Stung by a bee or wasp

A couple of weeks ago I was stung by a southern cuckoo bee the most common of the 4 common types in New Zealand.
I have been stung about 4-5 times and all the same-hearting all of that day and fine the next day.
I am assuming that this is not the case for everyone.
I luckily have never been stung by a wasp but again this is not the case for everyone.
Please leave your experience with a bee or wasp below.

5 Likes

Bees and wasps are usually pretty calm around me, but last year I had some kind of small solitary bee or wasp (didn’t have a chance to look at it) got caught in my swimsuit and stung me in a defence, luckily we both survived and the spot wasn’t hurting too much, but it was definitely unexpected. I had less luck with Ophion, people say if there’s no venom they’re not gonna “sting”, so I tried to caught it with bare hands and got “stung” by ovipositor and it was red and painful for hours, so be careful with ichneumonids!
My uncle is allergic to bees and had severe reactions to them.

5 Likes

Not counting the time I stepped on a bee, or the time one landed on my hand and I automatically tried to squish it (I know, what was I thinking?), I’ve only had one really bad bee experience. That was when I was 3 years old, and my mom and a friend were getting firewood out of some piles near the edge of the woods. Her friend accidentally set me down directly on top of a bees’ nest. They started stinging me, I started screaming, and my mom ran out of the woods to save me (at least that’s how I remember it). We both got stung quite a bit, but I was fine the next day. That was one of my first (and worst) memories, although luckily I was left with no fear of bees.

8 Likes

About 10 years ago, I was walking on a wooded path next to rustic retaining wall when a small black wasp (or hornet?) flew out and stung me a couple times near my elbow. I was real surprised as I had not done anything to provoke it. It hurt really badly - worse than any other bee sting I’ve ever had - and I ended up with a small scar that I have to this day.

Most bees and wasps don’t bother me much. But, I back off pretty fast if I see a small black wasp (or hornet)!

5 Likes

I luckily have never been stung by a bee or wasp. I have encountered hornet and paper wasp nests, but rarely come close enough/stay long enough to be detected as a threat. I don’t have much fear of an individual hornet flying around foraging, and I quite enjoy watching them from time to time. I have however been bitten and stung by ants (specifically Solenopsis invicta, and Oecophylla smaragdina), which are relatively painful, like a sudden hot burning sensation, but so far they were just down to brave individuals who decided to clamp down on the intruder (me).

4 Likes

My brother has kept bees as a hobby. Many years ago he was teaching in a small community on James Bay and couldn’t get back south to feed his hives during winter. I got roped into it and as somebody with limited experience as an apiarist I may not have been the best choice. The weekend I was scheduled to do the feeding was unseasonably warm. It was mid-February but the temperature was well above freezing as a front moved through. When it’s really cold you can do the job without equipment because the bees are dopey. On this winter day they were actually buzzing around the hive entrance. Long story made short is that I got stung in February in Canada. I got one stinger in my nose. It was left behind by the bee and when I crossed my eyes I was just able to focus on the stinger and to see it pumping venom into my schnozzola.

11 Likes

In the spirit of 2020 being the year it was, I was twice stung by a honey bee last year, when before I had never been stung in my life.

6 Likes

I was doing archaeology work in the back-country in the San Rafael Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest and we were heading up a tall-sided narrow gully to see if we could find the skulls of some horses local legend had it that a homesteader back in the day had had to kill after they slipped and broke their legs.

We found the skulls and confirmed that the story checked out (bullet holes in the skulls) and decided to see what else was up at the head of the draw.

There were four of us, with me in the lead carrying a machete to clear the occasional branch, and the walls of the draw had come in very close, with a tiny trickle of water running down the middle of it.

A few minutes in I heard a curse from behind me and a loud, “RUN!!” bellowed out at full volume and all three of the folks behind be charged toward me. I took off, trying to stay ahead not not get trampled, ping-ponging from side to side of the draw, leaping over the stream, and trying to cut obstructions out of the way at the same time, often while in mid-air.

When they finally stopped I asked what had happened and it turned out that the second to last person in line had stepped into a subterranean wasp nest and the wasps had boiled up around all three of them. I’d been far enough in the front that they never go to me.

After about 30 minutes we decide to move on, but two of them absolutely refused to go back the way we came.

At this point we were deep enough into the draw that both sides were a cliff, one completely unclimbable and the other one of those nearly vertical Central/Southern California slopes covered in chaparral, in this case with sage some 2 meters tall and in full bloom. Given the other folk’s refusal to head back down the draw and the need to make sure that everyone stuck together for safety we climbed up the 200+ vertical feet of brittle, blooming sage, eventually scrambling to the top, coming out in a dry meadow.

When we got done sneezing and rubbing the pollen out of our eyes we started laughing as we were all exactly the same shade of dusty lavender from head to toe, hair, faces, shirts, trousers, etc. Each time we would try to brush the pollen off if looked like we were on fire billowing out smoke.

It’s far from my only run-in with wasps and bees around the world, but it’s the most amusing run-in I’ve had.

12 Likes

For me, Polistes nest disturbed while gardening, but luckily it was a small one… about 5 or 6 wasps repeat stinging my arm, maybe a dozen or so seperate stings… hot burning chemical sensation, but otherwise not too bad.

