Northants Bee Keepers Association

Northamptonshire Beekeepers' Association (NBKA) Registered Charity No. 295593


Northants Bee Keepers Association

Copyright © NBKA 2007-2018

Northants Bee Keepers Association

A member organisation representing beekeepers in the County of Northamptonshire

The Sting


Honey bees can sting, but usually only in defence. The severity of the reaction to a sting is related to the amount of venom injected, and this is directly related to the time the sting remains in the flesh. So it is important that the sting is removed as quickly as possible. It has been demonstrated that the method of removal is less important than the speed with which it is done. The conventional advice is to scrape it out with a finger nail. Apply an ice pack or calamine lotion to soothe the affected part. Antihistamine Cream can be obtained from a Chemist shop. This will help reduce itching.


Most people show little reaction to stings apart from swelling and irritation. Rarely, an individual may be hypersensitive and will need urgent medical attention. When the reaction is severe, intense skin irritation is followed by difficulty in breathing and loss of consciousness (anaphylactic shock).


If collapse follows being stung, a doctor and ambulance should be called immediately. Similarly, stings near the eye or inside the mouth (especially in young children) should receive immediate medical attention.


Remember bee stings are to a great extent ignored by beekeepers in their thousands throughout the world, since they suffer no ill effects from them. They are even reputed to be good for rheumatism!. The record for sustained stings is 2243! The victim made a full recovery.