Bee Sting Remedy

I don’t know why I feel the need to post on here every single time I get stung, but apparently its something I need to do.

As you all know I ordered a Warre hive last Sunday, and have been waiting none too patiently for its arrival. I assumed it would be here no later than Tuesday, but, well, today’s Friday and it still hasn’t arrived. I was talking outside with my neighbor, per usual, when I looked over at the hive and found the bees crawling all over the front and right sides, as well as the roof. This usually means there isn’t enough room in the hive and swarming is being seriously considered. Thus, I immediately called the bee shop to ask about when my hive would be here. They’re really backed up and said that it would be sometime next week before my hive got here. He did say he could ship me one box if I absolutely needed it, which naturally I wasn’t sure I did, so it’ll be here sometime next week.

Having found that out, I realized I should probably go check out the hive to see how they were getting along. I’d been putting off opening it because I wasn’t sure when the hive would get here and I didn’t want to open them up twice in a week. So I got all suited up, set up my smoker, and opened them up. My smoker went out two frames in, which was annoying because it was smoking excellently before that. The bees didn’t seem very aggressive so I figured I’d just go through quickly and everything would be fine. The second frame only had capped drones (on the bottom of the frame) and nectar and pollen stores, so I was starting to prepare for bad news when I pulled up the third frame and found it covered in day old eggs (just starting to tip over), with the queen present and everything. This calmed my fears immediately. The next few frames consisted of older larvae, capped brood, and lots of capped drone cells. More than I’ve ever allowed anyway. A couple of frames were connected to each other with large clumps of wax, and there were also quite a few swarm cells hanging off of one of the frames. I scraped those clear and put the frame back.

My arm must’ve been resting almost right on the edge of the box as I put that frame down, because I felt a sharp pinch on my arm. I immediately assumed it was a sliver of some sort, because bees aren’t supposed to be able to sting through the suit. Naturally I was wrong. A bee had stung me through the mesh part of my glove and the sleeve underneath. I was forced to quickly put the hive back together (unfortunately this resulted in a half nectar half pollen frame right in the middle of the brood nest, because I took that frame out for a little more moving room) and rushed back into the house. Surprisingly, I had no bees following me. I took off my gloves and inspected the sting. The stinger had fallen out, which, well, doesn’t really mean anything because it had more than enough time to pump all of its venom into me.

I quickly removed my suit and went up to the “greenhouse” (all of the plastic siding has come off, so its just the frame of a green house with three raised beds in it) and picked some plantain. I’m obsessed with home remedies; I find them absolutely fantastic. Plantain, chewed into mush to release its juices and placed on the sting site, is supposed to inhibit the venom. I rinsed the leaves (about a handful) and quickly had a glob of half chewed mush on my arm. Much to my delight, it reduced the pain immediately, and stopped the swelling. I’ve got a small raised bump on my arm, and a large red patch surrounding it, but so far everything is fine. Yay! No shots for me!

To be a little more clear about what I did exactly, I took about three leaves and chewed them up, then spit them onto another leaf and held that on my arm until the salve had heated up sufficiently (I washed the plants in cold water). I repeated this another time and then wiped the area (about two square inches) surrounding the sting clean with a wet washcloth. I left the sting site alone because I wanted the juices to absorb into my skin.

So yeah, the bees are filling in very well and needing more space (I’ll probably go put the super on later, since the apple trees have bloomed) my second hive should arrive sometime next week, and plantain is an excellent remedy to bee stings! I’ll take a picture of the plant and post it so you all know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is one species of plantain. There is another that has long slender leaves as well. This is basically a common weed. If you’re unsure whether it’s really plantain, dig it up. It has a really intense root system that is a pain to get out of the dirt. The roots are about three inches long and white.

Oh and before I forget, a drone began head butting me while I was in the hive. It was actually pretty intimidating because every time it hit my mask there was a loud smack, much louder than the one from a worker. I don’t remember reading anything about drones defending the hive. Anyone heard anything like this before? I’d be interested to know!

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11 responses to “Bee Sting Remedy”

  1. Emily Heath says :

    I’ll be very interested to hear how you get on with the Warre hive. The plantain remedy sounds great, but I’m not sure if we have any here.

    Haven’t heard anything about drones defending the hive either. They don’t have any stings, so they would have to rely on intimidation!

    • willowbatel says :

      I’m excited for it to get here. I’m hoping the bees can make it until then. I opened them up again today (to finish the inspection, and to add the super) and they’ve pretty much filled up both boxes already. There were a couple frames here and there that were without brood, but they were filled with pollen and nectar. There’s also still a surprising amount of capped honey from last summer.
      They’re extremely active today as well, crawling over the front of the hive. I’m kind of worried they won’t make it until next week because of those 4 swarm cells from yesterday. I might have to call the bee store again and ask them to ship a box to avoid catastrophe.
      Lavender oil, peanut butter, and even honey are supposed to all work like plantain. Alcohol kills the venom, so at the very least you can use vodka if nothing else is handy, lol.

      • Emily Heath says :

        Sounds like a good excuse to start bringing vodka down to beekeeping!

        Have you got a tree in your garden you could set a swarm trap up in, in the hope that if they do swarm they settle there?

        • willowbatel says :

          yeah, i’ve got 4, but none of them would be convenient to put a trap in.
          Its supposed to be cold and rainy for the rest of the week, so I don’t think the bees will be swarming soon. With any luck everything will time out perfectly and I’ll get the hive painted in time for a week of warm weather.

  2. Emma Sarah Tennant says :

    I got stung for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago and found out I am slightly allergic. Maybe should plant plantains in our apiary ;P

    • willowbatel says :

      Was your throat affected at all, or do you just have a lot of swelling. Cause swelling isn’t uncommon at all.
      lol, they aren’t that unattractive, they’re really just a common weed you’d never think to learn the name of. I wonder if you have enough sun in your apiary… the plantain we have only grow in full sun. They have weird stalks for flowers, and I’ve never seen a bee interested in them. Which is probably good because it means you won’t accidentally grab a handful of bee if you’re picking some for a bee sting, lol.

  3. Nicole says :

    I shared this on my facebook, this remedy could save peoples lives, thank you!! x

    • willowbatel says :

      I don’t know that it’s “approved by modern medicine” so do be aware that you should always have your epipen or something similar on hand. That said, I’ve been stung several times since I started using plantain, and every time I’ve used it I’ve avoided all serious reactions and a trip to the hospital.

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