That’s terrifying I think that would be enough for me to develop a full-blown phobia.
At school I caught a bumblebee in my hands to demonstrate I wasn’t bothered by them. I can’t remember the type but do remember choosing a large one to reinforce the point. I certainly remember the pain because it took a long time to fade. The things we did as teenagers!
Later in life I kept honey bees in the UK. I didn’t like wearing gloves as they got in the way so did get stung from time to time. At first I found the stings fairly painful. I gradually got used to it but developed a bit of an allergy which over time led to a lot swelling around the sting and maddening itching which lasted for days. My only memory of fear of getting stung was the day I forgot to tuck my trousers into my boots. Of course when a bee lands it then moves up … usually in the hive but that day into my trouser leg. I didn’t want to strip off standing next to an open bee hive so ended up running across the garden at the same time as removing my overalls and undoing my trousers. I’m glad to say the bee came out the top of my trousers without harm to it or me
I have been stung by more species than most people, as I just completed a 2 year survey of the bee fauna of NW Louisiana, USA. All of the smaller native bees I have been stung by while collecting just felt like a pin prick, then sore for a couple hours at most. I was careful to not recklessly handle bumble bees as they have quite a pop to them. Wasps I have been stung by multiple species of Polistes, and they all hurt and make me swell for days (and itch like mad). The only time I was stung by a hornet, it felt like being hit with a sledgehammer, hurt for a long time, and sweeled my leg/ankle so much I couldn’t walk on it.
I have been stung by a couple different species of Ichneumonids, quite a few times. Ophion species seem the grumpiest, as just accidental touching of them while photographing at lights has resulted in stings numerous times.
As a teenager I was attacked by yellowjackets for getting too close to their nest more than once, and had to rush to the hospital on a couple of occasions when I was stung all around my head, neck and chest and was having trouble breathing.
I have never been stung by native bees without handling them, rarely by Polistes wasps even though I approach their nests constantly for close-up photos, never by bumble bees although I photo them close-up all the time, etc. They key is to not make them mad. If I get stung, it’s always from accidentally approaching a nest and bumping it, or from handling them.
It’s funny how many wasp and bee species there are
Wasps belong to a highly diverse group of insects called the Hymenoptera with more than 150,000 species across the globe.-wiki.
There are over 20,000 known bee species in the world, and 4,000 of them are native to the United States.-wiki.
If I got told that I think I would have lost my heart beat again
I’ve had several wasp stings growing up (in the US), and while they hurt an awful lot (I was also really sensitive to pain as a kid), I don’t remember them ever lasting more than a day or two. However, two years ago I got my first bee sting from, of all things, a bumble bee. I was trying to save her from a bucket of water she had fallen into, and she got spooked and instinctively stung me. It hurt about the same as the wasp stings, but my hand also swelled up pretty badly for a week. Even after the swelling went down, the skin became scaly and itchy, and it took a few more weeks for the skin to go back to normal. Everyone has such different reactions to insect stings. It’s kind of fascinating!
Interesting that you were stung in that situation; my mom frequently rescues yellowjackets from water buckets and has never been stung by them.
I was stung twice while rescuing bees from water (guess I didn’t lean the first time).
I also frequently rescue wasps and bees from pools and they never sting.
I got my observation after the occupants had left town:
I was rehabilitating an old barb-wire fence on my mother-in-law’s farm back in the day. The corner post was an old railroad tie. Started nailing down the new wire when some hornets jumped out of a crack and nailed me back, eight or ten times.
Have been stung many times since childhood. But it hasn’t ended. Fortunately not lately, except in the case of a scorpion - which doesn’t count here. But my worst experience, some twenty years ago went like this: I was doing routine chores and had to go behind my place and do something (what, I don’t know what). I had not opened my back gate in a while and thus, unthinkingly, proceeded to unlock the gate per usual. Nearing the gate and reaching for the lock mechanism, I slowly realized a strange feeling on my hand not involved in reaching for the lock, accompanied by a small blowing sensation and some dainty hands grasping my skin and then Bam! the first of several stings from this guy:
And not just him, but his nest mates. Unluckily for me - like I wasn’t unlucky already - close by the back gate as a very large Hackberry tree that shaded my lot in town, and it was about five feet from the gate. Or maybe four. Doesn’t matter. It was close enough. For me to, in my panic to escape the stinging wasps, swing my arm reflexively and with great vigor, out of harm’s way and smashed my stung back of my hand incredibly hard right into the trunk of the tree with a force that only panic would inspire.
