Bees are very important in nature. They are 'pollinators', which means they carry pollen from one flower to another to make sure that new plants will grow. They also produce honey which we can use.
We need to protect the bees in order to make sure that certain plants keep reproducing, but it can happen that you get stung by one. Bees will not just sting you, because most of them will die if they sting you. It is just their protection mechanism, so if they feel threatened, you may get stung.
If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone.
There are many different kinds of bees and the most well known one is the 'honeybee'.
Wasps are close relatives to bees and they do not only feed on pollen and honey, but also on spiders and animal food. They can also sting you. The two most well known wasps are
Bald-faced hornets are black with white markings, and they build papery nests shaped like footballs in trees and shrubs.
Yellow jackets have yellow and black stripes on their bodies and are smaller than hornets and honeybees. They make their nests in the ground or in old tree stumps.
If you have ever been stung by a bee or a wasp, you will know it is painful and itches and burns a lot. You will see a red bump on your skin, which has a white ring around it and many times you will still see the stinger sticking inside your skin.
Many bees can sting more than once, because they can pull out their stinger, but some bees die once they have stung you.
If you were stung, you need to tell somebody immediately. Some people are allergic, and even if you showed no reaction the first time, you can get allergic without you even knowing it. Most people only find out they are allergic after they were stung once.
If you are allergic you will get red patches on your skin and will have difficulty breathing. You need to get to a doctor as soon as possible.
If you know you are allergic and carries an 'antihistamine' with you, you need to inject yourself or drink the pill as soon as possible.
If you are not allergic, you will just feel a burning sensation and you can do the following:
- If the stinger is still stuck in your skin, you need to remove it as quickly as possible. Read more here how to do it.
Some say it needs to be scraped out to avoid squeezing more venom into the skin. Others say just grab and pull. You probably don't care about the controversy so much and just want to know the best way to remove it. The best way to remove a bee stinger is to pull it out, or brush it off, or scrape it off.
- Wash the area with soap and water and put some ice on it.
- You can ask your parents for some ointment that helps for the itching or pills that will help for the pain.
If the swelling and redness do not go away or it gets worse, you must reader go to the doctor for the correct antihistamine.
Sometimes we do not provoke the bee, but we step on it by accident or go and sit on one, so bee stings can happen without you knowing about it, you will just feel it....
Try and prevent bee stings by
- wearing shoes outside
- not wearing perfume that smells very sweet
- not disturbing the nest of wasps or bees
- checking your soda can before you drink from it when you are outside
- being careful around garbage cans, because bees and wasps will try and find food there.
If a bee or wasp flies around you, just stay calm. If you keep swatting at it, you will make it feel threatened and it will sting you.
Team South Africa banner designed by @bearone