Carpenter bees also known as wood bees are widely considered the darlings of the bee species. The bad news however, is that the females can sting but there is a little good news in there are well. Carpenter bees don’t live in colonies because they are solitary bees living on their own and minding their business. So if you come under attack it is typically by one bee that has been provoked and feels the need to protect itself (or teach you a lesson).
Male carpenter bees are not equipped to sting so they will only buzz around you aggressively and loudly, bumping into you once in a while to make their anger known. In most cases, because people can’t differentiate between the bee species they are scared away thinking it is a honey bee on the war path. This is effective enough to deter human provocation for carpenter bees.
Importance of carpenter bees
These are very important to the environment because they help in the process of pollination which ensures plants can reproduce and bring forth food. They are large in size and this works to their advantage as they get more pollen on their frames and can pollinate even more plants in a shorter period of time.
Because they burrow into wood to lay their eggs and breed the next generation of bees they are not honey producing bees. This has caused some people to believe they are not as important as they honey producing cousins but without them food production will be very negatively affected.
What to do when stung by a carpenter bee
Treatment varies depending on how one reacts. With severe reactions that cause respiratory distress it is recommended that one goes to hospital immediately. In most cases people with an anaphylactic reaction to bee stings may have a history so in that case they should have an epinephrine autoinjector handy to administer emergency medication before the symptoms become fatal.
With a moderate reaction one can wash the area with warm water and soap after scraping off the stinger and then apply a cold compress to help with the swelling and pain. Take an over the counter pain reliever to stop the residual pain and elevate the area to keep the swelling down.
How do you know you are allergic to bee stings?
There are very obvious signs that one has a severe reaction to a bee sting that can lead to a fatality. These include:
- Rapid swelling of areas unrelated to the bee sting like the eye lids, lips and for some people even the tongue.
- Wheezing as the tongue obstructs the air passageways and general difficulty in breathing
- Dizziness and fainting spells
- Stomach cramps and disorienting headaches
- A red rash that appears widely on the body