Stings – variations in reactions

This thread is intended to gather reports about occasions when stings hurt and don’t hurt. Maybe we will see a pattern emerge if we pool our experiences.

A couple of weeks ago I had a couple of stings in my unprotected wrist. The reaction was severe.

Today a couple of bees got inside my visor somehow and stung me on the face. I had to close up the hive, and there were lots of guard bees trying to get me, so there was no possibility of taking the bee suit off and doing anything quickly. I just had to get on with the job and it was over half an hour before the stings could be removed from my face. So, two full doses. But, almost no reaction: one doesn’t even itch.

So I’m wondering what the pattern is here. I see various factors which could account for this:

  • The nasty / not so nasty stings were from different hives. Might be a genetic variation in venom.
  • I think young bees don’t have fully developed venom glands. Perhaps these ones that stung my face were young. I can get their bodies out of the kitchen bin… how does one tell the age of a bee?
  • Position of sting on body. An immunologist told me that if the venom goes into a vein, it goes straight to the heart and that is Bad. However this does not account for the almost complete lack of swelling or itching around where the “nice” stings were.
  • I took Piriton (antihistamine) after the nasty stings because I was feeling maddening itching in palms and soles of feet. This medication was after the reaction began, but i wonder if it made the effects last longer. I did not have a chance to take anything for the ones on my face, and they don’t seem to need it now.
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4 Responses to Stings – variations in reactions

  1. Hello what was the outcome ?

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  2. Paul says:

    It’s three years on. I still don’t know why some stings hurt more than others. I do know, now, that the itching in my hands mentioned above was an anaphylcatic reaction – basically, a reaction in a location where you have not been stung – which is Bad News, because it can escalate.
    I got another anaphylactic reaction and was put on a bee venom desensitisation course which is near its end. I now carry an epipen Just In Case. I am very careful not to upset my bees – which is helped by the way I have learned and changed my techniques – and get far fewer stings now.

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  3. Lindylou says:

    Do you know the plant greater celandine? It is a useful plant to let grow very close to your hives. If stung you can rub any part of this plant hard all over the sting area. It seems to nullify the effect. As does bicarbonate of soda. Had you eaten anything more sour the day the stings were less bad? Maybe if you overall body acidic range was high the stings were less invasive… Just a thought. Like if we eat a great deal of sweet stuff midges and fleas etc. seem more intent on doing us bodily harm than if we swig apple cider vinegar regularly….

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  4. Paul says:

    We have plantain near the hives to feed the bees, and I understand it is also good rubbed on stings. I’ll look into greater celandine, thank you for the tip!

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