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I've been told to get stung in order to not have an adverse reaction, about once a month , that toxins build up in us that adversely affect us from handling bees but not getting stung. I do not get stung often and some times I have a reaction some times just an itch. Doe anyone intentionally sting themselves for this. Are members of our family that come in contact with our gear trucks and stuff but do not get stung more susceptible to an event if stung?
 

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I don't try to get stung on purpose but work bare handed 90 % of the time. Some day I get hit 4 to 10 times on the hand and some not a sting. Will scrape the stinger out almost when it happens so not as bad as if it pumps all the poison. Years ago I was allergic to stings but as I age(71) it seems to have gone away.
 

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My wife was told by her parents that she was allergic to bee stings when she was young. So needless to say as an adult she had to push the evelope to see for sure. She went out, found one of the girls foraging, picked her up and made her sting her. Took about 5 min of agravating the bee but finally she got popped good. Found out for sure she wasn't allergic, just a little localized spot.

As for me, i've not ever done anything that blatant, but during each inspection it seems i get it good once some place. lol.. I've heard tell that if you are in contact with the gear and get the poison on you that you tend to be more prone to true allergic reactions. Michale Palmer talks about this in one of his videos. So for me and my family they will all have to get stung at some point to make sure..
 

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I have been working my bees without gloves the past few weeks. About half the time I get one sting. Two days ago, while in the middle of an inspection, the bees started stinging my hands rapidly. I had to retreat to get my gloves. i had ten stings on my hands before I could get out of the apiary. I've never experienced that before. They remain unpredictable to me. I remind myself that they are females.
 

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I have been working my bees without gloves the past few weeks. About half the time I get one sting. Two days ago, while in the middle of an inspection, the bees started stinging my hands rapidly. I had to retreat to get my gloves. i had ten stings on my hands before I could get out of the apiary. I've never experienced that before. They remain unpredictable to me. I remind myself that they are females.
Do you use a smoker? Smoking your hands can keep the bees from messing with your hands. Don't like the smell so they stay away. I smoke my hands, and my hive tool. They keep away from both of them.
 

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I keep hoping to get a sting on my right hand to see if it helps arthritis. So far I've gotten almost every place but. Monday on a swarm trap one climbed up my leg and got me behind the knee, and that's the only time I've had any significant welt or soreness.

Today I caught one on the nose, and had several tangle in my hair. Having heard that nose stings are bad, I'm surprised I barely feel it. But our mentor thought it was pretty funny until one got him on the forehead. His girls were in a bad mood today.

I'm just hoping I don't develop an allergy to them.
 

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I prefer to call it bee venom, not poison, as it has medicinal value (apitherapy). Bee venom also contains chemicals that are present in the human body.
Anyone wanting to get stung on purpose, could use a little ice first to chill the spot.

Keep in mind also that medications people take can result in reactions they might not have otherwise had. Add alcohol as something that may affect the reaction.
 

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I Sting myself two full stings once a month. That is the equivalent to the allergy shots that I used to get. After two years of the shots I got tired of waisting so much time going to to doc just to get a controlled sting and paying for it. It sure is strange to sting yourself though and I always feel bad for the bees. I do it on my upper arm.
 

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I get stung several times a week. Before I had my bees I believed that I was one of those people with an anaphylactic reaction to honey bees. Getting them hived (they were recalcitrant cut-outs) caused me to get stung 20-30 times in one awful event, through leather gloves, my bee suit over street clothes, etc. (The girls were NOT pleased with their new accomodations and my insistence that they stay in the ****ed boxes.) I kept anxiously checking in my pocket for my Epi-pen, but never used it.

Apparently whatever kind of bee that sent me to the ER with anaphylaxis years ago wasn't a honey bee, despite what my parents told me. (And this was decades ago as I am in my 60s now.) Pity is that I have been so cautious and anxious around honeybees over my whole lifetime- not to mention the annual cost of Epi-pens as I am a horticulturist/ vegetable farmer and always around foraging bees.

But, beyond the initial hot jolt, I have very little reaction at all to a sting. Occasionally a mild itchiness (nothing compared to our ever-present deer tick bites), and once when I got nabbed right on my index finger knuckle, a soreness and stiffness there for the next day or so. (I worried it might start an arthritic process there, but nothing came of it.)

I've been working my bees barehanded, more and more, and often don't use any smoke. In fact I haven't lit my smoker this season at all, despite doing deep inspections on all the hives. Working without gloves results in less bee-squashing and clumsy bumps and bangs so I think the bees stay calmer. I do keep the gloves in my pocket, though, as occasionally an over-zealous guard bee hasn't read the memo.

My biggest issue with the bees and stinging is that I have very long hair which I wear loose and they get tangled up in it almost every day, with unpleasant results, often when I've just gone down to check on them and not even to do anything to the hives. For that reason and because I really don't want to be stung near the eye I am trying to make myself wear a veil whenever I visit them.

I take no medication - nor do I use alcohol - so maybe that's why the stings don't bother me much.

I had never heard that bee venom on gear could be an allergen or trigger. I do wash my hive jacket separately from my regular clothes, but mostly because it gets filthy and needs a very high temp wash to get half-way presentable.

A year ago, if you had told me I'd be handling bees barehanded, I would have thought you insane. Who knew?

Enj.
 

