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Question: Over time, how has your reaction to stings changed?
No change - always minor reaction
No change - always major reaction
Reactions have decreased in severity over time
Reactions have worsened in severity over time


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Author Topic: Poll - Stings and building up immunity  (Read 4167 times)
tlynn
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« on: May 05, 2009, 04:57:49 PM »

I am curious to know how peoples' immunities have changed with bee stings over time.  I have been working bees a little over a year and get Popeye arm every 3rd or 4th inspection and it doesn't seem to be getting any better each time.  Someone suggested voluntary stingings on a consistent basis to build up immunity.  I tried it a couple times but became discouraged because of all the pain and swelling.  Just curious if it might be worth putting up with to reduce the reaction.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 05:58:09 PM by tlynn » Logged
doak
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 06:38:32 PM »

Every person is subject to have a different reaction. You cannot and (should not) consider trying to
compare the results. If the swelling continues to be large try not to get stung as much.
Another thing make sure you are using the proper procedure for removing the stinger.
Can some one post that pic for those who don't know.
Get it out as quick as possible and use the hive tool or if working with out gloves the finger nail.
dig it out from the skin and not the poison sac.   :)doak
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 06:45:59 PM »

I hate to say it but some times you just got to back away, for some it seems it just isn't worth it.

Two bee clubs in the area have had a large increase in membership, people are going to save the world by raiseing bees. Supriseingly a number of them, after being stung a few times, and have sold out at a loss in a very short time.

A durn shame but it's happening, perhaps its one of those fad things.

Some time you just have to say this isn't my cup of tea.

The worst thing I see and hear is other people saying, just ignore it it will get better ! Maybe it will, but that just ain't necessarly so.

Go ahead " experts ", lay it to me, I'm ready
Bee-Bop

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jason58104
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 06:50:15 PM »

I cant disagree with you Bee, but as a general rule I try to take 5 to 10 stings a day in my hands early in the spring for about a week and after that I have very little swelling or itching.   Just a thought!
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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2009, 08:03:12 PM »

i swell like crazy with almost every sting.  depends some on where i am stung.  when i do cutouts our swarm catching, i carry a bottle of liquid benadryl.  i have a bottle at home in the barn.  when i get stung, i take a swig and it helps.

any time you are stung you run a risk of having a bad reaction.  if you are already having bad reactions, you should take precautions against being stung.  some people do seem to develop a sort of immunity, but some also develop a fatal allergy. 
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tlynn
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2009, 08:39:52 PM »

Another thing make sure you are using the proper procedure for removing the stinger.
Can some one post that pic for those who don't know.
Get it out as quick as possible and use the hive tool or if working with out gloves the finger nail.
dig it out from the skin and not the poison sac.   :)doak

I'll have to say this thread was prompted by a sting to the arm that I ignored as I was busy working the hives and remembered it probably 10 minutes later before I scraped out the stinger.  Major Popeye arm.

Beekeeping isn't something I'm willing to give up because of this discomfort.  I fully well realize different people react differently.  I am just curious about trends.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2009, 08:46:01 PM »

By now my blood has to be part bee venom. I don't react to stings from wasps or bees like I used to before I started keeping bees. My reactions are just a little pain, not much swelling at all.


...JP
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 09:08:33 PM »

Repeated stings are more likely to build a sensitivity as opposed to a resistance to bee venom. I know there are those that will swear to the contrary, but people with a proclivity to a reaction will most often not get better with stings.  They get worse.  It is best to simply protect against stings if you are prone to a reaction.  Full suit, every time.
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Brian
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 09:31:23 PM »

I have heard that the average beekeeper should be able to withstand around 400 stings with no problems. I get stung and no more reactions.
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JP
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 09:37:17 PM »

I have heard that the average beekeeper should be able to withstand around 400 stings with no problems. I get stung and no more reactions.

Well, heck, I should be dead by now, then D! grin


...JP
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irekkin
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2009, 10:02:52 PM »

i'm no expert beekeeper, but as a construction worker/ farmer i can tell you a few things about pain. number one is, you don't have to go looking for it ,it'll find you. to each their own. i wear my veil and gloves.
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2009, 10:14:08 PM »

it depends, I get a little swelling on the first dozen stings every year but then no reaction at all, you dont keep the immunity unless you are being stung year round, I get very few if any during the winter month's because I leave my hives alone except just to check on them on warm days, I do wear a veil but some times forget to zip it up  Wink (has happened more than once  grin ) , I very seldom wear gloves though working hive except doing removals.
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SlickMick
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2009, 10:28:04 PM »

It used to take 3 days for the swelling to go down and the site would itch for days. For a time I used to take an antihistamine if I was stung but over the past while I now only get very mild swelling, a bit of pain for a short while and then a bit of an itch for a few hours even on sensitive places such as the pad of the fingers.

Mick
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doak
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 11:21:08 PM »

tlynn, That was part of the point I was trying to get across.
The sooner you get the poison sac out the less venom will go in. The sac pulsates. Pumping it in.
I think any one planing on going into beekeeping should read at least one book, At least three times before starting. :)doak
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SlickMick
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 04:07:20 AM »

I agree, Doak. Getting the sting out quickly without squeezing the poison sack is the secret

Mick
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
eri
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2009, 07:26:58 AM »

I've read studies that show that the key is getting the stinger out quickly -- scraping is not necessary, and takes more time, and during that time that little poison sac is pumping away on its own. I just feel for it if I can't see it (like on my face) and pull it out.
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2009, 08:50:10 AM »

Here's a short course;

http://bees.ucr.edu/stings.html

Only thing is they don't say is how to do this in 8 seconds or less while, holding up a brood frame covered with bees while searching for eggs, much less finding something to scrape or pinch with. No need to mention hive tool or fingers, they are generaly covered with wax,honey or proplis.

Bee-Bop
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Keith13
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2009, 11:10:12 AM »

If the swelling continues to be large try not to get stung as much.


Thank you captain obvious grin grin
 Wink Just messing with you Doak
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tlynn
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2009, 06:32:15 PM »

Here's a short course;

http://bees.ucr.edu/stings.html

Only thing is they don't say is how to do this in 8 seconds or less while, holding up a brood frame covered with bees while searching for eggs, much less finding something to scrape or pinch with. No need to mention hive tool or fingers, they are generaly covered with wax,honey or proplis.

Bee-Bop


Bee-Bop, thanks for that link.  Pretty cool how the 2 sides of the stinger ratchet themselves to work it deeper.  A well-designed continuous delivery system!
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tlynn
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2009, 06:42:24 PM »

After researching further some of the thoughts in the posts, I found the immune system can go either way after repeated exposures.  One can't assume the reactions will decrease with more exposure.  It depends on a couple different types of immune cells and which one decides to react more.  One poster mentioned that more stings are more likely to build more sensitivity, and that isn't supported by the literature, if the meaning was more than 50% as being more likely, although there is a small percentage who do become highly allergic over time.
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