Honey bees typically make their nest above ground in sheltered locations and their social colonies may number into the tens of thousands. Bumble bees typically make their nest underground, but some species will nest above ground in sheltered, secluded places. Bumble bee colonies are much smaller than honey bee colonies. Africanized honey bees appear to be almost identical to honey bees except for some characteristics that require a bee expert to observe.
However, Africanized honey bees are extremely aggressive and may sting in huge swarms. They tend to build their colonies in places that are similar to where wild honey bee colonies are located. While domesticated and wild honey bees tend to swarm in the spring, Africanized honey bees are likely to swarm from the early spring to mid-fall.
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Unlike wasps, yellow jackets and hornets, honey bees, Africanized honey bees and bumble bees sting and inject venom only once and usually die within minutes after delivering their sting. Honey bees may sting a victim several dozens of times within a short time period, while an attack from Africanized honey bees may involve a mass-stinging attack of hundreds or even thousands of bees.
Bees, except for the bumble bees, leave the stinger and attached venom gland where the stinger is imbedded into the skin. Once the person or pet is removed to a safe location, remove the stingers by scraping off the imbedded stingers rather than squeezing to remove the stinger. Squeezing with tweezers tends to force more venom into the skin. The usual symptoms and physical appearance of bee stings include:. Share: Facebook Twitter Email. Find Your Local Branch Enter a zip code below to view local branches. Having trouble with Stinging Pests? First Name.
Last Name. Why They Sting Stinging insects such as bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets use their stings to subdue prey primarily insects and spiders and to defend themselves or their colony.
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General Sting Symptoms Unlike wasps, yellow jackets and hornets, honey bees, Africanized honey bees and bumble bees sting and inject venom only once and usually die within minutes after delivering their sting. The usual symptoms and physical appearance of bee stings include: Stinger left behind — except for bumble bees Pain Localized welt or elevation of the skin surface around the sting site Central white spot where the stinger punctured the skin Potential for serious allergic reactions — nausea, vomiting, chest pain, swelling of the face or mouth, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, convulsions.
In general, a person stung by a bee is more likely to develop subsequent serious reactions if they had a prior allergic reaction. Categories of Sting Reactions and Symptoms Localized reactions. These are the most common types of reaction to a bee or wasp sting. Symptoms include pain, swelling, warmth, redness at the site of the sting and itching.
Common symptoms begin soon after a sting and may last several hours. Excessive swelling, which occurs in large local reactions, may last up to a week. Richard M. Harris , an allergist-immunologist at Cedars-Sinai , recommends carrying the epinephrine pen dual pack. But always carry two. Sometimes you need a second one in 15 to 20 minutes.
How to Treat a Bee Sting Safely
Stay calm "A key thing to know is that the incidence of serious reactions is exceedingly low," says Dr. Remove the stinger Honeybees do leave their stingers inside us. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets remain intact after they sting. So if a honeybee gets you, remove that stinger as quickly as possible.
Treatment of bumblebee stings and allergies
Flick the stinger out sideways. Remove it fast to reduce further injection of the venom into the skin. The more venom in your body, the more the body will react to it. Apply ice to the sting Ice is very effective at reducing pain and inflammation. It's one of the best home remedies during the first couple days of treating the sting.
While some people swear by toothpaste or mud, ice is the most reliable item around the house for sting symptoms. Additional remedies Over-the-counter antihistamine creams and products such as calamine lotion can be helpful. Torbati says. If you have ongoing redness and swelling over a large area of skin, oral antihistamines are useful because you can get more antihistamine effect in your system. Stings that lead to infection Though infections of the sting site are rare, keep an eye out for progressive symptoms.
If redness and swelling expand over several days and are accompanied by a fever, you likely have a bacterial infection and will need some form of antibiotic. Many stings can be avoided by giving the little buggers some space and keeping your distance.
Bee and Wasp Stings Treatment: First Aid Information for Bee and Wasp Stings
Be wary around flowers and remind children to do the same; if you see bees or wasps, don't swat at them—move away calmly. Wearing muted colors, choosing unscented lotions and cosmetics, and covering food left outdoors may also help keep you out of harm's way.
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