Utah Beekeepers' Association

As Currently Organized since 1892; Serving and Representing Utah's Beekeepers Since the Early 1860's.

Are You Allergic to Bee Stings? Probably Not!

Most people who think they are allergic are not.

A bee sting victim typically has localized pain and burning, redness, itchiness, and swelling at and around the site of the sting. This is not necessarily an allergic reaction but simply the victim's immune system responding to the bee venom. This is rarely dangerous.

However, a person who is stung several times may be in danger due to the amount of venom and immediate medical attention may be warranted.

An allergic reaction, on the other hand, has different symptoms which are usually manifested on parts of the body other than the sting site:

  • Rapid swelling around the eyes, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing and/or swallowing
  • Wheezing or hoarseness
  • Itching
  • Dizziness
  • Reddish rash or hives
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness

These reactions are extremely dangerous and require immediate medial attention. Call 911 and get the victim to the hospital. Your medical doctor, Mayo Clinic, HealthLine, and WebMD have more information on bee sting allergies.

First Aid:

As shown in the photo above, a honey bee stinger usually stays in the victim's skin and the bee soon dies from the trauma. A honey bee stinger has a sharp, barbed shaft topped by a venom sac and muscles that pump venom sac contents into the skin.

To reduce the amount of venom that is injected into the skin, the stinger must be removed immediately. Do not use fingers to pinch the stinger out or use tweezers or any other tool that would squeeze more venom into the skin. Instead, promptly scrape the stinger off with a card, coin, or fingernail. If a card or coin is not immediately available, don't waste time to find one. Instead, simply use a fingernail to scrape it out.

Applying Benadryl cream, mud, or a paste made of water and baking soda can soothe the sting. They will not treat an allergic reaction!

More info:

Warning: The author of this page is not a physician and does not pretend to be one on TV.

Do you have a bee swarm in your yard? Don't spray it! Report it!

Melissophobia (or Apiphobia): Fear of bees

Do you have a honey bee swarm in your yard? A beekeeper near you can help you and help the bees.

Simply killing the bees that are in your home or other structure does not eliminate the problem. Along with several pounds of dead and rotting bees remaining in your structure, you will still have considerable wax, honey, and brood in in the structure that will attract mice, ants, foul odor, and physical damage. See this video and this video for a short warning on simply spraying bees that are in your home or other structure.

Bothered by bees or wasps?

To find a beekeeper who will safely remove the swarm -- usually at no charge to you -- go to

Please be prepared to provide the following information to help the beekeeper.

  • What does the swarm look like? (If the nest has a grey "papery" looking appearance, you do not have honey bees but more likely hornets or wasps.)
  • Location of the swarm (physical address).
  • Your name and phone number.
  • What has the swarm landed on?
  • How high up is the swarm?
  • Are there any special concerns in the area (children, water hazards, bees in the house, etc.)?

Honey bee colony in soffit of home in Parowan, Utah, 2015Your beekeeper might also be able to remove an unwanted colony of honey bees that has become established in a hollow tree or in your home or other structure. If he or she needs to open up your structure in any way, they'll need you to sign an agreement that clarifies the work they need to do and any restoration work they will not do. Since removal of honey bees from a structure often requires a lot of time and effort, there may be a charge for this service. Call one of us beekeepers and we'll let you know how or if we can help.

Many people mistake honey bees with other similar insects such as wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. We can only help you with honey bees. If you aren't sure which insect you have check the image below or this more detailed explanation. If you still don't know, call. We'll help you identify the insect and what to do about it.

Click here for more info on identification of bees and wasps.

Swarm Prevention for Beekeepers

Swarm Prevention Tips for Beekeepers

Overview of Swarm Prevention for beekeepers

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