Bees are a vital part of a healthy ecosystem, and they are essential for agriculture too. That does not mean you want them building a nest near your home. Bees and wasps can be territorial, and you may find yourself the victim of a bee sting despite your best efforts to avoid them. Here’s what to do if that happens.
The most crucial thing to do after you are stung by a bee is to avoid panicking. That’s often easier said than done. Bee stings hurt, and they come as a surprise. However, staying calm means you can respond quickly and in the best way possible.
If you have accidentally disturbed a nest, it is best to swiftly but calmly remove yourself from the general area. Honey bees can only sting once before dying, but other types of bees and wasps can sting multiple times. Wasps will sometimes bite as well.
Bees and wasps may give chase if they feel their home is being threatened, which is part of why it is so essential that you leave the area. Africanized honeybees, an invasive species that can be found here in California, are particularly aggressive.
Seek Appropriate Medical Treatment
While unpleasant, most bee stings are relatively minor injuries. If you do not have a known allergy and have a mild reaction, follow these steps:
- Examine the area to make sure the stinger is gone.
- If the stinger remains, it should be easy to remove by scraping over the area with a fingernail. We do not recommend using tweezers, as squeezing the stinger could release more venom.
- With the stinger gone, wash the area with soap and water.
- Ice the area to reduce swelling and take an over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen or acetaminophen too.
A moderate reaction might take the form of increased swelling and itchiness that lasts for several days. If you are experiencing a moderate reaction, consider taking an antihistamine like Benadryl. You can also apply hydrocortisone cream. Pay careful attention to ensure the response is not worsening.
If you have a known allergy, always carry your epinephrine kit with you and use it right away. Go to a hospital as soon as possible. If you are experiencing a severe reaction for the first time, get to a hospital. Depending on the severity of your response to the sting and how rapidly your symptoms are starting, call 911. Anaphylaxis is potentially fatal. It needs to be treated with the seriousness that it deserves.
If you’re worried about bees or wasps around your home or business, contact Sorenson Pest Control today. We can help you safely remove any unwanted nests around your home, so you can have peace of mind.