Have Fun and Bee Safe!

It’s summertime! The weather is calling to enjoy time outdoors. While many long for nice walks around the neighborhood or a fun picnic at a nearby park, some kids (and even adults) are held back because of their fear of bees. As long as you are not allergic to bee stings, bees are not dangerous and are certainly not flying around with intent to sting you, so don’t fret. However, here’s what to do if a bee does give you a little prick.

First things first, why do bees sting? Bees do not sting because they want to. They’re usually out and about searching for pollen or nectar, not searching for humans. Bees react when they feel their hive is threatened. Think about protecting your own family from danger. How would you react? It’s the same way for bees; they use their stingers as a defense mechanism to protect themselves, their queen and their home. To avoid putting bees in defensive mode, it’s always best to keep your distance from hives to minimize your chances of being stung.

Now, what happens if you do get stung by a bee? First of all, no need to panic! Bee stings can be treated easily if you are not allergic to them. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there are five easy steps to follow if you get stung by a bee:

  • Walk away from the place where you were stung to avoid attracting other bees.
  • If the stinger gets broken off in your skin, make sure to remove it safely and quickly.
  • Clean the affected area to prevent more severe reactions or infections.
  • Use ice to reduce swelling. If the swelling starts spreading, you should go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
  • Take over-the-counter medications as needed to help reduce pain.

In general, it’s always best to follow safety precautions to reduce the chance of being stung by a bee. To keep it simple, don’t approach hives or take actions that may make bees near the hive feel threatened. Bees are beautiful, important creatures to both biodiversity and our food supply. We encourage you (and your kids) to continue learning about bees and best safety practices while spending time outdoors.