Odd Reaction to Sting

mulchwoman(metuchen,nj)August 26, 2005


On Monday I was stung on the back of my hand by something. I didn't see what stung me, jerked my hand away==I don't think whatever it was was finished stinging yet as there was no stinger or anything. It hurt like blazes, but there was no systemic reaction or anything like that. The next day, the back of my hand really swelled up and hurt and itched. Wednesday I called the Dr. as the area was swollen and very red. And very itchy. By Wed night, the swelling was down considerably, but the itching was persisting. I didn't bother going to the Dr. as the redness and swelling had diminished so much. Today I have a rash in that area==it is still itching and has a bruised look to it. I seriously doubt if a honeybee could do this.

Any ideas out there?

Thanks in advance for your help.


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amymcg(z5 MA)

Probably a hornet or yellow jacket. Sounds like a regular normal reaction to a sting.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 3:08PM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

and besides a honeybee sting has a stinger left behind.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 8:54PM
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I had the same exact reaction...minus the rash. It was a hornet...nasty beasts. It wasn't as bad as it could've been because I immediately put ammonia on it (neutralizes the acid injected by the insect) followed by ice on and off all day for two days. Baking soda paste works too.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 7:46PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Last week, was my first encounter with the "beasts" - I think living in my compost pile. When I stirred up the pile, about 4 or so - attacked me with several stings about my face and forehead. My face looked like treatment with Botox - for several days (no wrinkles!).

As I keep honey bees, at first I thought my own fairly docile creatures were the culprits. But as I read articles on the Internet, found that yellow jackets build nests in the ground.

At first, I was tempted to rid myself of the bee hive, but hated to as I am getting a fair amount of honey from them on a regular basis, and they are doing a good job of pollination here.

My big concern is that one of these nasty "jackets" will sting a neighbor, and of course my honey bees will surely be "suspect."

I have a mountain of clippings to be run through my shredder and need new compost for my fall planter beds, so I am kind of at a cross road as to how to proceed.

I have bee gear to deal with the "jackets" but need to resolve this soon. Some of the on-line literature suggests that colder weather will resolve the issue - as the jacket colony will die out and only the queen will be left to start another colony in the spring. However, we don't get freezing weather here, and not sure if this applies.

Those stings really hurt, but I applied the same treatment as susanzone5, baking soda, and ice.

As some old tales suggest, bee keepers become immune to stings --- soon I hope.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 12:46PM
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If the rash continues you MAY have a bacterial infection. If so, GO SEE THE DOCTOR. You can do irreprable damage to your skin/hand if it is left untreated. Simple antibiotics will clear it up.

Also, many doctors believe multiple stings can make you MORE alergic, not less.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 4:37PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I've got stung by hornets (not yellow jackets, these guys are littler and black mostly, with only just a touch of yellow) twice this summer and it did that to me too. Once on the hand like yours. it took 5 days to go away. Then this last weekend, on the side of the knee. I couldn't even bend my knee for a day or so, now three days later, it's really starting to go down but still really itchy. I found the nest, it's inside the house, and they are crawling underneath the siding.I couldn't see it from inside the attic. So tonight after dark, I'm going to go outside and pump their crawling area full of bug killer. Good luck with yours, but I'd spray them with pyretherins at night.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 8:29PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

sandy - do you know what these smaller black things are?

That sounds like the description of the critter that fell out of my shirt after being stung. As I didn't get a good look at what was stinging me, I just assumed it to be my own bees (Italians) or YJ's. Also they seemed to come out of the compost pile - so that would have fitted the in-ground breeders.

The dark bee that fell out of my shirt appeared to be a smaller Midnight bee - rather than the larger Italians that I have.

As you may have guessed - I am still in a quandry about what really stung me.

My strategy was to make a YJ trap. I took a liter size Pepsi bottle and cut off the top - just below the top bulge, reversed the piece into the bottle, placed a piece of hamburger and some fruit juice - in the bottom, with the idea that they would climb in and not get out.

For good measure, tho, I carried a can of "Raid" (sorry about that) and hit one as it targeted me a 3rd time (was wearing my bee hat and veil tho).

So far, no further attacks, but I did move my composting shredder away from the hives, just in case.

Really don't care to get stung again for sure!!


    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 10:13AM
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mayflwrhem(z6-7 MAcoast)

scotkight - I am kind of afraid you might be right about repeated stings making you more allergic - at least in my case. My Italians started out fairly docile but by the next year ('04) I think they had bred with the wild ones (requeening with Carniolans didn't take) and they have become much more aggressive. In '03 and before, stings didn't bother me a bit, barely even had a red mark. Last year I got 3 stings in my arm and it blew up, turned red, hurt like heck and felt hot - had to get on prednisone and wasted $200 at the emergency clinic. I am currently almost completely neglecting my bees because they have gotten so vicious and I'm afraid I'll have a terrible reaction - one always seems to manage to find a way into my outfit somehow. I have to bring an epipen out with me when I work the hive. Anyone got suggestions? I'm wondering if I should kill the hive and start again with a new package or just give up. I lost a second hive in late March just as I thought it had made it through the winter, and didn't bother restarting it.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 1:02AM
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bandit_tx(z7-8 TX)

Actually, you maybe completely wrong. Most people that have an extreme reaction to a sting will react on the first or second sting. In my case, I had the swelling and itching the first 2-3 times. After that, I hardly react at all to a sting. Repeated stings are likely to immunize you in many cases, just like taking allergy shots. My worst case was 40 stings in the head and neck (brush hogging). The swelling lasted two days on steriods. After that, no reaction at all to stings. Don't assume it will get worse. There really isn't a pattern you can base that on. Yes, I'm a beekeeper.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 8:41AM
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To bandit's point, the severity of reaction can go in either direction, even in the same person. Some people will become less sensitive with repeated stings over time. This is the most common scenario and is what most beekeepers and people, who use apitherapy, experience. But, some people will become more sensitive, up to and including having a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. The two patterns can even happen in the same person as their immune system changes over time. Just ask someone in their 40's, who used to be allergic to roses, but isn't now, or vice versa. Such reaction swings are quite common. You should never assume that, just because you have historically had mild reactions to stings, that future reactions will always be mild. That's why every beekeeper (or person whose activities, like brushhogging, put them at risk for bee stings) should carry an EpiPen. They are available on the Net for around $50 USD each and are cheap insurance against what could be a disastrous event. Even if you feel that YOU are superhuman and will never have a bad reaction, if you keep bees near your home, you never know what might happen to a visitor.

Here is a link that might be useful: One Price Example - Not an Endorsement

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 9:08AM
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bandit_tx(z7-8 TX)

Good points, and exactly correct.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 3:59PM
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