Now some would probably assume that one injury would become dominant over another, but alas, it doesn’t work that way. I felt the continuing throbs and spasms of pain caused by the two or three wasp stings and was in absolute agony from having struck the tree trunk will all my might. No one in their right mind would have done what I did. But you pay a price.
And the pain stays with you. Bet Coyote Peterson never tried this combo of agony.
I was on a field trip in 2nd grade and got stung on my arm by a big wasp. I remember my teacher being extremely concerned and then mellowing when she realized I was being stoic. She thanked me. I think it marked her impression of me thereafter.
Years later I was pruning a hedge and cut into a yellow jacket nest. I got stung all over, top to bottom, probably 30 times. I took antihistamines and stayed still for a few days, but I don’t think I went to the doctor. It was awful, but I don’t recall it lasting long. Unfortunately, my autistic son has been inordinately afraid of stinging insects ever since hearing the story. I wish I hadn’t mentioned it in his presence!
The Vespula vulgaris are really stubborn and stupid, at least here in Sweden. They love buzzing around people’s faces, and won’t let themselves be waved away easily. I’ve only been stung badly once though, when I held a pack of cigarettes in my hand when trying to wave it off, and instead managed to catch it between my hand and the cigarettes…
My interest in “non-avian” fauna took a turn one day in October 2019… Robbie and I were supposed to escort the President of the American Birding Association, Jeff Gordon and wife Liz. We planned a picnic and birding at Coyote Point not too far from here. We bought a brisket sandwich from Subway which we decided to eat before it got cold. A nearby Yellow Jacket took a major interest in my sandwich. I could not discourage this determined wasp who decided to fly into my mouth without permission. At first I thought I bit my tongue, a very sharp pain, but quickly realized I’d been stung on my tongue. I spit the Yellow Jacket out onto the ground. Robbie couldn’t quite believe what happened as I was crying, my tongue started to swell and I demanded to be taken to the Emergency Room. It was about 20 minutes to the hospital, but it seemed like hours as we hit every red light. Meanwhile my tongue swelled up to the extent that I could no longer talk or swallow. When there was no room to swell any more on the left side, the right side expanded. By the time I got to the emergency room my tongue was hanging out of my mouth while I was holding a frozen picnic cooler insert to it. As Robbie dropped me off, I rushed in the wrong door (Ambulance entrance) without thinking, apparently managed to bypass security right into the emergency room. There it was all hands on deck. They quickly shot me with an epi-pen through my pants and gave me IV anti-inflammatory and benadryl.I couldn’t talk and Robbie was parking the car so they had no idea what had happened until I eventually managed to grunt out the malformed words “Yellow Jacket” as I pointed to my tongue. I ended up admitted to the hospital for the night.
Note to self. Never argue with a Yellow Jacket.
You just have to have the right equipment. Like a spatula.
A campesino I know in the Dominican Republic has no trouble knocking down Polistes with the flat side of a machete. And seeing him do it made me realize how easy it actually is.
The Polistes wasps in my garden have stung me a few times. I put Prep cream onto the stings and the pain goes away.
I won’t retell the tale here. You can just check it out in this other thread:
I’ve been stung by both bees and wasps.
the first time I can remember being stung by a bee I was a small child I may have been five or six years old. I was at a playground and celebrating a birthday party with several other children. I ran back to the table where my can of Coca-Cola was to have a drink. Suddenly after taking a drink a b flu out of my mouth and it had stung me on the inside of my lip. It was quite terrifying. I have been stung by bees since then but nothing quite as terrifying as that. I have the typical reaction where it’s somewhat painful.
wasp on the other hand are a different story. I’ve been stung multiple times in my life by those in various occasions. I’m very allergic to them and I have a very fast response in that my entire body will swell up as the poison from the stain courses its way through my body. I usually have to take a Benadryl to calm it down. But the last time I got stung it was near my ear and my head swole so much that I couldn’t see out of my eyes and my mom was worried that I was going to start having problems breathing. I have to be very careful around wasps.