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Treatments for a Bee Sting by the Eye

Updated on October 06, 2016
Robin profile image

Robin has been keeping bees and harvesting honey for 4 years and enjoys being a backyard beekeeper.

Joined: 10 years agoFollowers: 2,270Articles: 84
Yes, this is me 24 hours after a bee sting to my eyelid AND this isn't an allergic reaction.
Yes, this is me 24 hours after a bee sting to my eyelid AND this isn't an allergic reaction.

Normal Reaction or a Bee Sting Allergy?

If you are having any of the following symptoms, immediately call 911 or go to the hospital. You are having an allergic reaction to the bee sting if you are experiencing:

shortness of breath

a difficult time swallowing

swelling in the mouth or throat

a break out of hives

increased heart rate

decrease in blood pressure

What to Do if a Bee Has Stung You in the Eye

Being stung by a bee can be a very scary occurrence; if you are stung in the eye it can be days before you are back to normal. Being a beekeeper, I expect to be stung; it's part of the job. I didn't, however, expect to be stung in the eye.

This article includes:

  • Information on treatments—both home remedies as well as prescriptions.
  • A photo progression chronicling the recovery of my facial swelling from hours after the sting up to six days when I was almost fully recovered.
  • Types of reactions.
  • Information on how long the itching and swelling will last.
  • Prevention.
  • Information on bee biology.

How to Treat a Non-Allergenic Bee Sting: Act Fast!

  1. After a bee stings, a stinger and sac of venom is left behind in your skin. To reduce the amount of venom in your body remove stinger and bag of venom as quickly as possible. You can SCRAPE the stinger and bag of venom out of your skin with a fingernail or other similar object. Do not pull out stinger or squeeze the location as more venom can be released. The longer that you leave in the stinger, the more venom will be left in your body causing swelling and itchiness.
  2. Once the stinger is removed, wash area with soap and water and apply antiseptic and soothing cream like hydrocortisone.
  3. If possible, and if over two years of age and not pregnant, immediately take an antihistamine, e.g., Benadryl, to reduce swelling and itching. (When I was stung on my finger, I had minimal swelling and itching because I took a Benadryl immediately. I did not take a Benadryl shortly after my facial sting because I didn't want to fall asleep. It was a big mistake.)
  4. Apply ice pack to site to reduce swelling and for pain relief.
  5. For additional pain relief, you can take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.

Bee Sting Treatments

Over the Counter
Home Remedies for Bee Stings (apply to site of sting)
Soap and water
Dexamethasone (Decadron) a corticosteroid to treat allergy. It decreases your body's natural defense response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions
Meat tenderizer and water paste
Famotide (Pepcid) an H2 Histamine blocker.
Tobacco juice
Hydrocortisone Cream or Calamine Lotion
Hydroxyzine (Atarax) treats itching. Blocks natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. Causes drowsiness.
Ice Pack
Benadryl or other Antihistamine
Baking soda and water paste
Chewed plantain leaf
Crushed basil or parsley leaves

These treatments are NOT for those that have severe allergic reactions. For severe allergic reactions, epinephrine will need to be injected to stop the progression of symptoms.

Severe allergic reactions can result in death within minutes of being stung. Having an Epi-Pen on hand if you are allergic to bees is a must. I had a reaction to the sting that was fairly severe, mainly due to the location of the sting on my eyelid. I, however, did NOT have an allergic reaction to the venom. It is very rare for someone to be allergic to bee venom, however, around 50 people a year die from a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting.

Medications I Took After Bee Sting

This treatment was under the advisement of an emergency room doctor:

Day 1: Benadryl every 8 hours and ice.

Day 2: Benadryl in the morning. Was given prescription in the afternoon. Took 10mg of Dexamethasone (Decadron), one tablet of Hydroxyzine, and one tablet of Famotidine.

Day 3-6: Hydroxyzine and Famotidine until swelling and itching were gone as prescribed.

