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If you become a beekeeper you will, at some time, get stung by your bees – remember they are wild animals. Honey bees tend only to sting if they feel they or their nests are threatened. They do not like strong smells such as perfume or alcohol.


When a honey bee stings, it leaves its sting, venom sac and venom pump in your ski and the bee then dies. It is important to remove the sting quickly and carefully to reduce the venom. The best way to do this is to scratch out the sting with a fingernail - do not pull it out between two fingers as this will pump more venom into your body. The bee also releases a pheromone when it stings so it is a good idea to smoke the area, or apply wasp-eeze to mask the pheromone. The chemical that makes a bee sting itch is called mellitin.

Different people have different reaction to bee stings. For some it may be a slight reddening of the skin but for others a larger swelling may appear. Anti-histamines can be taken to reduce swelling, but you should consult your GP first in case of a possible interaction with any other medication which is already taken.

Some people have severe allergic reactions to stings – anaphylaxis (generalised shock including difficulty with breathing, hives, etc etc). You may experience an allergic reaction even if you have been stung before without having significant problems. Therefore, if you are stung, be aware of your body’s reaction and call for help if needed.

If the case of an anaphylactic shock, contact the emergency services immediately.

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