The latest "buzz" on bee stings

July 27, 2008 8:20:54 AM PDT
Summertime brings lots of outdoor fun - but with that outdoor time comes the risk of insect bites and bee stings. Action News has tips on how to avoid getting stung - and what to do it if you get one.

Bill Mondjack is in one risky business.

Mondjack keeps honey bees, so getting stung is just part of the jo


He says, "When I first started back in 1980, I used to get stung on my ankles or on my hands, and my hands would swell up."

Bee stings hurt, but for most people, the reactions they cause are mild.

Mondjack has some advice. "A honey bee stinger, if it's left behind, the first thing you want to do is scrape the stinger out with your fingernail and get rid of it, so it stops pumping venom into the site."

Then wash the area, and apply a cold compress for pain.

If it's on your hand - take off your rings right away, before swelling sets in, and causes circulation problems.

And there are other spots that require fast action.

Dr. Rob Danoff, of Frankford Bucks Hospital, says "If you are bitten or stung in your mouth, on your lip - inside your mouth or on your eye, you definitely want to go to the emergency room because those reactions can progress quickly."

Also, go to the hospital if you have ANY coughing or trouble breathing - those are signs of a life-threatening reaction.

Of course, it's still best to avoid getting stung in the first place.

Dr. Danoff says, "Hornets tend to have nests in trees and bushes. Yellow jackets in the soil, so be aware. So if you're walking around barefoot in the grass, or around shrubs, maybe you oughta put some shoes on."

And if a bee starts to buzz around you - don't swat at it.

Dr. Danoff says, "They send off these chemicals that attract their comrades to come help them. They think they are under attack. The best thing we can do is when we see them, we just try to move away."

Landscaper Howard Kirshner says he keeps tabs on the clock.

"We find if we can go in early in the morning, or later in the day, the insects are usually less active," he notices.

Experts say it also helps to wear light-colored clothing, and avoid scented soaps and perfumes.

Finally, be careful when you have an open can of soda... A bee might climb inside when you're not looking.