The bees stinger resembles a hypodermic needle with barbs and is used to inject a mixture of alkali venom and acid into the skin. The alkali venom contains several kinds of proteins and enzymes which are believed to cause allergic reactions of varying degrees. Sting reactions, which may increase with succeeding stings, include:
• A choking sensation or difficulty in breathing.
• A skin rash similar to hives (human hives, not bee hives).
• A dry cough, sneezing or asthma.
• Lips turning blue.
• A rapid pulse and a drop in blood pressure.
More severe reactions may include cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, shock or loss of consciousness. Symptoms usually appear within a few minutes after a sting, but could be delayed up to 24 hours. Stings near the eyes, nose and throat are the most dangerous. For severe reactions, medical assistance should be sought immediately.
When stung by a bee, the stinger should be removed as quickly as possible, but removing it improperly will make the sting worse.
The proper way is to scrape the stinger out with a clean fingernail or knife. Pulling or squeezing the stinger will only pump more venom into the wound because the bee parts containing the venom are left attached to the stinger after the bee has torn itself free.
The sting area should be cleaned with soap and water, or with an antiseptic.
We read somewhere on the web that “for people known to have severe reactions who are stung on the arms or legs, a tourniquet may be applied between the wound and the heart to prevent the rapid spread of venom. The tourniquet should be released every three to five minutes until medical help is available“, we have added this information because we know no different, if this information is to be used it must first be agreed to by a qualified medical adviser who will know far more than we do. Should someone use this information they do so under their own responsibility we will accept no legal responsibility for it.
For bee swarm removal contact your local bee collector so that the swarm can be re-homed properly.
Some local collectors will collect your honey bee swarm free of charge or for a small donation to cover the cost of fuel and to assist in the relocation and feeding of the bees.