Bee Sting Facts

  • Everybody reacts in some way to stings. Most swell around the stung area. That's NOT the same as a systemic allergy.
  • Less than 1 percent of the population has a systemic allergy to bee stings.
  • Symptoms of a systemic allergy, obvious within 20 minutes of the sting, may include swelling of tongue or throat, hives, dizziness or difficulty with breathing, loss of consciousness.
  • For a normal, healthy person to receive a deadly dose of bee venom, it would take about 10 stings for each pound of body weight, or 1,500 stings at once for a 150-pound person.
  • Because such a small portion of the population is allergic, doctors don't recommend that everyone have an allergy test, but you can if you want to make sure.
  • A honey bee only stings once, then it dies.
  • Honey bees are attracted to hair and dark colors.
  • Regular honey bees will chase you about half the length of a football field. Africanized honey bees may pursue you three times that far.
  • Venom content is the same in all honey bees, but the Africanized honey bees have about 27 percent less than European honey bees.

DO

  • Remove stinger quickly.
  • Remove stingers in a sideways motion with a fingernail, knife blade, credit card or similar material.
  • Seek medical attention if the person shows signs of a systemic allergy or if swelling extends beyond two joints (if you are stung on the finger and the swelling extends past the wrist and elbow).
  • If you are allergic, always carry a bee sting kit prescribed by your doctor.
  • Ice packs may reduce swelling.
  • A sting-kill ointment may reduce pain.

DO NOT

  • Don't let stingers remain in the skin, because venom can continue to pump into the body for up to 10 minutes.
  • Don't tweeze or pinch stingers when removing. That will squirt more venom into the body.