Bee Stings

Although known for their role in pollination and producing honey, bees can become a threat to homeowners when they build their hives near or inside homes. Bees are considered less dangerous than other stinging insects like wasps. In Indonesia, bees like honey bees and carpenter bees seldom sting unless they are provoked. However there are aggressive species such as the Africanized honey bees that will sting humans in large numbers, fortunately we’ve yet to spot any of them here.

Bee stings have the potential for an allergic reaction, resulting in anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical assistance and can even cause death.

Wasp Stings

Like the bee, a wasp sting is a form of defence. If wasps feel threatened or if their nest is disturbed it makes them very aggressive and provokes them to sting.

  • A sting by a social or common wasp (also known as a yellow jacket) is a painful experience. It can be very upsetting and frightening for young children.
  • Wasp stings may even be life threatening to people allergic to the poison in stings. This allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis.
  • People who have been stung several times previously and have become sensitised are more likely to suffer this systemic reaction.
  • The good news is that this type of allergic reaction is rare and it is even rarer for it to be fatal.
Kenapa lebah menyengat?

Bees are generally not very aggressive insects. If their nest is left undisturbed, most types of bees will not attack.

The main reason why bees sting humans is that they are afraid that humans will destroy their hives. When they feel that their nest is threatened by humans, the bees will release pheromones which become a panic signal for the entire swarm of bees in the hive to immediately defend their hive.

The best way to avoid dangerous bee stings is to avoid their nests. If you notice an increase in bee activity around certain areas of your house or yard, avoid going there and enlist the help of a bee extermiator to remove the existing beehives.

Tips to Avoid Stings

  • Do not panic - If you find there are wasps nearby keep calm and move slowly away.
  • Do not scream, flap your arms or swat them - This will just agitate them and make them more aggressive.
  • Avoid strong, sweet smells - Do not use highly perfumed fragrances, shampoos, hair sprays.
  • Avoid bright colours - Do not wear bright, bold floral patterns on clothes and bags, which could attract wasps.
  • Avoid orchards - Or any soft fruit plants and even uncovered bins, where wasps gather seeking food.
  • Avoid open drinks - If drink cans or bottles are left unattended, it may encourage wasps to crawl inside.
  • Cover food and drink - Always keep food and drink covered when eating outdoors to deter wasps.
  • Stay clean - Ensure children’s hands/faces are cleaned after eating sweet foods/drinks.
Bagaimana cara lebah menyengat?

Bees are not like other stinging insects such as wasps or hornets. Bees have a barbed stinger with a small hook at the end. When they sting their intended victim and fly away from their victim, the barb will stay in the victim's skin because the bees are unable to pull it back.

As soon as the bees sting their victim, the bees will die because they leave behind not only poison but also part of their digestive tract, along with muscles and nerves.

On the other hand, victims who are stung by bees will find the bee stinger still left behind and stuck to their skin. At the top of the bee's stinger there is a small yellowish pouch which functions to inject poison into the victim's body even after it has been released from the bee's body.

This is why removing the bee stinger left on the victim's skin is so important.

Symptoms of a bee sting

For most people, bee stings result in pain and swelling of the skin that is temporary for a few hours.

However, for some people who are allergic to bee stings, a bee sting reaction results in an anaphylactic reaction or a more serious reaction to the body's autoimmune system.

Below are some of the allergic symptoms that can be caused by a bee sting reaction:

  • Swelling around the throat, mouth or tongue
  • Hard to breath
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizzy
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

If you have an allergy to bee stings, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

How to treat a bee sting?

Here are some ways to treat bee stings:

  • If you experience any of the symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as swelling in your throat or a severe rash, you should seek immediate medical attention.
  • If the bee sting causes swelling on the skin, you can compress the bee sting with ice or cold flannel to reduce pain.
  • Make sure the bee sting marks have been cleaned and sterilized. Don't scratch it or don't clean it as this can cause an infection on your skin.
  • Take antihistamines or other pain relievers to reduce the swelling and pain that bees feel from bee stings.

If you find that a bee sting has caused an infection in your skin or pain and swelling that persists for days, seek medical attention immediately.

How to avoid bee stings?

Below are some ways to avoid bee stings, especially when you are in an outdoor area such as your yard or garden:

  • Don't hit the bees or throw objects at the beehive  – The bees will be more aggressive and will attack you if they feel threatened.
  • Don't shout, clap or try to hit them  – this will only annoy them and make them more aggressive.
  • Avoid going towards flowering plants or trees with ripe fruit  – because these are places where bees usually congregate to look for food.
  • Avoid spraying sweet and strong fragrances  - Do not use excessive fragrances, either perfume or shampoo and hair spray.
  • Avoid wearing brightly colored clothes  – Do not wear clothes with bright colors or floral patterns as they may attract bees.
  • If you are caught in or near a swarm of bees, stay calm and move slowly to get away.

Treatments for Wasp Stings

It is difficult to know how you might react to a wasp sting, if you have never been stung before. There are some practical things you can do to help with any pain you might feel

  • Use a cold compress such as an ice-pack or cold flannel.
  • Take painkillers to soothe any pain.
  • Take antihistamine tablets to reduce any swelling around the sting.
  • If you are in any doubt about a wasp sting please consult a doctor or medical professional.

If someone has the following symptoms after being stung, immediately call for an ambulance:

  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • vomiting
  • nausea or diarrhoea
  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • swollen face or mouth
  • problems swallowing

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