Bee Sting

A bee sting is a most common occurrence when people are outdoors. Some of the bees make homes in our homes and surroundings. They feed on the nectars and pollens of the flower in our garden. The most frequent stings that take place outside are those from honey bees. Except when disturbed or when she believes her life is in danger, a honey bee will rarely strike while foraging for nectar or pollen away from the hive. Moreover, honeybees will go out of their way to find a threat to the hive and sting it.

Although it is a common misconception that a worker honey bee can only sting once, the stinger is barbed so that it lodges in the victim's skin, tearing loose from the bee's abdomen and killing it in minutes. However, this only occurs if the victim's skin is sufficiently thick, like a mammal's.

Some people find it challenging to spend time outdoors because they have a phobia of bee stings despite never having been hurt by one. Also, some of the folks are allergic to bee stings and worry a lot about getting stung. Several different species of bees have the potential to sting, including honeybees, paper wasps, and yellow jackets. Their venom, which is present in their stings, can cause allergic responses, irritated skin, and itching.

Bee Sting: Causes

Bees stung their stings into the skin of persons and release venom. Bees mainly contain melittin, histamine, and other amines. This chemical when comes in contact with the skin can cause allergy, irritation, itchiness, etc. Honey bee products are used in treating many diseases too like arthritis.

Honey is one of the few products that are available on the earth that doesn’t have an expiry date. So, there are pros and cons of bees. Bee stings can cause an allergic reaction in some people who may have mild, moderate, and severe symptoms depending upon their immune system.

Bee Sting: Symptoms

The patient who has been bitten by a bee mainly presents with the following symptoms that may range from mild, moderate to severe and can include −

  • Redness of the skin.

  • A pimple-like bump that is raised due to a sting.

  • Swelling at the site of the sting.

  • Instant and sharp burning at the spot of bite.

  • Some of the bites may result in skin reactions like itchiness, hives, etc.

  • Allergic reactions in some people may show symptoms like throat pain, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Some of the severe reactions can raise blood pressure and may result in dizziness or even fainting.

  • People with multiple bee stings can have all the above symptoms and may require immediate doctor intervention and hospitalization.

Bee Sting: Risk Factors

Several factors play an important role in the risk of getting a bee bite. Bee bite is a common occurrence in the villages and outdoors. When people want to spend time with their families outdoors the chances of getting bitten by a bee increase. Some of the risk factors are mentioned below −

  • If you are spending time outside more for playing or picnicking.

  • Bee hives are more in number in your houses.

  • You are involved in honey production.

  • Not wearing protection gear while dealing with bees.

  • Travelling to the forest for adventure.

  • If you are allergic to bee stings.

  • You have very sensitive skin.

Bee Sting: Diagnosis

The diagnosis of a bee sting is not very necessary for normal people who do not show allergic reactions. The sting will get treated automatically over a couple of days. However, if you are allergic your doctor may conduct a few diagnostic tests.

  • Physical examination. Examining the bee sting and its reaction on the skin. The wound and bulging may be examined for the severity of the sting.

  • Blood test. Some pathological tests may be conducted to see if there is any increase in antibodies in the bloodstream. The response to bee venom may be checked by blood tests.

  • Skin tests. In this, a small amount of bee venom is injected into the skin within a controlled environment to see the effect of venom on the skin.

Your doctor may also conduct a to see whether you are allergic to any other species of bees.

Bee Sting: Treatment

The treatment is based on the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor may advise any of the following methods of treatment.

  • For mild cases, homecare treatment is quiet enough like cleaning the area with soap and taking out the sting to not allow the venom to be carried to the blood. Also, apply ice may help or some antiseptic cream.

  • Epinephrine (EpiPen). Some of the patients may require this adrenaline shot at all times immediately after a bee sting. These shots open airways and help in stabilizing blood pressure.

  • Oxygen. Some of the severe symptoms of bee stings may cause breathlessness and artificial oxygen is required to be given.

  • Intravenous antihistamines. This helps the immune system to calm down and reduces allergy symptoms in the body.

  • IV and oral corticosteroids. This helps to reduce the inflammation level in the body. This help to regulate a lot of biological processes in the body.

Bee Sting: Prevention

Some of the preventive measures that can help to prevent bee sting symptoms include −

  • Try to remove the stinger, the stinger carries the venom of the bee and if it is removed there are fewer chances of infection.

  • Wash the area with soap and try to clean it properly.

  • Do not go near beehives. If at all try to cover your body properly or wear a suit.

  • If you are working in the bee industry always carry EpiPen. This may help you in cases of multiple bites.

  • Understand your allergic reaction and be prepared for it.

  • Avoid wearing floral prints cloth. Bee searches for flowers and pollen these might attract them.

  • Do not allow bees to make a home inside your home.

  • Try to remove the bee hives by burning incense or other methods.

  • Keep windows closed while driving through forests or remote areas.

  • Always wear full clothing when spending time outdoors.

  • Do not worry or play with bees as they bite for their defense.

  • Do not panic on seeing a bee, try to remain calm it might not bite you.


Bee stings are normal and each one of us has experienced the pain of bee stings. The honey bee is the most common bee that sting. They provide us with honey which is a very important and essential part of our life.

Bees do sting when afraid or to save their home and the bad thing is although the person or animal who has been stung survives the bee may lose his life. Bees carry venom in their stings and when they bite they release the toxin which may cause skin irritation, itchiness, pimple-like budge, etc.

Bee stings are not severe, and the pain will go away in a couple of days, however, if a person is allergic to bee stings, he may experience several symptoms. Bee stings may be prevented by following normal protocols.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 21-Apr-2023


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