Bee sting swelling around eye the day after the sting
Bee sting swelling around eye the day after the sting | Source

Three Types of Bee Sting Reactions and Symtoms

Pain at site of sting
Pain around site of sting
Swelling at site of sting
Swelling can extend beyond site of sting. If stung in eye, could radiate to bridge of nose, down cheek, and to other eye
Difficulty breathing and swallowing
Redness at site of sting
Redness around site of sting
Face, throat and mouth swelling
Increased heart rate
Hives (red and itchy spots) beyond site of sting
Drop in blood pressure
Restlessness or Anxiety

The Progression of My Facial Swelling: Day One to Day Six After the Bee Sting

One of the scariest parts of being stung by a bee on your face is the reaction. I chronicled my progression as a guide for those that have been stung. It took about a week for my face to fully recover and there were a few days that were especially bad. If you've been stung, I hope your reaction wasn't as bad, but if it is, you will fully recover.

Day One: Day of the Sting

I was stung in the afternoon after going into my hive. I started swelling within an hour. If you've just been stung, make sure you remove the stinger quickly, take Benadryl as soon as possible, and ice the site of the sting. I also suggest calling your doctor to see if she/he will prescribe any of the medicines I recommend above.

A few hours after sting
A few hours after sting
Eye beginning to close a few hours after sting
Eye beginning to close a few hours after sting
Eye almost closed four hours after sting
Eye almost closed four hours after sting

Day Two: First Day After Sting

Eyelid where sting occured is completely closed in the morning. Began prescription medicine. Swelling begins to travel down my face, into my jaw, and across the bridge of my nose.

Morning after bee sting to the eyelid. One eye completely closed.  This was a scary, almost claustrophobic, feeling.  The second day was definitely the worst.
Morning after bee sting to the eyelid. One eye completely closed. This was a scary, almost claustrophobic, feeling. The second day was definitely the worst.
Eighteen hours after bee sting
Eighteen hours after bee sting
One day after bee sting to the eye. Began prescription medication 24 hours after initial sting.
One day after bee sting to the eye. Began prescription medication 24 hours after initial sting.
Close up of eye one day after sting.
Close up of eye one day after sting.

Day Three

I have been taking prescription medicine for one day. Eyelid is open but bruising is more evident. Cheek, jaw, and bridge of nose are puffy.

Forty-eight hours after bee sting to the eye. Began prescription medication 12 hours prior.
Forty-eight hours after bee sting to the eye. Began prescription medication 12 hours prior.
Reaction on the third day.  The bruising is more evident in this photo.
Reaction on the third day. The bruising is more evident in this photo.
48 hours after bee sting to the eye. Began prescription medication the previous day.  I finally went out of the house, although I wore sunglasses all day.
48 hours after bee sting to the eye. Began prescription medication the previous day. I finally went out of the house, although I wore sunglasses all day.

Day Four

Feeling a lot better today. Eyelid is almost completely open. Bruising and slight swelling is still evident.

Four days after bee sting.
Four days after bee sting.
Four days after bee sting.
Four days after bee sting.

Day Five

There is still some swelling in my jaw, and I still have bruising under the eye. This was actually a difficult day to be seen because I looked like I was in a fight and not stung by a bee.

Five Days after bee sting. Eyes are slightly puffy and black and blue underneath.
Five Days after bee sting. Eyes are slightly puffy and black and blue underneath.

Day Six

I'm almost back to normal. There's still slight bruising and swelling.

Day Six: Eye is still slightly puffy and black underneath.
Day Six: Eye is still slightly puffy and black underneath.

How Long Will the Swelling and Itchiness Last?

If you are stung on a sensitive part of your body like the eye or lip, it can take 5 to 7 days for the swelling to be completely gone. If you are stung on another part of your body (a hand, arm, leg, or foot) the swelling should go down in two to three days. However, in most cases you will have itchiness for up to a week.

The amount of swelling from a bee sting depends on:

  • The location of the sting (areas of the body that are more sensitive like the lip or eye swell significantly more)
  • Whether or not you promptly removed the stinger
  • Your treatment of the sting immediately after you were stung.

Bee stinging and leaving behind stinger
Bee stinging and leaving behind stinger | Source

How to Prevent Bee Stings

Worker honey bees sting for one reason: to protect the hive or themselves. Honey bees are usually not offensive animals; they sting if they are threatened. Simply letting the bee be, is your best course of action. The bee will eventually fly away, and you will be left without a sting and the bee will be back to its business of collecting nectar and pollinating your flowers. However, if you swat, hit, or step on the bee, it will most likely sting you. It is a natural defense mechanism.

