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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV USA
    Posts
    4

    Question

    I am trying to do some research to assist my daughter (15) who is highly allergic to bee stings. Does anyone know of any research that has been done in the area of bees being chemically attracted to humans who are allergic? Any help will be greatly appreciated!

    -Randy
    Las Vega$

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    Sequim / Wa / USA
    Posts
    175

    Post

    Randy
    It may be in order to consult a medical specialist in this matter . There are desensitising shots given to person with allergic reactions . Also, If your daughter is highly allergic , she should carry an antidote kit with her and know how to apply it. ( In the USA a prescription is required)
    Good luck
    JDF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV USA
    Posts
    4

    Post

    She carries an Epi-Pen religiously. I was wondering if humans that are allergic emit any pheromone-like (sp?) odor or chemical that would tend to attract more bees than a non-allergic person.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Juandefuca:
    Randy
    It may be in order to consult a medical specialist in this matter . There are desensitising shots given to person with allergic reactions . Also, If your daughter is highly allergic , she should carry an antidote kit with her and know how to apply it. ( In the USA a prescription is required)
    Good luck
    JDF
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,506

    Post

    Hi Randy -

    In all my years of beekeeping, I've never heard any study or evidence that would indicate a persons allergy results in a higher attraction to bee stings due to some sort of scent or odor the bees could pick up on. Interesting idea though. Maybe it's more related to the actions of a person than anything else. Someone who is allergic may tend to over-react more when around bees causing undo excitement to the bee. Of course it would take a lot to get a honey bee distracted if you're talking about a forager out collecting pollen or nectar. Around a hive is a different story.

    Regards,

    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Hi to you all here

    If I may put my two cents in, I have never heard of bees being attracted to people being alleric to things, but I have heard of bees being attracted to people wearing brightly colored clothes as this is what attracts bees to plants, the colouring, that is. Also, it has been documented that people who eat a lot of bananas have bees more so than normal attracted to them and we have advised beekeepers in our association not to eat bananas within 48 hours of working their bees because of this factor.

    Hope this helps some.

    Dee A. Lusby

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV USA
    Posts
    4

    Post

    Interesting note on the bananas. I guess that maybe Humans can/do emit certain attractants depending on diet. This deserves looking into. My daughter eats enough fruit to keep the agriculture economy of a small country alive. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    20

    Lightbulb

    Just a note on allergies: they are mediated by certain proteins attached to cells in the immune system (and when triggered cause their cells to release chemicals which cause the symptoms). As such, they pretty much stay where they're put (unlike small volatile fragrance molecules like the bananas). Also, the proteins involved are almost identical to those in non-allergic people except for the arrangements of certain components on the surface, so even if the bees were exposed to the proteins there wouldn't really be anything in particular to distinguish them.

    I guess (theorizing wildly here), there could conceivably be some difference in body chemistry between people with tendancies toward allergies versus those not. Maybe the allergic types would have higher levels of histamine (a relatively smallish molecule but not particularly volatile), but this wouldn't differentiate between people with allergies to different allergens.

    A reminder on bee-stings and allergies: true allergies to bee stings are extremely rare. The stings themselves have a variety of compounds that trigger the immune system in a similar way to allergies (they include histamine and various substances that release histamine) but are local/regional in effect. So if you get stung and the swelling goes all the way up your arm, or particularly if you have a lot of swelling if stung in the face, this is probably a relatively normal reaction. True allergy is when your lungs clamp down, your blood pressure bottoms out, and your tongue swells up and you can't breathe -- these are the effects that the epi-pen is used to counter. Since these are so serious, if you even suspect you have a true allergy it's probably a good idea to carry an epi-pen (and working with bees means there's a chance someone around you might get stung who does have a true allergy). Other allergens have to go through a filter of your respiratory or digestive system before getting to your circulatory system and you generally stop before it gets far; stings are injected. You should be cautious about using an epi pen with certain health conditions such as heart disease / angina -- epinephrine injection is like instantaneously getting extremely worked up and if the circulation to your heart is tenuous it could cause a heart attack (if you're suffocating though, the heart can be dealt with once you get to the hospital). When the epi-pen is used, the person isn't cured - just releived, they still need to go to a hospital in case they continue to react more.

    Don

    (If you want to see how diet can affect odors, try drinking a lot of strong fenugreek tea over a period of time. After a while you start to smell like the stuff such that even you can notice it. I wonder how bees would respond.)

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