My worst “sting” would be a spine from a palm tree that pierced into my knuckle. My whole fore-arm became swollen and very painful, and by the end of the day I lost most of the nerve function in the lower arm for about a week, gradually returning as a “pins and needles” type tingling that was extremely frustrating.

5 Likes

I haven’t been stung much, but when it happens it is terrible. My worst encounter was when I went into a bush and accidentally disturbed some Bald-faced Hornets. They stung me on my foot and the side of my head.

3 Likes

As kid I have been stung be bees or wasps every single summer: stepping on them, getting them somehow under my shirt, squishing them accidentally under my arm…unfortunately this led to a self-fullfilling prophecy type of situation. Each time I saw a wasp or bee I panicked leading to me getting even stung more often as I behaved like crazy. I even managed to get stung by a bumblebee once, which I had hit in my panic when it flew next to me and it became aggressive. I was about 12 and worst thing for me back then was that noone from my family believed me as “bumblebees don´t sting” people (they indeed are barely able to as their stingers are so short and they only try when threatened).

I always hated wasps, I kind of struggled with the bees but had more sympathy for them as I loved their honey and I knew they would really only sting my when fearing for their life, as they will die when doing so.

It took me many many years to get rid of this stupid fear. I am now more comfortable around bees and wasps and love to observe them.

5 Likes

I’ve never been stung trying to take pictures of wasps or bees, maybe because I usually approach them while they are concentrating on a flower. The most frightened I’ve been was when a large, unfamiliar-looking yellowjacket flew out at me several times - I was amused to realize once I got a better look that it was a harmless wasp-mimetic fly.

The times I’ve been stung in recent years have been when I took down nests attached to my house, once a bald-faced hornet nest and the other some sort of polistes. It hurt but I think the pain subsided within an hour.

4 Likes

I have a phobia of bees and wasps… though I don’t mind observing bees from a distance for iNat, wasps - no thank you.
My worst sting was when I was laying on the couch, and my head came down on a wasp that had somehow made it in the house… it stung. Ouch.

5 Likes

Over the years I have been stung by wasps, hornets and bees (several different species) but not recently.

When I was a child I was allergic to wasp and bee stings, and for example, if I got stung on the finger, my whole entire arm would swell up tremendously like a sausage.

But over the years that allergy went away, and I seem to be OK now.

4 Likes

I got stung a few times by “yellowjackets” when I was a kid and then by some kind of wasp when I was camping as a young adult and both times I just had local swelling and pain and felt crummy and headachy. Nine years ago I took up beekeeping and got stung numerous times when rescuing colonies from people’s houses. Then, one day I didn’t suit up for a quick visit at a friend’s apiary to get some brood and eggs. His bees got very aggressive and stung the heck out of both of us. I was red and blotchy from head to toe by the time I got home so I took a little trip to the emergency room with anaphylaxis. Spent a couple of hours there getting pumped full of epinephrine and steroids. Apparently bee stings can go either way and you can develop resistance or sensitivity over time. Ironically now when I’m out making observations for iNat I tend to focus on bees and the like when I can, but I always carry an autoinjector. :honeybee:

4 Likes

I also have only been stung by a bee in 2020 the last one on the 30 December

2 Likes

Does anyone else watch Brave Wilderness with Coyote Peterson on YouTube? Part of the show is Coyote allowing himself to be stung/bitten on camera by various animals and describing the experience to viewers and establishing a pain index. Bees don’t worry me too much and I just try to avoid yellowjackets as much as possible, but if I saw some of the things he’s been stung by in the wild I would run. I couldn’t finish watching the tarantula hawk wasp episode in one go. It was too much for me :grimacing: and that wasn’t even the worst one on the list.

3 Likes

I love the Coyote Peterson videos! I steer clear of the stinging vids tho, I can’t handle them…

1 Like

I love the Australian Sugar Bag bees (Tetragonula Carbonaria) because they make lovely honey and do not sting. I feel quite safe while they are buzzing around. However, the European honey bees I treat with great caution. Years ago I accidentally stepped on one with bare feet. After a few minutes my mouth tasted like metal, then I began to lose vision. I headed inside and told my 9 year-old daughter to call 000 (Australia’s equivalent of 911) and ask for an ambulance, and then blacked out. When I woke up, two ambulance officers were looking down at me. They told me that when they arrived I had no heart beat. I spent the night in hospital with no lasting effects. Except that I am very wary of European honey bees.

7 Likes

The only time I have been stung by a bee was when I accidentally stepped on one. I worked with honeybees (Apis mellifera) an entire summer while doing a fellowship on Santa Cruz Island: catching, painting, and tracking bees and never was stung.

My only other sting was last year (2020) when I discovered this beautiful object
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/50207555

on a fallen branch, and unfortunately did not recognize it for what it was until I got too close: two or three guards came out and chased me about 100 feet down the path one got caught in the crook of my elbow as I ran and gave me a good sting. It swelled up and hurt for a couple of hours and was gone two days later.

My uncle is allergic to bee stings (to the point of needing to carry an epi-pen), so I was only concerned for a few minutes to see if I developed an allergic reaction. But thankfully I didn’t.

3 Likes