggressive creatures, they can be understandably defensive of their home. You can generally tell if a bee is becoming defensive. It will fly around your face and produces a high pitch buzzing. If you are not in your beesuit then you should calmly walk away.
Bees usual die after they have stung you, but not always. The bee's sting evolved as a means of defending the hive from other insects' intent on stealing honey and larvae. When a bee stings a wasp, the sting can be extracted again without damaging the bee. However, our skin is much more elastic and it is almost impossible for the bee to remove it. The bee flies away and will die from dehydration as her body can no longer retain liquid.
Dealing With A Sting
If you are stung, you should scrape the sting and bee away using the hive tool or a finger nail. You should avoid squeezing the bee or sting as this will force more venom into you. The sting will feel like a mild burning sensation and might produce a swelling reaction up to two days after the sting. In most beekeepers this is the worst that will happen and an antihistamine cream will relieve the hot itchy sensation associated with the swelling.
A small percentage of people have a more severe reaction to bee stings. The area around the sting swells greatly and these people should seek medical assistance.
A tiny percentage of poeple are allergic to bee stings. They will have an extreme reaction and will be unconscious within ten minutes of being stung. Urgent medical attention must be sought.
There are several things you can do to avoid being stung.
- Don't stand in front of the hive where the bees are flying
- Don't wear shiny jewellery
- Don't stand directly in front of the hive entrance