I'm trying to work out what is REALLY the best way to remove a bee sting. As you all know, the two most common methods to reduce the reaction to a bee sting are 1) to scrape the sting out, so that additional venom isn't squeezed out of the venom sack by a pinching action and 2) to remove the sting ASAP to reduce the time that venom is being pumped out of the sack into the person.
These two methods are somewhat incompatible: Scraping a sting out will, in virtually all circumstances, take more time than would removing it by another method (such as pinching the sting if it's visible or vigorously rubbing the general area of the sting if it is harder to locate). It's therefore a good idea to establish which factor is most important so that the best compromise can be reached and reactions are limited.
I have had a look through the scientific and popular literature to try to determine what the best method is, but in addition wanted to find our the opinion of beeks who have plenty of personal experience to draw on. So let us know which method you think is the important one, or if both are important, or if you think something else is important, and then post to explain the reasons behind your answer.
Well, I haven't been a beek for that long but I have been stung countless times, being an Aussie barefoot bogan, including plenty of times on the hands as I hate wearing gloves while working with my hands, and a few to the face. As a kid I thought stings need to be scraped out and though I never had bad reactions, beestings were certainly unpleasant. Once I started beekeeping I heard from another beek that timing was the number one most important thing and WOW - since learning that I usually have no reaction beyond the initial sting itself, unless I'm unable to get the sting out immediately because my hands are full. So I definitely think that TIMING is the only factor that should be considered and wasting even half a second scraping out the sting is only going to make things worse.
In addition to that is the only published experiment comparing the two methods that I have found by Visscher, Vetter and Camazine who found that timing made a difference and method didn't - though they only used themselves as test subjects so between their experiences and my own it's not enough for me to conclude that everybody else in the world will react the same way. (as a newbee I can't post a link to the study, but if you go to google scholar and search for "bee sting removal" it's the first hit, and a pdf is freely available to all)