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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    52

    Post

    I usually work my bees in whatever I happen to have on. I don't mind the occasional sting. I will put on a long sleeved shirt and my veil if the bees seem particularly irked. But for the most part I just go in jeans and a tee shirt.

    I probably got tagged 6 times this summer, and instead of my reaction getting less severe with immunity build-up, it seems to be going in the other direction. On Saturday I took a hit on the forehead, and one of my eyes swelled shut for two days.

    Has anyone else had reactions get worse over time? I'm going to keep the bees no matter what, I'll just suit up if need be. But I'd like to know if anyone else has had this experience.

    Thanks

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    My stings react differently depending on a lot of things: strength of venom, how quickly I remove the stinger, where I get stung, how hot it is outside, how humid it is. I always wear my veil because despite the fact I don't use hairspray or anything, the girls seem to like to get tangled in my hair--even when I'm just gardening. I've given up socks though--inevitably a bee will become tangled in the fluffy weave of a sock and I get stung in the bee's panic to get free. If it's gonna get messy, I wear boots or my garden clogs without socks. If one of my girls crawls up on my bare ankle she'll usually eventually fly away rather than sting.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    Pain and swelling varies. The worst honeybee sting I can remember involved heat, beer, and I had recently had a bad reaction to a bumble bee and 2 yellow jackets stinging on the same day. The beer factor has been previously discussed. I've heard you can develop an alergy so I try to keep from getting stung. A sting directly in the eye can be very bad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA, USA
    Posts
    520

    Post

    I'm in my 3rd yr of beekeeping. In my first yr I began to develop itching, hives, and swelling in my extremities every time I was stung. I saw an allergist, had the skin-prick test and was told that I should beging desensitization shots because I was allergic to bee venom. This would've involved weekly visits for my shot for the first 2-3 yrs then biweekly or monthly for another 2 yrs. After reading and researching this, I decided to wait and see. My initial problems disappeared and I haven't had any problems since. I do carry an epipen when I'm around the bees everytime, just in case. (something all beeks should do, I think.) So, in my case, nothing worse developed. But someone else may not be as lucky. I say, get an epipen script from your regular physician, for sure. Talk it over with him/her and maybe go see an allergist to get tested.
    Take Care,
    Ken

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    South Mississippi
    Posts
    128

    Post

    My Uncle's reaction to bee stings has gotten worse over the years, especially in the last 2. He is 58 though and has been keeping bees for about 20 yrs or so.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Gilroy, CA
    Posts
    206

    Post

    The night I got home from a 200 mile drive to get my packaged bee's I was so excited to install them that I got somewhere between 20-45 stings, and every sting from that point got worser for me until about a few weeks ago when I got stung on my neck and a few on my thigh (thankgoodness it was just the thigh) and it was just a minor swelling with some really annoying itching. I guess I built up some immunity. BUT when I was having real pain with stings the first time, my mom boiled hot water with herbs and just rubbed the infected areas but when we ran out of herbs, the hot water just worked fine(home remedies from the old days)

    Danny
    Happiness is something final and complete in itself, as being the aim and end of all practical activities whatever .... Happiness then we define as the active exercise of the mind in conformity with perfect goodness or virtue.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    A benadryl taken 1/2 hr prior to working the bees does wonders. I will also routinely "sting" myself in a non-painful place like the tricep or thigh. It seems to work like an allergy vaccine for me. If you are having problems, get an epi-pen and some steroids from your doctor. It could be a life saver.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    Oops, sorry. Didn' see the above post by kenpkr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Whitefield, Maine USA
    Posts
    6,624

    Post

    >>The worst honeybee sting I can remember involved heat, beer...

    Aye, drunk bees are just so unpredictable!

    I've noticed with the 15-20 stings I've gotten so far this summer that my reaction has diminished considerably from the first few. Still, they do vary in intensity depending on where I get stung and I suppose, by other factors I can't determine such as age of the bee, etc. I do know that the end of my nose was a BAD place to get stung. I'm so used to them on my ankles however I hardly notice it any more.

