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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lakeville, IN, USA
    Posts
    3

    Question

    I'm new here. Glad to find this forum. I have a small farm here in N. Indiana. I'd love to have a couple of hives of bees for pollination and for honey but I'm allergic to bee stings. Anybody heard of anyone keeping bees when they're allergic? I did think of trying to find someone who needs a place to keep a couple of hives and offering my place in exchange for some honey but didn't know where to start looking. I appreciate any help..

    DebF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    Many people get stung by a wasp, and swell up assuming they got stung by a "bee". It's much more common to be allergic to wasp stings than bee stings... and just 'cause you're allergic to wasps does not mean you're allergic to bees. If however, you stepped on a honeybee in the grass... then you're right, you're allergic to honeybees. If so, you can carry the shot but I wouldn't risk it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lakeville, IN, USA
    Posts
    3

    Post

    Thanks Curry. It was definitely a bee that stung me. I've been stung by a wasp since then and had no reaction.I'm thinking that I shouldn't take the risk either but sure would like to be able to take advantage of the good that bees can do.

    Deb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,261

    Post

    You can search the web for local bee clubs. Ask the county extention agent if he knows of a beekeeper who wants to place a couple of hives. 20 years ago I'd say just get some bees in a box and let them be, but now they'd die from the mites anyway.

  5. #5

    Post

    Hi there. I am sure that there are some beekeepers in your area. I just don't know any offhand. Here are some websites for our local bee clubs.
    http://www.hoosierbuzz.com/
    http://www.goshen.edu/bio/Bee/Beekeepers.html


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Post

    What specific type of reaction do you have to bee stings? Just be sure it's really an allergy and not a local reaction.
    If you really really want to keep bees and are truly allergic to them, there's a couple of bee suits that are supposed to be sting-proof. I intend to buy one this year because one of my hives is particularly feisty. I bough some of the rubber-coated gloves and they have been marvelous. No more stings to the hands that I used to get through my soft leather gloves.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    You can have a doctor test specifically for bee allergy. Seems to me that in your situation this is time/money well spent. (And not a huge amount of either is required.) I would hate to see you abandon your desire to keep bees without knowing for sure that you are alergic . . . one event is not enough to be sure. On the other hand, if you really have a serious allergy, you need to know that too. If the doctor discovers a serious reaction, there are specific drugs that can be prescribed and you should, if you do decide to keep bees, be prepared to administer them to yourself.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,262

    Post

    Greetings BeeBear, and Welcome

    I feel fortunate not to be allergic to bee venom because I consider a sting as therapy against joint stiffness and pain. My hands are as functional as a thirty year old. LOL

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    >My hands are as functional as a thirty year old. LOL

    But you aren't thirty yet...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,261

    Post

    We beekeepers can be quite specific when it comes to "allergic to bee stings". Some people have a big red spot and say they are allergic. Some swell up like a balloon and their heart stops and they say they are allergic. We tend to think if you stop breathing you are probably allergic.

    Just kidding, but if you only have a swelled up area and not a systemic reaction, you are just normal but had a little worse reaction than typical. I've had an area swell up and hurt for two weeks. (Behind my ear) and I've gotten stung that morning and later that same morning can't find where it happened.

    If you go into anaphylactic shock you are definitely allergic.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    One of the members of our club runs an organic nursery and is allergic to bees. She carries an epi pen at all times. I think it's just a matter of being prudent(easy for me to say since I'm not allergic!). Last year my friend was not so prudent--as she was walking through the beeyard with not so much as a veil on, she thought she would heft a hive to calculate its weight. Got stung 12 times. The epi pen and a trip to emergency kept her out of trouble, but a full week and a half later, she was still pretty lumpy!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lakeville, IN, USA
    Posts
    3

    Post

    The last reaction I had was a worsening of symptoms I had previous stings. I am a nurse so I know the difference between reactions and allergic reactions. The hives and itching in areas other than the sting (which I did have)are signs of allergy. I also know that each exposure can increase the chance of anaphylaxis and that if it goes that far it could very well be too late. I will talk to my doctor again and see about allergy testing. Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Temecula, CA
    Posts
    147

    Post

    This may be drifting a bit off topic but may be interesting to folks since we are talking about systemic reactions (anaphylaxis). I won't go into the physiology of it all (although I am tempted) but I would offer a couple of points regarding medications that contradict systemic reactions.

    Basically, the introduction of a protein (in this case bee venom) triggers a massive (non-localized) release of histamines from your body’s mast cells resulting in hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, drop in BP, etc. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) contradicts the reaction by helping to stem the release of histamines – it gets at the root of the problem by stopping or slowing down the release of histamine. Epinephrine (e.g., Epi-pens, Ana-kits) as mentioned is a synthetic adrenaline that acts as a vasoconstrictor. It essentially contradicts the reaction by constricting your blood vessels thus reducing the swelling. It does nothing to stop the release of histamines however which is what ultimately is causing the vasodilatation and the swelling in the first place.

    So what does all of this mean? It means that the best treatment (if you can swallow) is to get some antihistamine in you as soon as you can. If you have a compromised airway administer a .3ml dose of epinephrine (most epi-pens are .3 ml) which will reduce the swelling and open-up your airway but as soon as you can take some diphenhydramine to contradict the release of histamines. And by all means, if you have a systemic reaction go to the hospital to get checked. Also watch to re-bound reactions that can occur in the next 12- 24 hours.

    If people are interested in more detail, anaphylaxis treatment protocols, how to administer epinephrine etc. I would be happy to send people loads if information off line. I’ll even send you some nifty power-point slide shows.

    Kurt

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Clifton Park, NY, USA
    Posts
    133

    Post

    and I thought stings just hurt for 1-2 seconds then got itchy for another 60 seconds or so.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Temecula, CA
    Posts
    147

    Post

    for most of us - thankfully.... but for some, it's pretty serious business.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,262

    Cool

    Hi Bill,

    It's been a while since I saw thirty.

    Life happens.





  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    mn, wi, tx
    Posts
    174

    Post

    When I started keeping bees a sting would result in extensive swelling---If I got stung on the hand, my whole arm would swell, and my hand so much so that I couldn't touch fingers together. The swelling would peak at 72 hours, then subside over a week.

    Now I don't even get a red mark. Now I can take a hundred stings and maybe get a headache from the venom, but no swelling or itching.

    If you are borderline allergic, and can stand it, frequent (daily) multiple stings can reduce the allergy until it no longer affects you.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,261

    Post

    >If you are borderline allergic, and can stand it, frequent (daily) multiple stings can reduce the allergy until it no longer affects you.

    Somtimes. Sometimes it works the other way. I'm not sure why.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Bridgewater VT. USA
    Posts
    238

    Post

    Hi Guys
    I have been stung on the hand and had my whole arm swell and even cause lymph nodes to swell, but subside over a week or so.I also got stung last spring several times on the throat and han nothing more than a little local swelling and an itch for two days, go figure.
    Stuart

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,261

    Post

    Maybe you're building resistance. Usually a sting on the hand is minor. It's the stings on the face and neck that usually last a while.

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