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I think the rate is more like once a week, but I don't remember the precise threshold number. Too few will cause increase chances of allergies. I used to swell and itch and such for local reaction, now it just itches a little for a minute or five and no swelling at all, even with face stings. I get stung more than most though, I'd say I average about once a week at a minimum.
 

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So many people don't know what it means to be allergic to bee stings. When a child gets stung and their face swells or their hand swells beyond use the parents think that is an allergic reaction. It is not. Those are normal reactions, not needing a Doctor's care.
 

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Do you use a smoker? Smoking your hands can keep the bees from messing with your hands. Don't like the smell so they stay away. I smoke my hands, and my hive tool. They keep away from both of them.
Thanks for the above information. I always use a smoker, but I have not been smoking my hands. Thanks for the tip.
 

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We have a growing population of what my wife refers to as "helicopter" parents. They "hover" over their children. My oldest grandson, aged 12 at the time, was stung by a red wasp on our ranch. My daughter-in-law went ballistic and wanted to take him to the emergency room. She was so upset that my son was agreed with her. At that point, I stepped in and reminded them the emergency room was for emergencies and there was no emergency present. The grandson was bawling like a lost calf, but that is normal for children that see their parents in a panic. There was no excessive swelling, and the grandson only said that it hurt. Of course it hurts, that the reason for the sting. Anyway, they stayed home after my chiding them and relating that if everyone in Brown County went to the emergency room with every insect sting, there would need to be a traffic cop on duty at all times. People are just too concerned about stings.
 

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I think some reactions are blamed on the venom and may be more of a result of bacterial infection because the skin was penetrated. It doesn't hurt to wash the site of the sting and use an antiseptic when you are finished working your bees.
 

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If one gets several stings, an adult dose of benadryl will reduce the swelling and the itching. I only use it when I get multiple stings. Bee stings cause very little swelling on me and are not visible an hour later.
 

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Faster than ignoring the swelling and itching? Would you say that relief is relatively quick? Just about a month ago now a friend of mine had a brother, who doesn't work bees, visiting. He got stung near the eye and his face swelled quite a bit, almost shut. If I recall correctly. It wasn't until the next day that someone went to the pharmacy and got him some benadryl. There was visible swelling the day after that. So, was it really effective?

The way I understand things, crudely that is, is that the venom enters the body via penetration of a stinger, of course, and then it enters the blood stream where there is a reaction to the presence of a foreign substance. White blood cells in the blood stream latch onto the venom particles and carry it away. The white blood cells have to have the proper shaped receptor for the venom particle to fit into, a sort of key and lock mechanism.

If the key, the venom, won't fit into the lock, the white blood cell, then that is when a bodily reaction occurs causing swelling and itching and in some cases an allergic reaction which causes low blood pressure and anaphylactic shock characterized by the swelling and closing of the throat making breathing difficult, almost impossible. That's when a Doctor's attention is needed.
 

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I don't know if the benadryl helps or not. My internist recommended a dose of benadryl after being stung by bees or wasps. If I receive more than two stings, I take benadryl. If it is just one sting, I don't bother taking benadryl. I keep benadryl for my other family members, most of whom swell quite a bit from stings.
 

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Thanks for the above information. I always use a smoker, but I have not been smoking my hands. Thanks for the tip.
lazy, since I started back in 2011 I haven't used gloves during inspections. I don't smoke my hands before getting stung as a "sting preventative", I don't see the logic in doing so but if it works for some that's good with me. :) What I do is puff smoke on my hand where I get stung to reduce the change of a mass kamikaze attack. I don't think it's a case of the bees not liking the smell of the smoke on my hands but rather covering up the alarm pheromones that the stinger imparts. :scratch:

Smoke the sting locations...I think you'll like the results.

Ed
 

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Benadryl...

This is purely anecdotal, but... What I've experienced is that the quicker the benadryl is taken after a sting the better it works. To me, taking benadryl the following day seems to be a good bit too late.

I (thankfully) don't have bad reactions to stings. But, if I get several stings to a hand it can swell to a point that the knuckles are only slight high points and the valleys between them have filled mostly in. My hands don't do the "balloon hand" swelling, though. (For full disclosure purposes I will state that I haven't had a face sting yet so I don't know how that will go. :pinch: )

Anyhow...without benadryl the hand seems to swell more and the swelling stays for a day or so longer. Also, the wonderful ITCHING is more evident without benadryl. *With* benadryl the swelling doesn't seem to stay around that long and seldom do I have any itching. I will take a "shot" of children's liquid benadryl when I come in from the bee yard when swelling is normally just beginning about that time. It seems to nip it in the bud for me.

I have also on occasion taken a shot of benadryl *prior* to working my bees. This was when I intended to go deep into the hive and thus disturb the bees a good bit...creating a better chance of getting stung. In these instances I've actually had little problems after the fact with swelling or itching.

I only use benadryl occasionally these days. I don't recall using it this year, so far. But, if I had a bad day at the beeyard and got more than four or five stings to a hand I'd probably take a swig from the bottle when I got back to the house.

Interestingly, I was reading earlier about using benadryl/antihistamines for bee stings and most of the recommendations were for tablets rather than the liquid. I always thought the liquid was better in that it would enter the bloodstream faster. :scratch: I wonder if it might be that the only liquid benadryl that I've found is "childrens" strength and that adult strength benadryl only comes in tablet form????

Anyhow, those are a snapshot of my experiences...benadryl seems to help lessen my sting reactions...I like to have it around for the times the ladies are in a bad mood and don't act very ladylike. ;)

Ed
 
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