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Western honey bee
Apis mellifera
Severity of bites
High
Severe damage. This can include life-threatening allergic reactions, transmission of serious diseases, or insects that have particularly painful or harmful bites or stings.
Description
Western honey bee showcases unique behaviors, forming complex, socially organized colonies for survival. They feed primarily on nectar and pollen, contributing significantly to plant pollination. Health risks linked to western honey bee include allergic reactions from their stings, and transmitting diseases like American Foulbrood to other bees. These critters demonstrate fascinating species-specific traits, coupling value for ecosystems and challenges for human health.
What are the symptoms of a Western honey bee bite or sting?
Pain and Swelling
Immediately after an western honey bee sting, a severe sharp, burning pain will be felt at the sting site. This is quickly followed by a round area of swelling (hive) and redness around the sting which may persist.
Anaphylaxis
In rare cases, individuals stung by western honey bee may develop a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Signs of this include difficulty breathing, hives that appear as a red, itchy rash and spread across the body, swelling of the face, throat, or mouth tissue, and a rapid, weak pulse.
Itching and Irritation
A delayed reaction to the sting may also occur with itching and a mild irritation presenting at the site after a day or two.
Note
It's important to note that the severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the individual's sensitivity and the number of bites or stings received. If you are concerned about a specific bite or sting or if symptoms persist or worsen, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.
What are the treatments for a Western honey bee bite or sting?
Immediate Action
Initially, it's important to remove the stinger left behind by the western honey bee without squeezing it, as it might release more venom. This can be done by gently scraping it off with a flat-edged object like a credit card.
Home Care
To soothe the affected area, apply a cold pack to reduce swelling and wash the area with soap and water to fend off any possible infection.
Emergency Help
In cases of severe allergic reactions to western honey bee stings like anaphylaxis, immediate medical attention should be sought. The patient might need an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) if they are at risk of a severe reaction.
Reminder
Remember, it is always best to seek advice from a healthcare professional when dealing with bites or stings, especially if you are unsure of the type of insect or the person's medical history.
How to prevent a Western honey bee bite or sting?
Avoid Disturbance
Western honey bee are generally non-aggressive insects, but can sting when they feel their hive is threatened. To avoid this, do not disturb or approach their hives.
Wear Protective Clothing
When dealing with western honey bee or their hives, wearing protective clothing covering the body, face, hands, and head is advisable.
Seek Professional Help
If a heavy western honey bee infestation is found, it's not advised to attempt self-removal. Rather, calling in a professional pest control service is recommended.
Limit Exposure
Avoid wearing bright colors or floral patterns that might attract western honey bee. Don't walk barefoot in vegetated areas and always keep food and drinks covered when western honey bee are in the area.
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