North Bucks Beekeepers' Association -

Bee stings

Stings do hurt - some people find them more painful than others. By taking reasonable precautions and sensible operating procedures, stinging incidents can be mostly avoided. Over time most beekeepers develop an immunity to stings. It is claimed that bee stings alleviate rheumatism and arthritis. If one is stung while working with bees it is a good idea to blow smoke on the affected area - the sting leaves a chemical smell which encourages other bees to sting the same area, smoke prevents this (to some extent!).

Some colonies of bees will rarely sting, but some others can be quite aggressive. It does seem to vary according to their ancestry. Replacing the queen with one from known placid stock can result in better behaved bees.

First aid. Stings should be removed as soon as possible. Avoid squeezing the sac, as this injects more venom. Instead, scrape off the sting with a sharp edge.