Bee Stings 101

One time I was driving on the freeway in the carpool lane with my baby in the back in his carseat, and the window down.  At first, I didn’t know what hit me.  I was in such pain. A bee had flown in through the window and hit me right under the left eye and I got stung. Ouch!! I was driving in the fast lane, and couldn’t pull over…

No matter how we react to bee stings, we all have to agree, they hurt!  For some of us, they may just sting and for others, it may be deadly.  How we react does effect how we will continue to react and how we teach our children and others to react to a bee buzzing around or a bee sting.  Being prepared and knowing how to handle a sudden bee sting can help keep the situation under control and possibly save the person stung from unneeded extra pain.  The level of venom can be lessened IF you know how to handle the situation quickly and calmly.

My entire family, including myself, has been stung by bees.  In fact, my father in law was killed by killer bees.  That is a separate story in itself, but most bee stings are NOT from killer bees.  The bees I am discussing are honey bees.  The same bees we need that help to keep us all alive and well, by  pollinating our food supply and doing their job.  Bees can only sting one time and then they die.  So, bees don’t want to sting us.  

I haven’t taken courses on bees and am not a bee expert nor a scientist, so all this information I have is from what I have learned and experienced on a personal level and my own beliefs.  That is my disclaimer and I suggest you seek a doctors’ help if you are suffering beyond basic help needed from a bee sting.  If you are allergic to bee stings, you have more to do after a sting.  If you start having trouble breathing, you need to call 911 and get to a doctor.  This is for the average person who may be sensitive, but not deathly allergic.

Each of my immediate family members all have different reactions to bee stings and just bees buzzing around.  My youngest and I love bees and would love to keep bees.  My husband and two other kids are not that interested in any bit.  I’ve always taught my family to stay calm around bees.  That is the number one thing I can stress to avoid getting stung by a bee.  Bees, like many living things, can sense fear and anger.  If you are swatting at a bee, they seem to stick around a lot longer and you are more likely to get stung. I’ve even noticed that if you kill a bee, more come around.  We don’t kill bees.

We usually calmly say to the bee, “Please stay away from my body”.  A gentle movement to push them away can sometimes help.  It has for us.  Also, just like with rattlesnakes, you do not want to step on one.  That is pretty much a guarantee to get stung.  So, be careful being barefoot at the park or flower beds and on the ground where bees are.  This is not a blog on saving bees and putting sugar water out for them to help have energy to find their way back to the hive…yet, that can be a way to be more bee friendly, and they may appreciate you and your consideration and calmness.  

Now, bee stings will happen and what to do next is also stay calm. It’s not always at the most opportune time when a sting happens and you may not have all that you’d want to be prepared for helping with a bee sting.  So, I will let you know what I use and can be used as an alternative in a pinch.  I keep prepared and have certain things in my purse and car and on hand. 

First step is to get the stinger out.  A bee can inject as much as 50 micrograms of venom into your body per sting.  Keeping as little venom out of your body is the goal. Do NOT pull the stinger out.  There is the sac of venom at the end of the stinger and if you pinch it, you are injecting all the venom in, at once and that is what can cause more of a serious reaction and longer pain time.  That happened to my daughter once and it was a meaningful attempt for someone to help, but it caused more harm.  She had stepped on the bee and got stung and had a hard time walking for a while afterward.  There was so much venom shot into her all at once when that sac was squeezed, that it effected her worse than other times.  People can confuse too much venom and something like that can make someone think they are allergic, and it may just be a reaction to too much venom at once.

A funny little side note: Some people use bee venom therapy for helping with arthritis and some immune health, because the venom has anti-inflammatory properties as well as other health benefits.  So, I always chalk up a bee sting to future better health for me.

We don’t always have a card (credit card, business card, etc) to help scrape the stinger out immediately after the sting, because the venom is till injecting.  Use anything you can find immediately, to scrape the stinger out, even if it is your fingernail.  Just be mindful not to pinch or grab it out. Scrape it to the side and you normally get the entire stinger out and sac of venom.

At that point, use water and soap to wash it.  An ice cube is nice to help too.  Then, I always have organic lavender essential oil on hand for neutralizing the venom and helps stop the itching. (this helps with spider and mosquito bites as well).  Put it directly on.  Next, I prefer to use clay (bentonite or plantain powder is usually in my first aid kit).  I mix it with water and put a patch of mud on the stung area.  Leave it on, so the clay can help soak up the venom.  If you don’t have clay, I’ve used dirt or mud also.  If you have baking soda, that helps too.  Same effect as clay. I always carry a homeopathic remedy of apis mellifica in my purse and car.  I give 5 pellets every 15 minutes until they completely feel relief.  I may scrape off the mudpack and reapply a fresh one after I wash the area again and put more lavender on the effected area. 

So, to sum it up, the key is to stay calm around bees, and if you do get stung, stay calm at that point also, to help ensure you or your children or the other person you are helping will also remain calm and not cause undue stress and pain.  It also helps empower children to see they can heal themselves and not have to freak out.

  1. Stay calm. Before, during, and after.
  2. Immediately scrape off stinger.
  3. Clean as best you can. (soap and water, if possible)
  4. Apply lavender oil on stung area.
  5. Ice it.
  6. Apply mudpack. (with clay, dirt, mud, or baking soda)
  7. Give homeopathic remedy, apis mellifica every 15 minutes.
  8. Reapply the mudpack.

There are several different remedies and ways to handle bee stings.  This is what has works for us.  I have helped dozens of kids with stings and it has resulted in faster healing.

Back to my bee sting story… I had to stay calm and didn’t want my eye to swell up where I couldn’t see while I drove to go pick up my daughter.  I scraped out the stinger, and didn’t have much to work with, while I was still driving.  I had an enzyme capsule in the console and one-handedly opened that up and put a little water from my water bottle and made a little mudpack to put under my eye while I continued driving down the freeway.  It hurt, yet there was no where to pull over and sulk.  I then dug in my purse to find the apis mellifica and took that homeopathic remedy while I continued to drive and my eye was stinging like crazy.  Luckily, whatever was in the enzyme, helped pull out the venom and my eye didn’t swell and we made it on time to pick up my daughter.

The other day I was at my nephew’s birthday party playing with one of my nieces and out of nowhere she started to cry and headed to her mom with her finger sticking out.  I rushed in, because I don’t know if everyone knows not to pull the stinger out (injecting more venom), and didn’t have anything to scrape the stinger, except for my fingernail.  Her parents let me take over and so I did my thing.  Poured water on it from a water bottle. Got my lavender out of my purse and put it on, and scraped some mud from around the tree, and as I was working, very calmly, let my niece (& her parents) know exactly what I was doing as I was doing it.  She became very calm and accepting of all going on.  She really enjoyed the apis mellifica little balls I kept giving her and she kept her mudpack on until we changed it and alternated with an ice cube from the ice chest.  There was no red mark, nor swelling at the end of the party.  And when her mom got her home that night, made a pack of the bentonite clay I had given her long ago, and put a bandaid on over it, so she could sleep with it on.   She was completely healed and feeling fine.

From now on, my little niece will know what to do, and how to stay calm and may be able to help her little sister or mom or a friend someday.  She was not tormented nor in too much pain for long and therefore more empowered to handle situations like this in a calm manner.

That is my wish to impart on families and others; to be able to react to situations that can be uncomfortable in ways that are more empowering for future situations, and to leave an imprint of being able to handle situations calmly and confidently.  Just a reminder, that how we do anything, is how we do everything.

Do you have a story to share about a bee sting?

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