Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)
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  1. #1
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    Default Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    I want to take a poll. For those of you who wear full protection- suits/gloves, how many times have you gotten stung?

    3 years ago, I developed an allergy to honeybees through working my hive. At that time, I didn't wear protection all of the time, and I got stung time to time with no problem. But then I got stung on my face when I was pregnant, which is when I had my first reaction. Turns out, I am pretty allergic now, and although I am undergoing homeopathic shots and I've worked up to the equivalent of one bee sting in shots, anything more than that, my body does not handle well (actually had to get epi injection last time, when they gave me the equivalent of 2 stings

    I was really hoping to keep a hive this spring. Since I don't know what it is like to keep bees in full suit- I wanted to know- is it full proof? If you have gotten stung, how many stings?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Even with full suits on people get stung. If you are going to do this, you need a lifeguard to pour a big bottle of liquid benedryl down your throat to get you to the emergency room and ask your doc if a sting won't mess up your series of shots to desensitize you? I bet your insurance would refuse to pay for that if you have a problem.

  4. #3
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    My wife did her bee venom allergy shots for two years before she was stung again after a really bad reaction to yellow jackets. Even after the 2 years of shots she still had some stomach cramping and flushing. She has been stung by honey bees a handful of times since without much of a reaction except the occasional stomach cramps. Still worries the heck out of me everytime. We always have an epipen handy.

    If I were in your position I might wait another season to let the desensitization process to work. I don't think you can work bees and guarantee 100% no stings no matter what you do. Better safe than sorry.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    I have been stung thru my suite once. The other 5-10 times that I have been stung have been my own fault. I have had bees climb up my leg and sting me in the thigh 3 times now (I think) so I now wear gators to keep them out of my pants. I have had one get stuck in my beard and get me, and 2 get me when I was out at the hives without protective gear.

    This quote is correct"I don't think you can work bees and guarantee 100% no stings no matter what you do"

    Like everything else in life you have to weight the risk (getting stung) vs reward (honey, joy, pollination) of this action (beekeeping). You (and your family) have to decide what level of risk is acceptable and what is not. The people on this forum (and elsewhere) can provide opinions and recommendations but you have to decide if you still want to keep bees and what risk you are willing to accept.

  6. #5
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    Ask you doctor! They will know better. I am starting bee venom desensitization next month.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Capps View Post
    I am undergoing homeopathic shots
    Are you undergoing bee venom desensitization (by a MD or allergist) or actual homeopathic treatment? If the former, your doctor/allergist will be able to advise you on how to manage risk (which may include getting rid of your bees, depending on your response to treatment) and what to do if stung. If the latter...run for the hills. Homeopathy does not work (its nothing more than a glorified - and expensive - placebo), the "studies" they produce are generally garbage, its been shown time and time again to not work, with many of the claims they make often reaching the bar of legal fraud. If seeing a homeopath, the only thing you'll leave with is a lighter wallet.

    EDIT: forgot to add, if seeing a MD/allergist, they should also be able to advise you on what to do in the spring, prior to finishing your treatment course.
    Last edited by SuiGeneris; 02-04-2019 at 06:21 AM.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    Are you undergoing bee venom desensitization (by a MD or allergist) or actual homeopathic treatment?
    That was my first thought as well. I appreciate that certain things can be managed homeopathically, but I absolutely would not risk my life when it came to venom desensitization. I strongly urge you to contact an allergist for further guidance.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    I am going to an MD that practices evidence-based medicine. My understanding is while treatment by an allergist for venom desensitization takes a long time to complete, the risk of anaphylaxis is reduced very quickly (in a matter of months). Alex Madsen

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Capps View Post
    I am undergoing homeopathic shots
    Are you undergoing bee venom desensitization (by a MD or allergist) or actual homeopathic treatment? If the former, your doctor/allergist will be able to advise you on how to manage risk (which may include getting rid of your bees, depending on your response to treatment) and what to do if stung. If the latter...run for the hills. Homeopathy does not work (its nothing more than a glorified - and expensive - placebo), the "studies" they produce are generally garbage, its been shown time and time again to not work, with many of the claims they make often reaching the bar of legal fraud. If seeing a homeopath, the only thing you'll leave with is a lighter wallet.

    EDIT: forgot to add, if seeing a MD/allergist, they should also be able to advise you on what to do in the spring, prior to finishing your treatment course.
    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    Are you undergoing bee venom desensitization (by a MD or allergist) or actual homeopathic treatment?
    That was my first thought as well. I appreciate that certain things can be managed homeopathically, but I absolutely would not risk my life when it came to venom desensitization. I strongly urge you to contact an allergist for further guidance.



    I think I miss-spoke, sorry, to clarify, I am seeing an actual allergist receiving venom shots. Thanks, I realize the decision to keep bees is between me and family and doc, but factoring into that the effectiveness of a full bee suit- that is the question.
    My friend who has a full suit for 5 years has only been stung one partial time from bending down and squishing a bee. Since I am getting shots up to one sting now, I can handle that, if it happens. But I cannot base my judgment on one friend. My question- a poll, how often does a person get stung through a full suit?

