Bee Stings and Immediate Treatment
Bee Sting Allergies: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
Female worker bees possess a venomous sting, injected into the victim via a pair of barbed lancets. The lancets dig into the tissue enabling the bee to tear out and leave the sting, its venom sac and supporting  anatomy firmly lodged in the victim’s skin. 

Unless removed the sting will continue to produce and pump venom into the victim for 20 minutes or so.

The venom immediately delivers a sharp pain at the stinging site, with in most cases swelling and reddening following in various degrees around the sting site.   For the individual bee she has played her part in defending the colony by sacrificing her life and will die within a  few minutes.

The venom is a mix of over 60 different components, including histamine, pheromones, enzymes, amino acids, etc. The overall  outcome of a bee sting varies with the individual victim but generally the effect is relatively short-lived and tolerable, all but disappearing within few hours.  However, for a small number of the population (around 1 in 150 children and 3 in 100 adults) a bee sting can trigger a more serious allergic reaction, including anaphylactic shock.

What to do when Stung:  When stung, immediately remove the bee sting by scraping away the venom sac with the fingernail or a sharp edge such as a credit card.  Then wipe around the immediate area of the sting site with spit, a touch of honey or fresh beeswax to remove or disguise any pheromone trace that the stinging bee has marked the site to attract other bees.

When to Seek Medical Help:   Serious allergic reactions to bee stings are rare and in most cases the symptoms are confined to local pain, swelling, redness, itching and a burning sensation.

A serious allergy and/or anaphylactic shock triggered by a sting include rapid swelling around the eyes, lips, tongue or throat, difficulty breathing, wheezing or hoarseness, Itching, cramping, or numbness that is severe. dizziness, a reddish rash or hives, stomach cramps, tightening of the chest, and loss of consciousness.

If the stung  victim exhibits one or more of these symptoms of anaphylactic shock then medical advice should be urgently sought – dial 999 for an ambulance.

If a bee finds its way into your helmet space, walk to a dark space, such as the dark depths the apiary Green Shed and, with the door open, unzip and allow the bee to escape making its way to the source of natural light of the doorway.

And, always wear protective clothing and gloves when working in or nearby the Apiary.