Bees are fascinating animals. The hive works as one large superorganism; each bee has a job. Their role in the hive is predetermined by their age and what is occurring in and out of the hive. The bees that sting are either guard bees or forager bees. Bees near a hive sting to protect their home. Away from the hive, most bees will not sting if they land on you.

Beekeepers wear protective clothing for this reason. Guard bees protect the hive from intruders, whether they are a skunk or a human. Most beekeepers are not stung when they go in the hive because they take precautions. The two best defenses against bee stings are your protective clothing and smoke.

How does Smoke Prevent Bee Stings?

For a beekeeper, having a good smoker is a must. Smoke does two main things: causes bees to consume honey rather than defend the hive and masks alarm pheromones. When a bee smells smoke it goes into survival mode. It is no longer protecting the hive because the hive is on fire. It instead gorges itself on honey to ensure its survival when it is time to fly out of the hive to safety. Smoke will also mask the alarm pheromone that bees emit when they are under attack. When a hive is "under attack" guard bees will raise their abdomen and release an alarm pheromone called isopentyl acetate. This pheromone is also released when a bee stings inciting other bees to follow suit to protect the hive. This alarm pheromone chemical is also found in bananas; this is why stings sometimes smell like bananas and a reason to never bring a banana near a hive or eat one before entering a hive.

Why do Bees Die after they Sting?

Honey bees, worker honey bees to be exact, have barbed stingers. When a bee stings, its stinger is left in your skin as the bee flies away. Unless removed, the barbs in the stinger ensure that the stinger stays in your skin to release venom for the next 30-45 seconds. When the bee flies away, the stinger is ripped from the bees abdomen causing irreparable damage, and the bee will die.

Queen honey bees do not have barbed stingers so they will not die after they sting. They rarely leave the hive unless to mate or swarm, so it is incredibly unlikely to be stung by one.

Drone Bees, Stingers, and Mating

A drone bee's (male bee) only purpose is to mate with a Queen. Since they do not defend the hive, they do not have stingers. Drones will leave their hive to inseminate queens in an area called a Drone Congregation Area. They will fly 200 to 300 feet above ground attempting to inseminate a queen. While drone bees do not have stingers, their sexual organ is barbed. If they are one of the "lucky" ones to mate, they quickly die after mating because their sexual organ is left inside the queen and ripped from their body. The next drone to inseminate the queen must remove the last drone's sexual organ to inseminate her further. Queens will mate up to 12 times in their one mating flight from their hive.

A Week After the Bee Sting to the Eye

Back to normal after one week
Back to normal after one week | Source

My Story of Being Stung

When I was stung, I had just gone into my hive wearing my beekeeping gear and hood. I was not stung while tending the hive and was fine. Unfortunately, while 10 feet away from my hive, I took off my hood and a bee landed on my eyelid. Had I left the bee alone I probably wouldn't have been stung. Unfortunately, I swiped away at my eye before I thought about what I was doing and was stung in the eyelid. While the sting itself didn't hurt very much, the next few days were a bit uncomfortable.

Searching online, I wanted to know what my next few days after being stung in the eye would be like. Would the swelling get worse or better in the next few days? Would both of my eyes close? Would there be pain and itching? When would I be back to normal? Since there wasn't any information, I thought I would chronicle what happened to my eye after I was stung and the mistakes that I made that impeded my recovery. I hope the information provided helped in your recovery!

Recovering from a Bee Sting

A week after the initial bee sting to the eye, I was completely recovered. While the site of the sting never hurt, it was unnerving not to have the use of one eye for a day, and my equilibrium was off. The closest thing that I can equate it to is claustrophobia. Not being able to open your eye is a troubling feeling. The balance issues could have been due to the medications, but I did not feel completely myself for about six days after the sting. Getting stung is never fun, but if you want to be a beekeeper, there are definite advantages: honey! If you have been stung, please leave your feedback below to help others that are experiencing the effects of a bee sting.

Have you ever been stung in the eye by a bee?

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© 2012 Robin Edmondson


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    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 11 days ago from San Francisco

      Hope you're on the mend, Triagirl! It is odd that it took so long to start to swell. Thanks for sharing that information with us. Good luck to you!

    • Triagirl 12 days ago

      I just got stung by a bee 2 days ago as I was riding my bike. I was going downhill very fast as it happened. The bee stung me and then got stuck behind my sunglasses! I couldn't remove it, it hurt so bad! First 12 hours nothing happened then all of a sudden my left eye totally swelled up and I started getting headache, I felt really bad. My heart rate was going up and down the whole day even though I was just at home taking it easy. I guess that's the chemistry of the bees, their stings are just venomous. I'm happy I saw your post, I now know that I just need some more days of patience. Thanks a lot!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 months ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for your comment, Melissa. I'm surprised that a sting on the top of the head would cause a similar reaction to your eyes. Wow. Hope you are feeling better soon!

    • Melissa 2 months ago

      Hi!! I was actually stung right on the top of my head but I am still looking like you!! Both eyes are 3/4 closed, very puffy under and around eyes. It feels like my forehead has been botoxed!! I was stung 29 hours ago. I am a beekeeper also and have been stung before. This is the worst reaction by far. And all this from the top of my head. Not even on my face!! Was useful to see your photos. Makes me feel I am not alone. Struggling to keep my eyes open!!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 months ago from San Francisco

      I'm so sorry to hear it, Jay. I suggest trying to get some medication from your doctor to help with the swelling. It is no fun, but the meds do help. Best of luck to you; the next few days aren't very fun. :(

    • jay 2 months ago

      I wish I could post a pic cause my right eye was swelled completely shut this morning from a hornet stinging my eye the night before its already opening up but there is still aalot of swelling in my cheek I'm not even sure if I'm allergic or not but i guess if I'm still alive that's a good sign I use to have a epi pen but it was for peanut butter although I still eat it an really don't have any symptoms

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 months ago from San Francisco

      Hi Sharyn. It's interesting how differently some react to the sting. I think scraping away the stinger quickly makes a big difference because less venom is released in the tissue. It took me too long to get the stinger out. I hope your recovery continues to go well. :)

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 months ago from San Francisco

      Sandy, I did feel like I was bruised in my eye. I think it was the pain of the swelling, but it did feel like I was punched. :(

    • Sharyn Arthur - New Zealand 2 months ago

      Wonderful to see your post. I was stung on the eyebrow yesterday - gardening in the vicinity of our backyard hive. I now realise my swollen shut eye is moderate - no swelling across bridge of nose etc - just woke up on Day 2 and thought I would find out more! Minimal itch or pain fortunately. My husband and his bee keeper partner were both attacked while attending to the hive a year or 2 ago when they were not totally kitted out - exposed ankles and hands. My husband's initial swelling on the hand was intense ballooning up his arm and at midnight about 6 hours later on a Saturday we decided to seek medical help - didn't want to go to bed and have him possibly not wake up! He had an injection at the medical centre - can't remember what now but his recovery was so fast and itch free compared to our friend who did not have such an intense reaction but soldiered on with non prescription medication and incredible itch and misery.

    • Sandy 3 months ago

      Did you feel like you had been punched in the eye? My sting in on my eyelid and the entire eye socket hurts so bad.

    • erin 3 months ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience! I am on day 4 and similar expereince to yours!

    • AlyceQ 4 months ago

      Thank you for chronicling this! I found it while Googling my miserable condition right now. Got stung by a yellow jacket about 27 hours ago at the inner side of my right eyebrow. It stung for a couple of hours and I had a headache, then it just went away and I thought I was Wonder Woman or something. Apprx seven hours after the sting, the side of my nose and my inner eye began to swell and I took 12.5 mg doxylamine succinate (Unisom) because all I had was children's Benadryl and I was too afraid to do that math. After a horrible night of waking up every hour, wondering when the slow suffocation would begin (I'm crazy like this), I woke up looking like my 92-year-old grandmother before she passed away. The inner corner of my right eye was puffed up like a giant blister and a little slit represented my tear duct area. Under my eye was a giant puffy blob and alongside my nose spreading outward also swollen. My left eye has just enough swelling at the inside corner to make it look freaky but so far it's constrained mostly to the right. I went to the doctor who told me to take Claritin durning the day and 25 mg of Benadryl at night. He did not offer prednisone. I don't react well to steroids as they make me very hyper but I think I'd do it in this case. The disfigurement and discomfort of the swollen eye is very upsetting. I'll take the Benadryl tonight and hope that tomorrow morning things are better. Tomorrow lunch will mark the 48-hour mark. Thanks so much for looking cheery in your photos, too. It's very calming to me as I am not really taking this in stride. :)

    • Kim 4 months ago

      Thanks for posting. I got stung at the outer end of my eyebrow today while doing a OAV treatment. Didn't have my veil on because the reespirator interferred with it and was a nuisance. Plus it was cool out and the bees were quiet until I stuck the darn vaporizer in the entrance.

      I tend to swell pretty bad, but my doctor wasn't in today and the other dr in her practice wouldn't give me an rx, plus I am allergic to ibuprofen, etc. so just benadryl and cold compresses for me.

      Seeing your progression gives me a good idea of what to expect.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 months ago from San Francisco

      TaniaMarie, thanks for giving us the full account of your recovery and treatment. It's super helpful to other readers! I remember that feeling of pressure at the point of my tear duct—super uncomfortable. I'm glad you went and saw the doctor and started meds. It does help the recovery time. Hope you are better!!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 months ago from San Francisco

      Hi Carolyn. Isn't it interesting how an eyelid sting can be so different than one on the cheek or other part of the face. Thanks for sharing your experience. Everytime I go in thinking it's going to be quick, I don't need a suit, I get stung. I hope you're on the mend!

    • TaniaMarie 4 months ago

      Thank you for writing this. It was the most helpful article I found after being stung. I was stung by a yellowjacket about a cm above the arch of my eyebrow after my daughter accidentally dug into a nest. I was at a park but treated it with a bite stick and ice until we got home a half hour later. I cleaned it, applied a therapik gun, swabbed it with lavender oil & iced it. I was hopeful the reaction would just be a welt but I was woken up in the night by pain & swelling around that eye. By morning my eye looked like your picture within a few hours of your sting with little pain but losts of itching and discomfort from swelling. Later that day It was continuing to swell in the triangular area bounded by the tip of my eyebrow & down and to the side of my nose. The worst area was surrounding my inner tearduct next to my nose. Urgent care doc said it was a normal reaction that follows the lymphatic drainage of the face. He gave me 10mg prednisone to take 2x daily for 5 days and told me to take 50mg benadryl at bedtime. The swelling halved within hours of starting the steroid but it is still present on day 2, and the swelling seems to be more evenly distributed around the eye socket. Dr. said that the swelling should be minimal within 48 hrs and mostly gone by 36 hrs or return for additional tx. My 6yo daughter was stung on the hand and shoulder and I gave the same initial treatment - by the end of the day not a mark on her and no discomfort, thankfully. Thank you for giving a place to share info!

    • Carolyn 4 months ago

      Hi Robin, thanks for this post and your photos. Last year I got stung on the cheek bone by an angry bee about 1.5 hours after we had been in her hive. I had little, almost no, reaction. Yesterday morning I got stung on my eyebrow by a guard bee while doing a quick job (no suit required, or so I thought!) and my face looks very like yours! It is good to see what to expect, thanks! Also, I will add icing to my regime of meds, which I was already doing. Thanks!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 months ago from San Francisco

      Hi Bob. I'm so sorry! Yellow jacket bites can also be incredibly painful and can also cause swelling. Thanks for your account of what happened and let us know if you follow a similar path that I did with the swelling. Good luck!

    • Bob 4 months ago

      Hi Robin, I was using electric hedge trimmers to cut away some weeds in the grass, and upset a nest of yellow jackets. One got in between my eye and my safety glasses, and before I could remove the glasses, stung me on the right eyebrow. Since it didn't really 'sting', I just put a little calamine lotion on it and went back outside to my yard work. About 3 hours later, while having lunch, my wife remarked that my eye looked swollen, and sure enough it was! That was 2 hours ago, and since my eye really swelled up, I found this site and took some Benadryl and put ice on it. It's uncomfortable and annoying, and I look awful, but it's not that bad - I did drive a few miles to run an errand, and am glad I don't have to be back to work for 2 days! Thanks so much for your article and photos - now I know what I have to look forward to!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 months ago from San Francisco

      I'm so sorry to hear that, Nan. I'm sure it's really painful. It sounds like you hit a wasp or yellow-jacket nest in the ground. Bees don't build their hives in the ground. The treatment and effect can be the same as bee stings though. I hope you're feeling better soon!

