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Carpenter Bee Sting- Know What To Do!
If you have acquired a carpenter bee sting and are worried about what could happen to you, here’s all you need to know about a carpenter bee sting and how it can be treated.
“Carpenter bee” term indicates those hundreds of species that form their nests deep inside the woods. The appearance and behaviour of various species may differ by where it lives and their territory. Most of the carpenter bees reside in deep woods. They are generally alone, but sometimes they live in smaller family units rather than building a beehive.
When left alone, carpenter bees usually do not attack. They are not highly dangerous. In this article, we will cover some ways to distinguish carpenter bees and what has to be done to evade getting stung from one of them, and how to treat a stung by a carpenter bee.
What if you provoke a carpenter bee?
If you ever see a carpenter bee flying aggressively and coming towards you, know that most probably it is a male carpenter bee. They usually put an aggressive display which serves as a defence mechanism for the bees. This is because the male carpenter bee does not possess a stinger.
On the other side, a female carpenter bee possesses a stinger, which might contain venom. You already know how dangerous venom can be. A female carpenter bee can sting more than once when provoked.
Females typically reside near their eggs. So it is highly doubtful that you will ever come across them except when you try to disturb them or the nest with their eggs. Female bees sting only when they feel threatened or are directly provoked.
How to treat a carpenter bee sting
Female carpenter bees, as you already know, contain venom. When any female carpenter bee stings you, you will seemingly feel a painful sensation along with a piercing pain at the point of sting and the skin that surrounds the sting.
Carpenter bees do not lose the stinger even after they bite you, so you do not have to get rid of the stinger to remove the venom. But, if you ever get bitten by a carpenter bee, you must start treating the area to avoid spread.
Here’s how you can treat the area:
- Clean the sting area to avoid the spread of the infection. Use a good soap ad slightly warm water to rinse the sting area and the surrounding area and pat it dry.
- You will have to inflammation down from the skin as much as you can. To avoid swelling and inflammation, use a cold compress, a cold mouthwash, or a cold gel pack on the skin to calm any inflammation.
- If the pain persists, you can always take some painkillers available over the counter, such as acetaminophen or Tylenol, Advil or ibuprofen, or some other medication. You can also apply a cream or gel to reduce swelling, such as an antihistamine cream, for instance, Benadryl.
Always keep in mind that a carpenter bee can sting more than once. If you have multiple carpenter bee stings, you must see a doctor immediately.
Also, the carpenter bee stings may cause some allergic reactions, which you must avoid. If you reside in an area with lots of bees, you must follow preventive measures to avoid the pain and inflammation caused due to carpenter bee stings.
Carpenter bee sting- Prevention
The most reliable way to prevent a carpenter bee sting is to avoid these tiny insects as much as possible. If you locate a carpenter bee’s nest, do not ever use your hands to dislodge it, and don’t try to remove it without protective gear.
Carpenter bees mostly reuse the same area of wood to make their nest every year. Once you spot a nest, you will likely be able to figure out where they will make the nest and prevent anyone from touching the area where they are likely to make the nest.
If you figure out where the bee is held up inside the nest, you can insert an insecticide carefully inside the hole directly. Unpainted wood, nail holes, and some other exposed wood surfaces are attractive places for these bees to prepare the nest. Pain, wood stain, and sealants can prevent a carpenter bee from nesting in the space around you, like your patio, deck, or outdoor areas.
If the carpenter bee directly lands on you, try not to make it fly away with your hands or move suddenly. Remain calm and wait for some time for the carpenter bee to fly away. When you spend time outdoors, make sure to dispose of the garbage immediately. Fruit pits, fruit juices, and any other sweet-smelling snacks are more likely to attract these bees. Be mindful of these foods when you pack for a picnic the next time in the woods.
What if you spot a lot of bees but do not know which one is a female carpenter bee. Here’s how to find out.
How to identify a carpenter bee?
Carpenter bee appears quite similar to bumblebees, and you might get confused when you spot any of these. Carpenter bees you usually spot in the United States tend to be more black coloured than yellow. They have a shiny, smooth black abdomen.
Whereas when you spot bumblebees, you will notice they possess fuzzy yellow abdomen entirely covered in hair. There is thick black hair on the carpenter bee’s hind legs.
In springtime, carpenter bees are highly active. They come out more often during April and May in the northern hemisphere to look for partners for mating. Female carpenter bees then prepare the nest and lay eggs. Once they lay eggs, they die shortly.
By August, their eggs hatch and develop to form adult bees. After a small summer activity, these bees get back to their shelters in the nest until the following spring, and their lifecycle starts again.
Signs you have developed an allergy
Know that getting stung by a bee is not a concerning issue but getting stung multiple times requires medical attention immediately. There are some signs or symptoms that indicate you have developed an allergy after a carpenter bee sting. These include:
- Difficulty breathing.
- Nausea or dizziness
- A swollen tongue
- Loss of consciousness
All these symptoms are also signs of anaphylaxis and may indicate that you are getting an allergic reaction to the sting.
If anyone shows these signs of a carpenter bee sting allergy or other bees allergy, you should call any local emergency service or 911. While you wait for the help to get back to you, you can try doing the following:
- Administer epinephrine if a particular person has a bee sting kit ready.
- Roll the person over their back and lift their feet above the heart if you notice any signs of shock to be present.
- Comfort the individual, and try keeping them comfortable and warm.
- Observe vital signs such as pulse and breathing, and be ready to deliver CPR if needed.
The Bottom Line
A carpenter bee sting usually is painful, similar to stings of any other bee that contains venom. Carpenter bees, however, can sting more than once, which makes their stinging slightly more concerning.
You can treat the carpenter bees at home itself, and once you begin treating it, you will notice the pain go away within 24 hours. However, if you are still sensing the symptoms, such as pain and swelling, you need to visit a nearby doctor for safety.
If you develop an allergy due to a carpenter bee sting or the bee stings you more than once or twice, you must seek immediate medical supervision.