Orange County Beekeepers’ Advice: What to Do in Case of a Bee Sting

Bee on a Bee Buster Employee - Orange county beekeepers

Getting stung by a bee or wasp is an unpleasant and painful experience, but don’t panic.

If you’re not allergic to the venom, usually the sting won’t have a long-lasting effect on your body. As the reaction to the protein in the venom of the bee or wasp, you may experience swelling, redness, itching and instant sharp pain. In most cases, these symptoms will disappear within a few hours. In the worst case scenario, it’ll go away after a day or two.

For any concerns and honey bee emergencies, contact Bee Busters, Orange county beekeepers and bee removal experts, who will provide bee rescue, relocation or removal.

To find out what to do and how to treat mild and moderate reactions to a bee sting, keep on reading!

Wasp or bee sting

The wasp and the honey bee look alike, but there are some differences. Regarding the sting, the most important difference is that the bee sting stays in your skin. Without it, a honey bee dies right after the sting, while a wasp retains its stinger and can attack multiple times. You’ll instantly feel sharp burning pain and after a few minutes, you’ll notice a red welt with a small white spot in the center. The affected area may slightly swell.

Remove the bee sting

If it’s a bee sting, remove the stinger as soon as possible. Do not grab the end to pull it out because that’s where the venom sac is. Scrape it out with your nail instead. Wash the sting site with mild soap and cold water.

Assess your body’s reaction

The aforementioned swelling, pain, redness and itching around the sting area are considered a normal body’s reaction. A more severe one, called large local reaction, is when you experience swelling beyond the sting spot that spreads to the whole body part. But don’t be alarmed. After the first 48 hours, the swelling will gradually reduce itself and disappear in the following 5-10 days.

About 5 percent of the human population is allergic to honey bee venom and another 5 percent or more have had a large local reaction. If you experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting, rapid heart rate, dizziness, diarrhea, pale skin, trouble breathing or swallowing, you may be experiencing anaphylactic shock. Call the medical emergency or immediately go to the nearest hospital.

Apply a home remedy

After the sting is removed and the area cleaned, apply one of these home remedies to ease the pain.

Baking soda or salt

Baking soda helps soothe the area and reduces the swelling and the itching. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area. You can use salt instead of soda.


Honey has natural antibacterial effect and healing characteristics. It will provide a quick relief.

Lavender essential oil

Apply one or a couple drops of pure lavender essential oil directly on the skin. It is well-known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic effects. It’s very gentle and can be applied undiluted.


Garlic is known for its natural antibacterial effect. Crush a few cloves of garlic and apply the juice to the sting site.


Place an ice cube wrapped in a paper tissue on the affected area for at least 15-20 minutes to reduce the swelling.

Vinegar and lemon for wasp stings

Opposite to bee stings, wasp’s venom is alkaline. You can neutralize it with an acidic home remedy like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Apply it with a piece of cloth or bandaging for at least 15 minutes. You can also use apple cider vinegar, or a lemon cut in half and placed on the skin flesh side down.

Contact Orange County beekeepers

Getting stung by a bee or wasp can happen by mere chance, but just to be sure, in case you spot a bee or a wasp, move away. If it comes near you, don’t swat at it. If you’re having troubles with honey bee swarms or wasp nests, contact Bee Busters, who are at your service night and day. Our well trained and experienced staff will respond promptly.