Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Owensboro, KY
    Posts
    149

    Default An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Please follow me as this is a serious question, and I'm being long winded about it.

    Here's the thing. I'm in my mid-30's, am a new beekeeper as of this past spring, and have been stung multiple times by everything OTHER than honeybees.

    As a child, growing up in Kentucky, I often ran around bare footed in the grass, and encountered plenty of stinging critters, but have never been stung by a honeybee! When I was in my early teens I was stung around 16 times by bumblebees, and was completely fine! Don't ask how it happened. Let's just say I ran, and my little brother didn't! The cruel things we do as children.

    Anyway, in speaking it over with my mother this evening I found out that I have NEVER been stung by a honeybee. Would it be possible for me to harbor an allergy to honey bees that I did not have for other stinging insects? Even though I have been stung by bumblebees, wasps, and hornets, and lived to tell ... could it be possible that honey bees have a different allergic response than all of the others?

    I have an epipen on hand that was prescribed by my doctor, but I got it in the rare case that I was stung multiple times! Thinking back ..... I've never been stung by honey bees!

    Should I be ok in assuming that I am not severely allergic to honeybee stings since I have been stung by OTHER insects?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    7,055

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Never assume anything! Reactions to a single stinging insect are rare. De-sensitization treatment for stinging insects involves being stung by honey bees in a clinical setting because there is usually a strong correlation between reactions as the IG G increases in your bloodstream to counter the stings.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,441

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    You're a first year beekeeper and you haven't been stung yet? I was in the same boat you're in before beekeeping. I've been stung by everything but honeybees. I've lost count now on how many times I've been stung by honeybees, maybe 30 or 40 times this year. (Had a couple of queenless hives ). I never really thought about the difference between Wasp vs Honeybee venom but I have pretty much the same reaction. Local swelling and itching for a few days and then it goes away.

    If you continue beekeeping, you'll find out soon enough if you're allergic. You're smart to have an epi pen.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    You must be a very cautious individual around bees or a very lucky one, my girls give me a sting every once in a while just to remind me who is the boss.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Okeechobee FL
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    My first stings from honey bees the swelling was severe after several more stings over the years I believe your body gets used to the venom and well you cant even see a swelling taken place. But everybody is different just my two cents..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Allegany County, MD
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    I'm 35 and a first year keeper. I have never been stung by a honey bee until this year. I have only been stung once by my girls and if I was wearing my jacket and veil that would not have happened. Anyways, I've been stung by plenty of other things and the reaction to the honey bee sting was no different. But different people have different reactions so it's hard to say.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Cole County, Missouri
    Posts
    170

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    I was never allergic to any insect . As a weird kid I use to catch bees and fireflys in jars. My first sting as a beek was when my package bees were here. Mean suckers they would follow me into my house, and I got stung real bad on my neck, and my ear when a bunch of them found a way into my veil. But it just hurt no reactions. But oddly as my queen got started working and I got stung by accident because I squished one with my bare finger. My finger swelled up like a ballon . I have never had allergic reaction from an insect or animal bite. But thinking about it . I am from Florida I work with animals for a living, so I have been tick bit flea bit , bit by everything. All my adult life including when I tromped in the everglades all my life. The ticks never made a reaction, they did not itch or swell in Florida. But here in Missouri they itch for weeks and I scratch myself raw. I do believe what grows here in Missouri I am not use too. I can be allergic to pollen so this is what I think is happening. My missouri bees eating the stuff growing around here which I am mildly allergic too. The sweeling from my bee bites last 3 to 4 days and it will swell the area up so big that I can not use it.

    So I assume from my own experinces it is not just based on your reaction to just the honey bee. but also the pollen they consume

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,179

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Hi,
    A short answer to you're question is yes, it is possible to be allergic to honey bee venom, & not the other insects you've been stung by.
    Its also possible to become allergic after years of beekeeping, & being stung.
    Less than 1% of the people have allergies to honey bee stings. I've heard 1 in 100000 are. So the odds are very low.

    I think you need to get stung so you can stop wondering about it.
    Dan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,071

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Like KQ said the real problem is that you can be fine with stings for years and then one day it is life or death. Always have a pen near by. You matter too much to those who love you not to.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Owensboro, KY
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    I'm thinking the same thing KQ6AR.

    My wife is an RN, so I would technically have medical assistance on standby.

    As for never being stung, and I've been doing this for 6 months ..... I'm either very cautious or my bees are very docile. I don't have anything to compare it to, so I'm not sure which it is.

    Whenever I open my hives I never have any bees flying around my head or stinging me, unlike many of the videos that I've seen of similar 'How-To' scenarios.

    Maybe I'm just lucky.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Quote Originally Posted by roostershooter7 View Post
    Would it be possible for me to harbor an allergy to honey bees that I did not have for other stinging insects? Even though I have been stung by bumblebees, wasps, and hornets, and lived to tell ... could it be possible that honey bees have a different allergic response than all of the others?
    Should I be ok in assuming that I am not severely allergic to honeybee stings since I have been stung by OTHER insects?
    YES to your first question and NO to your second. You can be allergic or reactive to just honeybees and not other stinging insects. I know from my own experience and clinical allergy testing. If you are really worried, get allergy tested. Also see Amercian Bee Journal for Dr. Buddy Mattere's articles. There are the two listed here: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/...06a%20copy.pdf
    karla

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,441

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    This sounds weird but I think you'll feel better after you've been stung
    Last edited by Charlie B; 09-04-2011 at 11:54 AM.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    > Whenever I open my hives I never have any bees flying around my head or stinging me, unlike many of the videos that I've seen of similar 'How-To' scenarios.


    Rooster, sounds like you are a true to life bee charmer.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,113

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Get your wife to stand-by ,then grasp a bee off your landing and hold on
    You'll break the Ice with safety

    Tommyt

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    San Juan County, WA
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Just to put the danger in perspective:

    According to Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology: Hymenoptera species account for more than 1 million stings annually in the U.S.

    According to Journal of Wilderness Environmental Medicine: There were 533 deaths in the U.S. from bee and wasp stings during the decade from 1991 to 2001, so that averages around 50 per year.

    That means if you're stung, you have approximately a 1 in 20,000 chance of dying from it. That's a .005 percent chance, or five one-thousandths of one percent.

    So you can probably relax.
    Last edited by madrona; 09-07-2011 at 06:35 PM. Reason: typo

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,441

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Madrona,

    That's good information to know. Thanks for doing the research.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  17. #17

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Quote Originally Posted by roostershooter7 View Post
    ... could it be possible that honey bees have a different allergic response than all of the others?
    We have a beekeeping allergist in the area. He gave me a handout to provide for new beekeepers. And it clearly indicates that the venoms of various bees are different. You can be allergic to one and not others.
    Another interesting quote from his handout "Honey bee allergy is not common among non-beekeepers. Honey bee allergy is more severe." (than allergy to other Hymenopterans)
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: An Interesting Bee Sting Question. Please Help Me Figure This Out.

    Before everyone runs out to get an epi-pen, I just wanted to pass on some other info. Most fire departments and first responders across the US are EMTs, whether it's paid or volunteer. Epi-pens are carried and maintained by them. I would check with your local responders and see if they are EMTs and carry the drug. Hopefully they're only 3 mins away from everyone like they are here.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads