new to bees, never been stung, should I?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 28
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Waco, Texas
    Posts
    12

    Default new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    I'm not sure if I'm putting this in the correct place, please forgive me if it's not.

    I'm very new to this, have thought about it for years but never made a move. So..... I got a book, been reading online, watching videos, talking with a friend that keeps bees but he lives out of state, then I went to a club meeting. Everyone was nice and seemed helpful then something was said about not being allergic to bees. Well, I really don't know. I can't ever remember being stung by a honeybee, although they cover my koi pond in the summer, been stung by lots of wasps but no bees. I was told to go get stung and see if I react before spending any money. I understand that logic, however, just because I don't have a bad reaction this time doesn't mean I won't the next, correct? I had planned to get an epi-pen just in case anyway because you never know. I had not planned to get any bees this year. My plan was a bee suit/gloves, epi-pen, and someone that would let me tag along while they were working their hives to learn and also to see if it's something I really want to do. Thoughts?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    6,640

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Hi Becky and welcome to the world of beekeeping. First of all, oddly enough, in the unlikely event you would have a serious allergy to bee stings it's normally the first sting that sets up a more serious reaction the second time you are stung. An allergist could give you a more complete explanation as to why if you're interested. A good precaution might be to carry a phone and to be sure you have a friend "on call" whenever you are working your hives. Honey bee venom is unique from other stinging insects so the absence of a reaction from one wouldn't guarantee that you wouldn't have a reaction from a honeybee sting. Localized swelling would be pretty normal but perhaps google anaphylactic reaction for symptoms so you can be prepared if you feel any of them. Good luck and I wouldn't get too preoccupied with worrying about it.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Princess Anne, Maryland
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    You will not have a anaphylactic reaction the first time. Your body has to exposed to the histamine first. You can however have localized reactions, that does not mean you are allergic. People often mistake the both and think because they have localized reactions they are allergic. Some Benadryl is good to have on hand.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    West Chester, PA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    An allergist can test you for honey bee venom allergy in a controlled environment. You end up spending a little, but it might be safer and you can learn a little more in the medical setting.

    Jim.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Monroe County, PA, USA
    Posts
    234

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    First the good news having an allergy to stinging insects is not as bad these days as it was 50 years ago. The odds are in favor of you not being allergic to honey bees. Caution is still the best way to go. Locate the nearest urgent care/ER and time your travel to it. The first few times you get stung go to the center and wait about 2 hours to see what your reaction is(you do not have to check in just let them know you were stung). Better to be there before a problem starts. It is also wise to not check the bees when you are alone for the first few stings just in case. In a very few cases the person stung could pass out quickly(very rare but it does happen).

    I am allergic to hornets and yellow jackets and my reactions always started within a half hour or less. If you do get an allergic reaction that is not the end of your beekeeping, the new allergy shots are very effective(not like that crap they gave us 40 years ago).

    A 'strong' local reaction is not an allergic reaction but it does tend to worry most people. I have found that a few bee stings does help my arthritis for a while but the sting does hurt and swell enough that I do not try to be stung.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Southern Virginia
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    if you have any rational fears of an allergic reaction to a bee sting, get tested before you get your first hive. That's not to say if you ARE allergic you CAN'T keep bees, but you'll have to suit up extra strong (which would be miserable in summer)

    The old timers will tell you that even after decades of stings, they still hurt each time. I've noticed in my first year that my reactions are significantly better now than my first sting.

    A key part in reducing the after effects are to remove the stinger as quickly as possible (and correctly), and take benedryl to avoid the itching. I find rubbing toothpaste on the sting site helps, but that's just me.
    Zone 7a

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    carney, maryland, USA
    Posts
    1,269

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Probably best to get stung. I get stung about 10-15 times per year. Remove the stinger by scraping it off with something like a credit card (I use my hive tool). I buy the chewable Walmart "benadryl" knockoff, and keep a box on hand in case I see a worse-than-normal reaction. I have found that my reaction to stings lessens as I get more.

    I considered getting an epipen, but decided against it.

    Hope this helps.

    Phil

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Louisville, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,547

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    I have gone from having no allergic reaction to stings, to having the bad reaction .... what's the word for that?... back to having just swelling and nothing more. I have an epi pen just in case.
    If you can get yourself tested it might put your fears to rest.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,486

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    If you take Benadryl, make sure it's non-drowsy if they have it. Nothing like popping a few pills then having to drive home an hour and falling asleep half way there....

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,811

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Location of the bee sting on your body and length of time it sits in your skin can all have a bearing on how you react to each sting. (I react more to head/face stings than an elbow sting) Liquid benedryl is great to keep on hand. Suited up with gloves, for a beginner, is the way to start learning. You will get enough un-intentional stings the first year to find out if it's going to be a "problem" for you. (Even if you develop a sensitivity to the venom, an allergist can help you become de-sensitized).

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Cazadero, California
    Posts
    364

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeckyP View Post
    . My plan was a bee suit/gloves, epi-pen, and someone that would let me tag along while they were working their hives to learn and also to see if it's something I really want to do. Thoughts?
    That's a good plan, but instead of buying a suit and epi pen (which you may not be able to get a prescription for..) you might want to spend the money to see an allergist.

    Whoever lets you tag along will probably have a spare veil or jacket, so don't buy one. I think if you just tag along, it'll be great exposure to bees, but I doubt it's going to get you stung.

    I was concerned as well, but my first time in bees (when I forgot to pull the hood of my brand new full bee suit over my head) I got fully lit up. I had no bad reaction, so the matter was settled.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Hampton, Georgia
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    First off I'm not a doctor, emt or have any sort of qualification to tell you what to do.
    You've been given some good info so far and you are wise to consider this issue. Just for me I wouldn't worry over this enough to prevent me from having and working bees. The odds, strictly mathematical odds, of you actually having an allergic reaction are slim. Pain, swelling, itching, cussing absolutely but life threatening chest squeezing anaphylaxis not likely on average.
    Now that said the odds of being struck by lightning are equally rare but it does happen on a somewhat regular basis to people. So much so that we take common sense precautions.
    Now keeping bees itself violates the most common sense precaution against anaphylaxis, welcome to the insanity called beekeeping btw, but there are other common sense precautions that you can take.

    Until you know yea or nay your own tolerance levels always have a responsible party other than yourself in attendance when the possibility of a sting may occur
    Keep an open line of communication between yourself and those who may be your life line to help
    Never put yourself in a situation where others can't find you should you be incapacitated
    Always have on hand some means of self rescue or treatment; benadryl, cell phone, epipen
    Consult your personal physician for professional advice
    Continue to educate yourself on both risks and mitigation of risks
    Always use appropriate safety equipment as the task may dictate

    I saved that last one for last as I always advise new beeks to fully suit up everytime even if I'm standing next to them unsuited. It has to do with knowing what you can tolerate. I know after 30 years that I don't "need" gloves and can work bees sans veil most days. The new beek don't know that yet.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Vernon, AZ. USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    If someone wants to work bees, and are interested, I always assure them, that they WILL get stung. As an aside, if they want to watch first, they have to show up with a beesuit. If they're not serious enough to take a minimum step, they can waste someone else's time. To the OP, if getting stung is confusing or conflicting you about keeping 10's of 1000's of stinging insects in a box, I dont know what to say to that. Thats what you will have.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Snhomish County, WA USA
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Becky - first I want to commend you on your last sentence - being prepared and doing a tag-along before you take the plunge is a VERY good place to start - in short order you will discover if you are either fascinated or terrified by the idea of messing with a box of 50,000 live stingers and will know if you want to embark on the long-term adventure we call beekeeping.

    I don't think you need to intentionally go sting yourself "to find out" what your reaction will be... - if you hang around bees enough, you will eventually get stung... and then you'll know.
    And yes, you are correct, not every sting is the same and your body does not react the same way every time. I get stung fairly often - mostly on my hands, and usually its no biggie, but occasionally I'll get really whacked good, have a strong reaction and need to resort to Benedryl (awesome stuff) and a day or two away from the hives... the next sting may be mild or not - you never know (Bee sting lottery)

    If you decide to join us on the adventure, just follow the advice of others above - initially have a partner (its more fun that way anyway) play with you - think ahead, keep the benedryl in your bee suit - have a cell phone handy, etc.

    I hope you join us - it's a lot of fun, a great learning experience, and very rewarding.

    Sky

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Cazadero, California
    Posts
    364

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Quote Originally Posted by jadebees View Post
    As an aside, if they want to watch first, they have to show up with a beesuit. If they're not serious enough to take a minimum step, they can waste someone else's time.
    I'm still at the stage where I'm thrilled if someone wants to look through my hives with me. They certainly don't need to buy a suit or prove their commitment.
    So Becky: If you happen to find yourself in Nor Cal, give a shout. It's not a waste of time at all.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    3,112

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    If you take Benadryl, make sure it's non-drowsy if they have it. Nothing like popping a few pills then having to drive home an hour and falling asleep half way there....

    I don’t think you want the non-drowsy Benadryl. Regular Benadryl has Diphenhydramine in it.

    Diphenhydramine is a first generation antihistamine and is a H 1 receptor antagonist. Antagonism is achieved through blocking the effect of histamine more than blocking its production or release. Diphenhydramine inhibits most responses of smooth muscle to histamine and the vasoconstrictor effects of histamine.

    If you use a non-drowsy formula, it will most likely to have pseudoephedrine in it which is a stimulant and can cause in increase in blood pressure and increased heart beat.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,133

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    I wouldn't be getting an epi-pen quite yet. Actually, I'll just agree with and ask you to review what Jim said in the second post in this thread. Good advice right there.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Santa barbara, CA
    Posts
    779

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Research published in "The Lancet" medical journal in 1996 concluded that the method of stinger removal isn't important as long as the stinger is removed as quickly as possible.
    There is only one benadryl - diphenhydramine and it causes drowsiness and is not effective treatment for a true anaphylactic reaction (systemic, diffuse response in contrast to a localized pain, swelling and redness) which occurs in 0.3 to 3% of beestings or 2% of the population (highest incidence in any group is beekeepers). Anaphylaxis is characterized by diffuse hives or flushing (redness), breathing difficulties such as wheezing, shortness of breath and throat swelling and lastly lightheadedness or very low blood pressure leading to circulatory collapse. The treatment for anaphylaxis is epinephrine and emergency medical care.
    If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
    Abraham Maslow

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Waco, Texas
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    Thank you for your replies, advice and experiences. They are greatly appreciated!

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,662

    Default Re: new to bees, never been stung, should I?

    JMHO, but you are being too cautious and are over-thinking it.

    If you have enough interest to read books and go to a bee club meeting, then you have enough interest to warrant buying a package of bees and a basic hive set up and start keeping bees.

    In other words, books and club meetings are fine, but there is nothing like the work, joy, frustration, and rewards of actually keeping bees. If it interests you, then you have to do it to know whether it is for you.

    In the unlikely event that it is not for you, then you can sell your hive.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

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
  •