What Do I Do If I’m Attacked by Africanized Honeybees?
If you are stung by a honeybee, if possible, SCRATCH THE STINGER OUT to remove it from your skin. TRY NOT TO PINCH it to pull it out, that will only inject more of the venom into you. However, if you can’t scratch it out, get it out as quickly as possible in any manner, rather than leave it in until you can get something to scratch it out. The venom sac will continue pulsing, injecting the venom into you as long as the stinger is embedded in your skin. If you are “bumped” or chased by honeybees, get away as quickly as you can safely do so. You don’t want to run and trip and fall if you are on rocky or uneven ground. Get into your vehicle or inside a home if at all possible. You may bring bees in with you, but they will fly to the windows trying to get out. DO NOT JUMP INTO A POOL OR LAKE, the bees will wait for you to surface. Also, do not run up to another person and ask for help as you will involve them in the attack. Honeybees target areas on your body where carbon dioxide is exiting. They will begin stinging around your nose, mouth, eyes, etc. Do not flail or attempt to swat the bees, just get away as quickly as you can safely do so. If you can cover your face, except your eyes, as you make your retreat it will be helpful. If you can’t get inside a house or car, you must get at least ¼ mile away before the bees will stop attacking you. Once you have been targeted as a threat, and the “attack pheromone” inherent in a sting is released, you have very few options other than distance and finding complete cover.
If you begin to have difficulty breathing after you are stung, it is critical to get emergency assistance immediately. It is also prudent to seek medical attention if you have been stung more than 15 times. A normal reaction for a person who is not allergic to a bee sting may include swelling and redness in the area of the sting, after a day or two you may experience extreme itching. If the swelling continues to spread, consult a physician. When you are first stung and after you have scratched out the stinger, you can make a paste of baking soda and water and put it on the sting site to relieve some of the pain. If you are not sensitive to antihistamines, they may also help (consult your doctor if there is any doubt).