    • Nan Little 5 months ago

      Thanks so much for this site. I was gardening two days ago and pulled a nest out of the ground, instigating an immediate, furious reaction. I have 9 or 10 stings all over, including my eyelid. I delayed taking Benadryl since I needed to know if it would interfere with my Parkinson's medication, but I did put Benadryl cream on all the stings but the eye. Medics came and we determined my reaction was not allergic (life-threatening), but painful. My face looks just like your photos. This will pass.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 months ago from San Francisco

      There's nothing worse than a bee in your veil. I'm sorry you're face is swelling. Getting the stinger out quickly is so important, but when it happens it's natural to be flustered and not be quick about it. I'm glad you had Bendadryl on hand. Good luck to you!

    • Riley K 5 months ago

      Thank you for your article Robin.

      Sadly a bee made her way into my veil and stung me in the forehead yesterday while I was at work. I immediately dropped what I was doing and got my bag from the truck, because it has my benadryl in it, and then walked away feom the yard to take two. I think I may have forgotten to take the stinger out in time :/ I just woke up to get ready for work, and my eyes are swelling :( sadly I can't drive and just called in sick. Looks like I will spend the rest of the day icing my eye and taking benadryl :/

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 months ago from San Francisco

      Hi Alicia, I'm so sorry to hear about your granddaughter. It's a scary feeling as an adult, so I'm sure it's terrifying for a child. She will probably be afraid of bees for quite a while. You may need to do some reading about bees with her so she doesn't have a fear for a long time. Our daughter is still afraid of bees because of my sting. It's a natural reaction. However, bees don't want to sting you and in most cases are docile creatures just trying to do their job of finding nectar and pollen. Let us know how she is and tell her I understand how much it hurts but it will get better soon.

    • Alicia 5 months ago

      Thanks for posting this! My 6 yr old granddaughter was stung at the eyebrow and I was really concerned with the swelling. Reading this, and seeing your pictures, has been a great resource and help. I've been able to show her your pictures and we've been able to manage expectations for healing.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 months ago from San Francisco

      @ken—being stung multiple times around the face sounds scary. I would recommend seeing a doctor if this happens and getting on medication. I hope you were able to do this and are better now.

      @linda—Rhubarb juice is a great tip for reducing itching. It's interesting how some stings can cause more pain and swelling than others. Getting the stinger out quickly is usually one of the best things you can do to reduce the symptoms. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Linda 5 months ago

      A bee snuck inside with me after sorting the hive, and managed to get me right on my thumb. Because of breastfeeding I tried to hold off on anything other than ice as long as I could, but boy do I regret that now! My hand swelled so much with discolouration right down to the elbow. Urgh! Rhubarb juice has been fantastic for getting rid of the itches but this is definitely the worst response to a sting I've had. Looking forward to getting my hand back again hopefully soon!

    • Ken 6 months ago

      Was stung between eye and eyebrow and a few times on my ear and head by bees. my eye keeps swelling at night even 6 days later, but goes down after I get up. My lymp nodes under my ears were swelling and actually painful around day 4, but they have gotten better. Just waiting for my left eye to stop swelling at night.

    • Devin 7 months ago

      Thank you this was helpful

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 7 months ago from San Francisco

      Hi Kathy, I'm glad you went to the doctor. The next few days aren't fun, but you will be okay. I hope your hive is a calm one. Last year we had two hives that were too aggressive. They died off, but this year our bees are so calm. The difference of a good queen! Good luck to you!!

    • Kathy 7 months ago

      Thank you. We are new to beekeeping. I watched my husband check the hives from what I thought was a safe distance. Unfortunately a kamikaze honeybee headed straight for my eyebrow. It looks like my experience is paralleling yours. I appreciate the pictures so I know what to expect. I did go to the doctor 24 hours after the sting and she put me on steroids. I'm a little past day 2 now but still have a long way to go before I am ready to go out in public! The worst part is that I wear glasses and my eye is still so swollen that I have to wear them lopsided. Learned our lesson, we won't be touching a hive without full gear and smoke.

    • Emerald 8 months ago

      This article and all the comments gave me a lot of comfort. I was adjusting the lid to my hive - I noticed it was tilted. I was literally there a second before a bee kamakizied toward my right eyebrow. 5 hours later I my whole eyes is swollen and the bridge of my nose is as well. I took benedryl and have kept up on aloe and such. Today is a bit worse - day two - and I know what you mean by he feeling of claustrophobia! However this has taught me a huge lesson in beekeeping, I will not stop keeping those cute little nuggets!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 14 months ago from San Francisco

      I'm glad you are taking meds, Patrick. It's a scary feeling when your face swells. I hope you have a speedy recovery!

