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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Rockford, Michigan
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    147

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    Was cutting the grass yesterday and must of got a little to close to the bees as one came out and got tangled in my hair. Well I just went on cutting waiting for the inevitable and sure enough it came! Top of the head, left side.
    It's been several years since I've been stung due to the new bee suits and zippered hoods, and I have to say I don't go out of my way to get stung.
    After about an hour of cutting I noticed a hive the size of a nickel on the inside of my left forearm. No other itching, or swelling other than a small knot at the sting site on the top of my head.
    The hive was gone in about 3 hours and there were no other swellings or symptoms.
    This also happened years ago when I had a few more stings, where I'd develop a few raised hives in places other than the sting site.
    So I'm kind of planning on getting some more hives next spring, but was also wondering if maybe this is the beginning of the end for my beekeeping?
    Would a regiment of one sting a week help with minimizing any reactive symptoms?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Blountstown, Florida
    Posts
    535

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    As long as you are POSITIVE that you do not experience ANAPHYLACTIC reactions to bee venom, then chances are that being stung occasionally will certainly build up an immunity to the venom. I know I certainly have built up an amazing resistance. I always had the nowmal reaction of pain for 10 - 15 minutes, subsiding, and then the next day there would be swelling and itching in a fairly localized area.

    Now....... there is a little pain for about 5 minutes and then basically nothing. Not the next day, not ever. I am one very happy camper about that.

    The down side is that I tend to go with less and less protection, even to the point that I have messed with them for very minor things in nothing more than a pair of shorts. Of course, I get stung more (that's the down side I was talking about hehe) but I guess maybe under the circumstances, that turns out to be a good thing!!?!?!?! ROFLMAO

    ------------------
    It's Not The Destination, It's The Journey. We Cannot Change The Wind, But We CAN Trim The Sails.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Hookstown PA USA
    Posts
    581

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    Yes, Sharkey is right. If you get stung and can still breath and don't die, then you will build a tolerance. I used to swell and get real hot in the sting area now I barely can find where I get stung. In fact it helps my knee out so I like to have one of my girls sting me there every so often. It's gonna stink during winter...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

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    >It's gonna stink during winter...

    Maybe you need one of those Apitherapy observation hives so you can get stung now and then all winter.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Guelph, ON, CAN
    Posts
    29

    Post

    Got my first sting of the season yesterday about 3 hours after placing new supers onto the hives.
    I was walking the dog through the field and WHAM...right into the flight path of a returning worker. I hit her pretty darned hard with my right eyelid. Killed her, I expect. No swelling but it hurt like stink!

    A little residual tenderness this afternoon but still no mark and no sympathy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

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    I am going to disagree with the rest. A LOCALIZED reaction is nothing to worry about. A swelling in another part of the body is a SYSTEMIC reaction, and more serious than a localized reaction around the site of the sting.

    In a systemic reaction, the body attacks ITSELF! Hives and swelling of the airway are BOTH types of systemic reactions.

    The advice of a doctor regarding future stings should be sought.

    On the good side, if there IS reason to be concerned, you could always be desensitized. Or, wear your bee suit while you mow around the hives.

    [This message has been edited by Terri (edited September 07, 2004).]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    johnston city ill usa
    Posts
    79

    Post

    Terri; How do you get desensitized? Is there a shot you get?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

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    “The Hive and the Honey Bee” has a good write-up on sting reactions.

    “Large local reactions are characterized by local swellling around the sting site that begins several hours to a day after the sting. The swelling might continue to increase for a few days and sometimes becomes enormous.”

    “There is no evidence that cutaneous allergic reactions frequently progress to serious life-threatening systemic reactions.”

    “An instructive way to view cutaneous allergic reactions is to realize that skin reactions cannot threaten one’s life. Nobody has ever died of skin reactions to stings.”

    If you don’t own a copy of THATHB probably your local library does.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

    Post

    “Large local reactions are characterized by local swellling around the sting site "

    This is the problem. The swelling was NOT around the hive site. She was stung on the head, and the swelling was on her arm. She had a systemic reaction.

    When I spoke to my own allergist regarding my allergy to yellowjackets, he told me that as I had a severe LOCALIZED reaction to the stings, that I did not have to carry an epi-pen.

    And, yes, I believe that allergy shots are availble for bee stings.

    When I had a systemic allergic reaction to ibuprofin, I first had hives, and a half-hour later I started having trouble breathing.


    [This message has been edited by Terri (edited September 08, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by Terri (edited September 08, 2004).]

  10. #10

    Lightbulb

    Ditto on the hive and honeybee book comments. It seems to present scientific facts. Hear we all share our _________.

    I have so much crap flying around my yard that I could not tell you what a "hive" in one spot was from. Good chance for it being a mosquito. This does not sound like the body attacking itself or a systemic reaction. Coincidence alone.

    Swelling was localized. It did not go past 2 joints. You are fine. If you ever have a tough time breathing get 911.

    I sting myself in winter to maintain immunity. 1 a month if I can.

