A (Hopefully) Brief Health Update

31 Oct 2015 by Meredith Nicholls, No Comments »

Courtesy of our own Nurse Donna, we have been advised of a health concern that may be rapidly becoming something to be on guard for. *With the warm Arizona climate, bees are part of our outside surroundings for most of the year. In the event of a bee sting, most people will experience a mild reaction including redness, swelling, pain, or possible red welt at the site. Within a few hours, most signs or symptoms will recede. Immediate first aid treatment for bee stings include removal of the stinger with a flat card or object, cleansing of the site with soap and water, and application of an ice pack to relieve pain and swelling. Antihistamines like Benadryl can also be taken to relieve swelling and itching. Bee venom may trigger a stronger allergic or moderate reaction that increases over time, including extreme redness and swelling. If signs and symptoms don’t seem to be improving within a few hours, or more serious signs and symptoms occur, seek appropriate medical attention. A proactive response is always best- seek the advice of a physician if there are any concerns.*

Here are some tips on avoiding a bee sting.

  • Remain calm!! Bees are much more afraid of you than you are of them. If you remain calm, they will likely just ignore you.
  • Don’t swat at bees. That will aggravate them and make them more likely to sting you.
  • Wear shoes outdoors.
  • Don’t disturb hives or insect nests.
  • Don’t wear sweet-smelling perfume, lotions, or hair products.
  • Avoid bright-colored or flower-printed clothing.
  • Cover food when eating outdoors.
  • Be careful when outside with open soda cans because yellow jackets like to climb inside for a sip.
  • Watch out for garbage cans because they attract bees and yellow jackets.

A bee collects pollen from a flower.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia and Google Images.

Here are some interesting bee facts.

  • The honey bee has been around for millions of years.
  • Honey bees, scientifically also known as Apis mellifera, which mean “honey-carrying bee”, are environmentally friendly and are vital as pollinators.
  • Honey is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
  • Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water; and it’s the only food that contains “pinocembrin”, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.
  • Honey bees have 6 legs, 2 compound eyes made up of thousands of tiny lenses (one on each side of the head), 3 simple eyes on the top of the head, 2 pairs of wings, a nectar pouch, and a stomach.
  • Honey bees have 170 odorant receptors, compared with only 62 in fruit flies and 79 in mosquitoes. Their exceptional olfactory abilities include kin recognition signals, social communication within the hive, and odor recognition for finding food. Their sense of smell is so precise that it could differentiate hundreds of different floral varieties and tell whether a flower carried pollen or nectar from meters away.
  • The honey bee’s wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
  • The average worker bee produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1 kg of honey.
  • It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
  • A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
  • he bee’s brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance traveled and foraging efficiency.
  • The queen bee can live up to 5 years and her role is to fill the hive with eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength. She lays up to 2500 eggs per day. The queen bee has control over whether she lays male or female eggs. If she uses stored sperm to fertilize the egg, the larva that hatches is female. If the egg is left unfertilized, the larva that hatches is male. In other words, female bees inherit genes from their mothers and their fathers while male bees inherit only genes from their mothers.
  • A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.
  • Larger than the worker bees, the male honey bees (also called drones), have no stinger and do no work at all. All they do is mating. In fact, before winter or when food becomes scarce, female honeybees usually force surviving males out of the nest.
  • Each honey bee colony has a unique odor for members’ identification.
  • Only worker bees sting, and only if they feel threatened and they die once they sting. Queens have a stinger, but they don’t leave the hive to help defend it.
  • It is estimated that 1100 honey bee stings are required to be fatal. (Assuming you are not allergic to bees.)
  • Honey bees communicate with one another by dancing.
  • During winter, honey bees feed on the honey they collected during the warmer months. They form a tight cluster in their hive to keep the queen and themselves warm.
  • In order to make honey, bees take nectar, swallow it, halfway digest it, then carry it back to he hive, where they regurgitate it and dehydrate it.

*Quoted directly from instructions on Edmodo.


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