Oh, the bees. They are wonderful, aren’t they? If you’ve poked around this blog at all, you’ll have noticed that I am a beekeeper. And I have been stung. This is my second year, and so far I have about 9 stings under my belt. I have had swollen hands and legs and and face (I was stung on my head – the little gal got stuck in my hair). I don’t think 9 sounds so bad. Consider that there are upwards of 50,000 of them in the hive, over 100,000 between the two summers. That’s a 0.00009% crime rate. I’d live in that neighborhood.
Yes, it does hurt at the time of the actual sting, but the pain doesn’t last. That part doesn’t concern me at all. It’s just a little pinch. It’s the day or two after when the swelling and itching starts and lasts for the better part of a week. How annoying.
My neighbor once suggested trying clay. I’ve heard other things, too, like baking soda, aloe, etc. I usually just let nature take its course. But I’m done with that nonsense. I am here to say that I’ve tried the clay. AND IT TOTALLY WORKS.
I got to the clay about a minute, maybe two, after the sting happened. I made a paste and slathered it on my face. Oh, did I forget to mention? I was stung on my left cheekbone two days ago. I’m not sure what pissed her off, but I can say with some certainty that it was my fault. Honey bees just DO NOT come up and sting you for no reason. Though the species I got this year (a hybrid of Carniolan/Italian) seem to be a little feistier than last year’s (Italians). But I hope that feistiness will carry them through our harsh Montreal winter. The Italians were not so fortunate last winter.
Though a different brand, this is the same as the clay I used . I’ve read that Bentonite clay is great, too. I would imagine that if you happen to find yourself near a mud pit or a potters studio, that might do the trick as well. Should you ever have the opportunity to try those remedies, please report back to me.
I applied the clay twice that afternoon, each time washing it off after it dried. Just before bed, I noticed the area around my lower jaw on the same side of the sting starting to get a familiar buzzing tenderness to it. I made up some more clay and applied it over the whole area and I went to bed, protecting my pillow with an old t-shirt. In the morning, I washed it off, and even a day later, NO SWELLING. Well hallelujah! I can continue beekeeping now that I’ve found a way to mitigate the risk of itchy-puffy face and extremities. All that remains is a small bump where the stinger got me, and I expect that’ll clear up in a day or two.
Also, I would be remiss if I did not say how ultra cool having dried clay on your face looks. I’m pretty sure you’d have a hard time telling me apart from this guy. Halloween costume, anyone?
Do you have any tried and true bee sting (or other insect bite) remedies? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.