    I am employed as a registered nurse in an acute care hospital. If a patient showed me a nickel size bump on their arm I would barely think twice about it especially if it went away in 3 hours.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    445

    Post

    Nursebee is entirely correct when she says that it might not be a hive at all. A nickle-sized swelling probably WAS a mosquito bite.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Leonardtown, Md, USA
    Posts
    235

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    I was stung in the left achilles tendon and right inner thigh 2 weeks ago and sufferred a cascading reaction. First my hands felt like they were on fire and tingling. Then the same with my ears. Then my forehead and face. Finally, the hives came. Took two benadryl and I was fine. Did not have trouble breathing.

    I have been stung before but never had that reaction. Hope it doesn't happen again.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Rockford, Michigan
    Posts
    147

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    Thanks to Terri, nursebee, Dick Allen and all who replied. The only reaction I did receive was the one small welt/hive/ bump on the inside of my left arm, which lasted about 3 hours. I'm positive it wasn't another bug bite. Remember the sting was on the top of my head, left side.
    In fact, I thought maybe my eye would swell shut, or my jaw would swell, or my ear, but I had none of that! Zero swelling except for a small acorn size welt on the top of my head. Actually as the hours passed, I could feel the venom work its way down as I did feel a slight ache in the shoulder, then the elbow, and finally the wrist. NO shallow breathing, heart palpitations, problems swallowing, etc. Nothing beyond what I've already described. I do have a script for an epipen, which I haven't filled. I'll get some Benadryl to keep on hand.
    Remember in my original post, I thought this might be the beginning of the end to my beekeeping. If this is all I can expect, and things don't progress in a worse manner, then I'll get more bees next spring.
    I'll probably start some kind of sting program of my own, perhaps one or two a week. I'd like to use a little common sense here also. I don't think running to a doctor is the entire answer. After all, doctors are out to practice medicine and to make money. With today's attitudes about suing, a doctor can't help but force someone into unnecessary and costly desensitizing treatments just as a means of CYA.
    I don't have the experience of nursebee to recognize a slight, but marked reaction, from a severe reaction. Nor do I have the experience to be able to say that all future stings will grow in reaction intensity from here on out, which was kind of the answer I was looking for.
    Never-the-less, no bare handed bee working until I can get a good feel for my limits. Thanks all!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Stronghurst,Illinois
    Posts
    168

    Post

    Here is some food for thought . I was taking a colony from a down tree . I got hit 12 times in the legs and the butt LOL . No reaction other than itching the next few days .

    About 2 months later I was mowing the beeyard . It was really too warm to be doing it but it needed to be done . I got in the flight path of a returning worker and got nailed once in the wrist on my right side . 5 minutes later I had trouble breathing after I had suited up . I returned home to the A/C nad the wife called the ambulance .I refused to go being the hard headed person that I am . I think it was a reaction . They were calling it heat stroke . I am of the opinion that it makes a differance where you get stung as this swelled pretty good for about 3 days .

    Still too hard headed to quit my bees but do watch them a lot closer now and always suit up gloves and all .

    Drifter

    ------------------
    Some can learn by others mistakes , others have to whizz on the electric fence for themslves .

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

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    THATHB lists 6 normal and alergic reaction classifications to insect stings.

    I. Normal, non-allergic reactions at the time of the sting

    II. Normal, non-allergic reactions hours or days after the sting

    III. Large local reactions (includes massive swellling around the sting site)

    IV. Cutaneous allergic reactions (includes massive swelling remote from the sting site)

    V. Non life-threatening systemic allergic reactions

    VI. Life-threatening systemic allergic reactions (includes shock, unconsciousness, difficulty in breathing, massive swellilng in the throat)

    More on cutaneous allergic reactions from THATHB:

    “Cutaneous allergic reactions all have one feature in common--they affect only the skin. They can be very unpleasant and even frightening to those who fear, or have been led to fear, that such reactions will progress to more serious reactions. ...... There is no evidence that cutaneous allergic reactions frequently progress to serious life-threatening systemic reactions” [And again]: “Nobody has ever died of skin reactions to stings.”


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,649

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    I lifted this from the Bee-L archives:

    “A good way to go crazy is to keep bees and get stung occasionally while constantly worrying about the D-day. ”


    Seriously, you guys ought to read the section in THATHB on ‘Allergy to Venomous Insects’ if you haven’t. In a table on death rates in the U.S., death from honey bee stings is listed 2nd from the bottom (apparently, overexertion kills less people). Radon gas, freezing, and horseback riding are listed as responsible for more deaths than bee stings.

    “The chances of dying in an automobile accident while on en route to a hospital following an insect may be greater than the chances of dying due to the sting may be a telling analysis.”

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Hiram, Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    731

    Post

    Just to add my experience--I think I am currently experiencing the cutaneous allergic reaction. I got hit twice on the left hand and once under the armpit, and now I've got a massive puffy welt thing going on my chest on that side in addition to the standard lobster claw. Most I've ever swelled...quite uncomfortable, but doesn't really worry me. Maybe I need a suit though. I pretty much just go in with whatever I have on at the time.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Neodesha, Ks
    Posts
    623

    Post

    Take some Benedryl Alergy as soon as you can after you get stung. Work for me.

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