Reaction to sting

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New Bee
Apr 6, 2009
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I am very new to beekeeping and this is my first post. Started a beginners course in January and got my first nuc last week which is going very well indeed.
I have only had the two episodes were I have been stung, first time on the finger, getting stung 3times it swelled up massively and seeped for about 4 days.
Second time, yesterday, when I was stung between the nose and the lip, just one sting this time but very swollen and some seeping.

My questions are, is this normal, will my reaction to stings lessen as I get more and is there some way I can reduce my reaction to bee stings?

See photo of last sting.
A sting on the lip can swell dramatically. And the danger there is if the throat or tongue get involved. If THIS happens then get an ice cube in the mouth quickly and go to a hospital. But otherwise just don't look in a mirror for a day- or talk to small children!!:svengo:

But normally , yes there is swelling - thats why I NEVER wear a ring when in the hives. Fingers can swell - rings then get too tight and need to be cut off - if a bad reaction.
But it does get better - I had some dodgy swollen fingers- but now seem to be reducing- and can I ask why the sting on the face- were you in the hives- ? veil?

I have also found that wearing tracky bottoms over trousers stops all stings to the lower half- wellies are good- but I put the elasticated ends OVER the wellies as bees love to investigate ankles:(

We all learn by experience - all left gaps where bees got in - you dont usually do it twice.
Never pull a sting out- you push more venom in - scrape the sting away from point of entry - and ice cubes on a sting site- and a vodka for you ( well, thats my poison)

Welcome to beekeeping, the forum and a lovely new 'hobby - obsession'

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Thank you Heather, I was just enjoying watching the bees working from about 10ft when when tried to fly up my nose, hence no veil.
At the moment I look like Ivy Tilsley, so I guess I will take your advise and say away from young children.
I was painting hive parts with Cuprinol this morning about 15ft away from them and they went wild buzzing round me and stinging me 3 times on the ear and burrowing into my hair. I have taken anti-histamines, which reduces the swelling.
I was painting hive parts with Cuprinol this morning about 15ft away from them and they went wild buzzing round me and stinging me 3 times on the ear and burrowing into my hair. I have taken anti-histamines, which reduces the swelling.

Yes, they don't seem to like Cuprinol. I had the same thing a few weeks back - mine were good enough to give me a fly by warning, so I didn't actually get stung, but I retreated to the other end of the garden to finish my Cuprinol painting! :)
Sorry to hear about that sting reaction but it is interesting how a reaction can vary, I was stung 5+ times earlier this year even on the forehead and other than a little pain for 30min it was not a problem - these stings got left in too. After that period I doubled up on most hive checks now with 2 layers of material and even wear a beanie hat to protect my head. Having said that two weeks ago one managed to get through on my arm and it blew up around my muscle tissue, was in pain for days, I just wonder if bee stings from different colonies can be of different strengths?

No real pain for me just a lot of swelling, currently dribbling when drinking my tea.
Stings do seem to vary in their effect, other than the usual decline in reaction as your body gets used to them. Does anyone else find that the painful ones tend to be when more bees are at home - and so you are getting stung by older bees?

Should there not be a number on the bottom of this photo?:)

I have been sting a number of times over the last couple of years and they all seem to be a little different in how I react. I managed to make a kerf cut (thanks Hivemaker) in my thumb when I was 17 and the top is now made up of scar tissue, I was stung there last year and the swelling made all the old tissue come to the top and be replaced with new softer scar tissue. I was stung on the knuckle of the thumb this year and it travelled down into my hand and up my arm to the elbow, I took some anti-histamines and I was fine. I still felt it in the tendons of hard a week or so latter.

I'm going to get some of these cold packs you just break to have in my box and carry some anti-histamines as well.

Can I just say that lip is huuuuuuuuuuge lol. The face and hands are the worse place to get stung I think. As mentioned take some antihistamine like piriton it helps with the itchiness of it. :cheers2:
I hardly react at all to getting stung on the hands. It's near the eye I worry about.
I just wonder if bee stings from different colonies can be of different strengths?

from what i have found i think bees do give differant stings, some seem to pump loads straight in and others just dont, it makes you wonder if they can control it , the pump sac that is and what it does.

you can be bitten by an adder but some times it does not inject its vemom
my biggest concern is the neck up, i would never work a hive without a veil on, i have do in the past and have paid for it in pain so no any more, and apart from somewhere three foot lower down i have found the lip to be the most painfull place tpo be stung
How did you get stung 3 foot lower down ? ... what were you doing ? :ack2: :confused::) :svengo:
He was obviously making the next super video on AI and the british superbee:cheers2:
it was called being very young/stupid/brash/muppet to much ale the night before and not wanting to go to far away as i had many inspections to get through before i went home and recovered, and it actual posistion of sting was near the base not the tip and if you have ever seen a spring lamb leap about when you put the tail rings on apparently i was doing the same. my mentor was stung over 30 times that day because he fell over laughing and set four hives over at the same time, since then i have never tried to urinate whilst beekeeping
:) wow, you hear stories and wonder if they can be true, hope you smile looking back on that one.
Over 200 stings

Two months into beekeeping and I was attending the local BKA apiary for some hands on experience.
My adviser never turned up on that Sunday and it was really sweltering hot that day. So I decided not to wear my wellies.
As I was the only member present I thought in for a penny in for a pound.

Unbeknown to me the apiary manager had passed the message round that No 2 hive was extremely lively. No I did not get that message.

Smoked the colony and waited two mins. then off with the roof, crown board and just as I was teasing the QE off they attacked. I was covered all over my head, arms and yes you guessed it around my ankles.
I shut up shop and replaced everything except the bees, and ran into a thicket. I did not get stung on the body except for my ankles which at that time were agonisingly painful.

That evening my legs began to swell up so my wife took me to hospital as eventually I could not put any pressure on my legs as the skin had become taught with the swelling.

After 201 stings had been removed by the doctor he said he was now giving
up on counting.

I was kept in over night and released the following day.

Now if I get stung its itchy for about half an hour then nothing.