What Do You Do If Attacked by a Swarm of Bees?

If you are ever attacked by a swarm of bees, it is important not to panic. Bee swarms are caused when a hive becomes overpopulated, a new queen emerges, and the old queen escapes with about 20,000 of her loyal followers. The swarm will seek temporary shelter as scouts hunt for a safe and more permanent location. In more urban areas, bee swarms are sometimes discovered on lamp posts, cars, and windows.

Humanity has long had a love-hate relationship with bees. While sometimes terrifying, bees bring with them a lot of benefits. First and foremost, bees are critical for our crops. The bees will collect nectar and pollen from plants to create their food. Plants need them to do this as part of their reproductive process. So, bees are needed for fruits and new seeds. This leads us to the second benefit: honey.

Honey has often been described as the world’s most perfect food. Even though honey is loaded with sugar, it has many nutritional benefits. Unrefined honey is full of various antioxidants that may provide major benefits for your health. Some studies have found that honey can lower oxidative stress, decrease triglycerides, and even lessen fat gain. Honey can even kill bacteria and speed the healing of wounds. Best of all, honey does not go bad. Archaeologists have discovered edible honey in ancient tombs that are thousands of years old.

The Reasons Bees Swarm

Despite all the good bees do, seeing a swarm is still very scary. In fact, many people have at least heard a story in which a person was severely stung or even killed by a swarm. However, the reason that bees swarm is mostly a need for more space. The main activities of a colony, such as collecting pollen and making honey, will require a lot of real estate. When space starts to become an issue, their solution is to swarm.

A bee colony is far more than a collection of individuals. In many respects, a hive is its own organism. Essentially, the needs of the many will always take precedence over the needs of the one. Therefore, as a collective, the hive will always work for the greater good of the whole. Regardless, in many cases, a swarm is a form of reproduction. When a successful colony grows to a certain size, it will decide to split into two, each with its own queen. The group that splits off begins its journey as a swarm.

What Should You Do If Attacked by Bees?

  1. Don’t panic, but run! It is important to get away and find shelter inside. The mistake that many people will make is standing still. This is only going to give more bees the opportunity to sting you. If you are not near a building or car, run through bushes or shrubs. This can distract them. But, whatever you do, keep running. Bees have been known to chase a victim for half a mile.
  2. Do not try to escape by jumping into the water! It is a big mistake to think that your swimming pool or a pond will provide protection. While the bees cannot swim, you still have to breath. Bees are persistent and patient. They will wait you out. When you come up for air, there is a good chance you will find them there ready for you.
  3. Once you are safe, immediately remove any stingers. Bees will leave their stingers behind with the venom sack still attached. If they are not removed, the sack will continue to pump venom. The most effective way to remove a bee stinger is to gently scrape a knife blade across your skin. However, using your fingernail will work.
  4. For most people, a single bee sting is not a big deal. Regardless, if you have been stung multiple times, seek medical attention as quickly as possible, especially if you start to have an allergic reaction which can include the appearance of hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the throat or face. A healthy adult can survive hundreds of stings, but a person who is allergic will find even one dangerous.

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