Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Taking Care of a Bee Sting

This is what a stinger of a worker bee looks
like up close!

No one likes to get stung by a bee, not even beekeepers! The truth is that honeybees don’t want to sting us either! Honeybees have a lot of work to get done in a very short amount of time. It will take about two million trips to flowers to produce one pound of honey! Not to mention the worker bees only live for about six weeks. Even though honeybees don’t want to sting, it still happens. So, lets take a look at what happens when a bee stings, and what to do if you get stung.

This is what a sting looks like right after it happens!

Only the queen bee and the worker bees can sting. The queen bee is the only bee in the hive that can sting multiple times. That is because her stinger is shaped like a needle and is completely smooth. That means when she stings, her stinger can't get stuck on anything. It is very unlikely to get stung by a queen bee because the rest of the bees in the hive are very protective of her and she rarely leaves the hive. Worker bees can only sting one time, and then they die. This is because they have a barb or hook on the end of their stinger that gets stuck in whatever the worker is stinging. Once her stinger is stuck, she will pull so hard that she will actually pull the insides of her abdomen out and die. She also leaves behind her venom sack, which continues to pump venom into whatever was stung. So what is the best thing to do if you get stung?

Here is what the correct way to remove
a stinger looks like!
Flick the stinger out with a finger nail or a credit card, don’t pinch at it with a tweezers or your fingers because that will force more venom into the sting. Next, ice the area where you were stung. If you are stung on the arm or leg, try to keep it elevated. Make sure to take off any jewelry from around the area as there might be some swelling that occurs. If the area starts to itch, use an antihistamine cream. Also, avoid scratching the area.

If you feel like you are having trouble breathing, your heart rate speeds up and/or your throat feels tight, find an adult and tell them right away! You could be allergic to bee stings. To be safe, tell an adult every time you get stung!