Tips for Avoiding Bees and Preventing Bee Stings

Dr. Greene’s take on bees…

Tips for Avoiding Bees and Preventing Bee Stings

The best way to avoid bee stings is prevention. Effective prevention means not attracting bees and not frightening them if they are present. Prevention techniques are especially important in the fall, when most stings occur. It takes 2 million visits to flowers to make one pound of honey. In the autumn, as flowers disappear, our buzzy friends search more widely for food and take more risks.

To avoid attracting bees, try the following:

  1. Avoid fragrances, including hair spray, scented soaps, lotions, and oils. A bee will usually approach children with a sweet scent. Avon’s Skin-So-Soft may make bees less apt to explore, and it is safe even on young children.
  2. Don’t wear brightly colored clothing, particularly floral patterns, i.e. don’t look like a flower patch. Bee eyes also see in the ultraviolet range. If the pattern lights up under black light, it is particularly interesting to bees.
  3. Be very careful with food. Cans of soda are notorious: Bees climb in unobserved, and are frightened into stinging when the child drinks. Something as small as a forgotten raspberry jam stain on a sweater can be a problem.

If a bee does land, take steps to avoid frightening it:

  1. Hold still. Tell kids to pretend they’re statues. Rapid movement startles the bee and encourages stinging.
  2. Try blowing gently on the bee. This can encourage it to move on while not startling it.
  3. Wear shoes. Bees will of course be frightened if you step on or near them. Shoes don’t make them less frightened, but they do protect feet from frightened stingers.
  4. Wear long pants when you know you are going to be in an area that is likely to have a high bee concentration in it, such as a field.
  5. Wear a hat. Furry animals steal honey. Bees are in a heightened state of readiness when they are close to hair or fur. They have been proven to have a lower threshold for stinging people with hats.

 

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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  1. Judy

    I am allergic to bee venom. What time of day/weather condition is safest?

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    • Hi Judy,

      Thanks for writing in.

      The WORST time for bee stings is the fall. Bees aren’t typically aggressive (they don’t go out of their way to sting you), but in the fall they can be. Winter, especially if it’s cold where you live is the best time to avoid bee stings.

      Others, please chime in here. Does anyone know about best and worst times of day?

      I hope that helps.
      Best, @MsGreene
      Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

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  2. Camille

    I wish bees would just get hit with your windshield and they would all die but the flowers would stay pollinated with butterflies around

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  3. Ebony Carver

    Im terrified of bee wasps an hornets
    They seems to always swarm around me every chance i get

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  4. tanisha

    I Am Very Scared Of Bees To The Point I Don’t Like Going Outside At All. But I Have To Do To Work And I Have A Very Active Child Who Loves The Out Doors And It Wouldn’t Be Right Keeping Him In The House Because I’m Scared…

    So My Question Is What Can I Do To Prevent Being Stung Or Terrorized By Bees???

    Because I Sit Still When They Come Around, I Don’t Put On “Smell Good” When I Go Outside And I Don’t Bother Them But They Always Seem To Bother Me

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    • sheri

      how do you get stung by a bee

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      • Bee Stinger

        Just mess with it or they will automatically sting you if you have flower 🌺 clothing on or very sweet scents

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  5. Jake

    But what if you get scared if God forbid a bee lands on you what do you do then?

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    • Dom

      My mom just closes her eyes I can’t stand bees i would rather get cut thanbhave bees

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  6. morrellkaren

    Is there any vitamin or remedy you can take or put on to help prevent a bee sting

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    • Jake

      I don’t think so

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      • Ryder. S

        I wish

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