    George-
    Dulcius ex asperis

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
    Posts
    1,443

    Post

    A sting directly in the eye can be very bad.

    oh my!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Dayton, OH USA
    Posts
    303

    Post

    Although a sting directly in the eye WOULD be very bad, he got stung on the forehead which made his eye swell. That's the exact reason I wear my veil. They always seem to go for my eyebrows which makes my eye swell as if I had gone a couple of rounds (or at least a few seconds) with Iron Mike.

  12. #12

    Post

    I have been having problems with the reaction getting worse. I got stung on the wrist and got mild swelling in the face and a severe rash all over. Extreme itching in the scalp and groin area. Kinda got me worried. I suit up everytime now, with gloves. Last year, no problems.
    "To bee or not to bee"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    Matt, I had similar problems. My hands and face seemed to be much more reactive to stings long after I had built up immunity. My hands would swell up like ballons well into the season if I got stung. I remember once when I was running about 40 hives and took one square in the eye socket. I looked like quasimoto for 3 days. I think for what ever reason hands and face take longer to be affected by resistance.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    I have a friend that became more sensitive after just one year of keeping bees. Myself, however, I've become very tolerant of stings. The other day I took about 15 stings to my arms, just because I didn't bother to pull up my gloves. The stings just didn't bother me that much... I just sort of scratched at the sting for a sec. The stings barely leave a little red mark. I know I'm fortunate- I'd hate to suddenly get a reaction because I love bees so much.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA, USA
    Posts
    520

    Post

    From what I've heard and read, our immune systems can be fickle and unpredictable. For that reason, EVERY beek should carry an epipen at all times when around the bees or, at least, a bottle of benadryl.
    But by the time you realize something's wrong you may not be able to swallow enough to help you. I don't want to seem like a paranoid worry wort but we're talking about the possibility (although somewhat remote) of near sudden death. I've read that some can react so suddenly that they don't have time to get to the hospital. Anyway, I think its a very small burden to get a script for an epipen just to have around IF you should ever need it.
    Steppin' off my soapbox now, thanks for listening.

    Ken

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Rochester, Washington, USA
    Posts
    973

    Post

    I have heard you can get stung a million times, no problem, the next one puts you in the ER. Have also heard that you can build up an immunity. Don't really care to find out if the former is true or not, so I'm not taken any chances. :confused:
    I carry benadryl and an EPI pen.
    \"ONLY WHEN THE LAST RIVER HAS BEEN DRIED UP<br />THE LAST TREE BEEN CUT DOWN<br />THE LAST WILD FISH CAUGHT<br />WILL MAN REALIZE YOU CAN\'T EAT MONEY\"<br />GHANDI (?)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    White County, Arkansas
    Posts
    874

    Post

    So far the only times I've been stung I was unarmoured and made stupid mistakes. But the one I got yesterday below my ankle is oozing and I don't know why. It has the typical swelling and drive you up a wall itching of the two previous stings. It's sticky like blood but isn't blood. I've had wounds that oozed in the past but not sticky like this.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Post

    Kenkpr, I agree with you in what you say, but not as strongly. A paranoid worry wort may be on your horizon. A tree fell on a group of scouts this week, killing one. A tragedy, yes, but not enough to never go under a tree. Things happen. Cautions should be taken, but not to the extent that it causes severe mental stress. We are all going to live till we die. No more, no less.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Rockville, Maryland
    Posts
    52

    Post

    Lot's of good information. I REALLY hope I'm not getting allergic to bee stings. The idea of giving up my hives is almost unthinkable.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
    Posts
    5,080

    Post

    Be thankful for the swelling. The reaction that is dangerous usually involves itching and a rash in a different area than the sting. Swelling in the area of the sting is a sign of your body taking care of the problem.
    Disclaimer: I'm not a medical person and this is conversation, not advice.

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