In the midst of a mysterious decline in honeybee colonies, it seems prudent to respect the bees that cross our paths. Swatting, smushing, and spraying should be avoided—and remember that when a honeybee stings you, she dies. Preventing stings is a boon to both the bees and us. Here’s how to reduce the risk of being stung–and just in case, how to best treat bee stings naturally.
Honeybees are disappearing at an alarming rate. Nobody is quite sure what is causing the hives’ inhabitants to desert their colonies—now known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)—but it has become a great concern. In the last few years bee populations have declined as much as 60 percent on the West Coast and 70 percent on the East Coast. CCD poses a huge threat to food production as bees are needed to pollinate plants and are extensively used in agriculture for this purpose.
Seems there is little we can do to help—but if we follow these tips and save a bee or two, it certainly can’t hurt.
Reduce the chance of getting stung (and save a bee!):
1. Wear light-colored clothing.
2. Don’t use perfume or soaps, shampoos and deodorants with fragrance.
3. Avoid bananas and banana-scented products.
4. Wear clean clothing and be clean—our sweat makes bees angry.
5. Stay clear of flowering plants.
6. Keep your outside areas clean. Bees and wasps thrive in places with food trash: Picnic tables, grills and other outdoor eating areas.
Understand stinging behavior:
1. If a single bee is pestering you, remain still and cover your face, or lie face down on the ground. (The face is the most likely place for a bee or wasp to sting.)
2. Most bees will not attack if left alone, but swatting at a bee may cause it to sting.
3. If you are attacked by several bees at once your best bet is to run, or jump in water. Bees release a chemical when they sting which alerts other bees to come to their defense. The more bees that have stung you, the stronger the “alarm” will be.