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Capps, I’d find another hobby. How often you get stung depends on how careful you are and how fortunate you are and whether you forget to zip occasionally and how aggressive your bees are and whether you lay on your back underneath a mobile home removing a hive or knock the top off a trap that you are just puttin’ in the back of a truck or just take a quick peek at the entrance or forget your smoker or bend your knee a little too tight or take your glove off to answer your phone or get your keys or take your veil off a little too soon while driving away or pick your suit up off the back seat barehanded the next day. I’ve been stung a couple of thousand times. There’s a couple of stings I still remember. Most I don’t notice. But I use a sheriff’s jacket, not a full suit.
    David

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    I only have a few hives of gentle bees in my backyard and always suit up when inspecting, but I did get stung from time to time during the past 4 years. Not through the suit yet, but when removing it (by a bee perching on the back), when stepping on a bee perching on my garden sandal, and etc. If I develop really bad allergy against bee stings, I would probably be content with just keeping mason bees and leaf cutter bees, and watching somebody else’s honey bees visiting my flower garden.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Capps View Post
    I think I miss-spoke, sorry, to clarify, I am seeing an actual allergist receiving venom shots. Thanks, I realize the decision to keep bees is between me and family and doc, but factoring into that the effectiveness of a full bee suit- that is the question.
    My friend who has a full suit for 5 years has only been stung one partial time from bending down and squishing a bee. Since I am getting shots up to one sting now, I can handle that, if it happens. But I cannot base my judgment on one friend. My question- a poll, how often does a person get stung through a full suit?
    Glad to hear you're getting real medicine. Again, I'd talk to your allergist about this to see what he/she recommends. A "real" sting may set back your therapy &/or represent a potentially serious medical event - or it may not. I don't use a full suit (I use a jacket + hood) and am pretty new, but I have been stung once by a bee that found its way in through an imperfectly-closed zipper. My fault, obviously, but it goes to show that user error may be a bigger risk than the "theoretical" protection offered by a suit.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    I had not heard of keeping mason or leaf cutter bees. Thank you for the idea.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuro View Post
    I only have a few hives of gentle bees in my backyard and always suit up when inspecting, but I did get stung from time to time during the past 4 years. Not through the suit yet, but when removing it (by a bee perching on the back), when stepping on a bee perching on my garden sandal, and etc. If I develop really bad allergy against bee stings, I would probably be content with just keeping mason bees and leaf cutter bees, and watching somebody else’s honey bees visiting my flower garden.
    I had not heard of keeping mason or leaf cutter bees. Thank you for the idea.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    Glad to hear you're getting real medicine. Again, I'd talk to your allergist about this to see what he/she recommends. A "real" sting may set back your therapy &/or represent a potentially serious medical event - or it may not. I don't use a full suit (I use a jacket + hood) and am pretty new, but I have been stung once by a bee that found its way in through an imperfectly-closed zipper. My fault, obviously, but it goes to show that user error may be a bigger risk than the "theoretical" protection offered by a suit.
    Yeah, I've had the occasional sting. Good point- I"ll ask if an actual sting is any different from the venom given. You know, I learned they extract the venom from real bees, one bee at a time which is interesting.

  17. #16
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    Again, talk to your allergist Dr. Mine says I can keep bees during desensitization but strongly recommend wearing a suite going forward to reduce chances of sting.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Capps View Post
    Yeah, I've had the occasional sting. Good point- I"ll ask if an actual sting is any different from the venom given. You know, I learned they extract the venom from real bees, one bee at a time which is interesting.
    I think we may have found the most tedious job ever!

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    I have been mentoring a fellow beek for a couple years. One evening he helped me move a hive.

    We were done moving the hive and on the way home when he was stung in the ear by a hitch hiking honey bee. It was dark in the car but I could see him scratching his neck and face and I could hear him constantly clearing his throat and struggleing a little to breath. By the time we got home, his face was red and swelling, eyes were puffy and red and he was having some problems breathing and itching all over. I was ready to employ my epipen (on hand for others, I am not allergic so far), gave him 4 Benadryl and suggested to his wife that she take him to the ER right away. He/they refused the epipen and wouldn’t go to the hospital. He went home and took several more benedryl during the night. He survived but I worried all night. I truly worried all night that I might have killed my friend.

    I should have just Used the epipen and hauled him, kicking and screaming, to the hospital. He turned out to be Ok but is was really close call. He admitted later that it really scared him.

    I also suggested to both him and his wife that he get rid of his bees and not take a chance because the next sting might be lethal. He refuses to. He is now taking allergy shots and he wants me to continue to help him.

    I told him and his wife that I am not helping anymore, allergy shots or not, as I want nothing to do with possibly contributing to his demise. They think I am over-reacting.

    Maybe this is just natural selection occurring before my eyes??

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    Quote Originally Posted by orthoman View Post
    I truly worried all night that I might have killed my friend.
    You're being too hard on yourself. You're forgetting the BEES and your friend's free will.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Will keeping bees this spring kill me (before I finish my allergy shots?)

    I bought a full suit before I began work with my mentor on his hives.
    I was stung once in the back of the head as I bent over to look into the frames.
    The discomfort eased quickly, due in part I believe, to the many fire ant bites I have received in the past decade.

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