    • Patrick 14 months ago


      Thanks for this, I have been stung in the eye on two separate occasions and this time is so much worse, I think there must be more venom in there this time. My face is so bad that you can't see that I actually have an eye, my whole head is so swollen! I have been given steroids and antihistamines by my doctor, so can't wait for them to kick in. Your story is very comforting, thank you:-)

    • Nancy,Tahoe 15 months ago

      I'll add my thanks to everyone else's. Very comforting to see the pictures. I got stung much like Greg the mountain biker. I was road biking and the bee was caught between my eye and my sunglasses at about 2 pm on Monday, I had mild swelling by Tuesday morning..Bit by Tuesday midday I looked like your photos. I think it is still swelling some. Fingers crossed it will start to go down s.

    • Amber 15 months ago

      Thanks for this post! I had an almost opposite reaction. I was stung around 4 pm on a Thursday, iced and took benedryll. That night and the next day had little swelling but just a red top lid. It wasn't till Saturday morning till it started to swell around my eye and nose. It is now Sunday and it is a little more swollen than it was yesterday, but my eye is still open and I am still taking benedryll. I am hoping for day 5 the swelling is down, like yours. Thanks for sharing!

    • tammy 16 months ago

      Thanks for this post, I got stung in the bottom eyelid and looked just like you. I went to the doctor and got some meds and am getting better.

    • talyah martin 17 months ago

      just a couple days ago tthe night b4 the swelling my face felt funny like a peeling dry type and i noticed a rash was growing and so i washed my face with dove sooap and water the next morning my face was exzactly like yours exzactly i have pictures

      it felt like i could but couldn't open my eyes all the way and i looked funny like my whole face changed form and i had hives and it was swollen the next morning it went down then i fell asleep and my eyes was swollen so my mom gave me a shot at the doctors but tht didnt wrk but eventually it went away email me at for the photos i swear i looked the same i dnt think it was a bee sting i thought it was an illergick reaction but yea -talyah

    • frank 18 months ago

      thank you, i was stung 12 times by mud wasps 4 in the face while mowing grass

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 18 months ago from San Francisco

      So sorry, Kristen! It is not fun, but it's temporary. Thanks for letting us know that a wasp sting can have a similar reaction. Good luck with the recovery!

    • Kristen 18 months ago

      wow! Thanks for posting that. I got stung in the same place on my eyelid as you did by a red wasp 2 days ago. Luckily all my swelling stayed on one side. But the pain... not fun. Swelling has mostly gone down. Still hurts around the whole eye when I touch it. Have headache specifically at my temple. Eyelid still droopy.

    • Anna 18 months ago

      So glad I came across your post! I was stung yesterday while out hiking just under my left eye. Being on top of the mountain I wasn't able to start meds until a few hours later. Weird thing is last night it didn't look bad at all but this morning when I woke was a whole other story. My eye is barely open right now & the swelling has spread out across my nose etc. Going to run to doc in morning maybe they can give something to shorten this experience. But reading your post calmed my panic! Thank you!

    • Andrea 18 months ago

      Thanks for posting this. Today is day 3 and my forehead/eyes are completely swollen today. Your pictures put me at ease.

    • Susan 18 months ago

      I was stung on the nose and while things did not look too bad for first 24 hours, I was shocked the next morning when the swelling had spread to my upper lip, cheeks and eyes. Seeing your pics calmed be me down though, so thank you for very informative post!

    • Cindy 19 months ago

      Thank you for this! Very helpful as my daughter was stung under the eye yesterday.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 20 months ago from San Francisco

      Hi Sydney. 300 Hives! Wow! I'm glad the article helped you. Even for beekeepers, it's alarming to have such a reaction. Take care and thanks for commenting.

    • Sydney 20 months ago


    • Sydney 20 months ago

      Hi! I'm 19 and have been a beekeeper for a couple years in Alaska. We have over 300 hives so of course I've been stung. Usually the hand or thigh. Not much swelling though. I got stung on the eyelid and under my eye yesterday and I look exactly like you did! It's comforting to know it won't last too long. I know places like your hand had extra layer of skin so it doesn't swell or hurt as badly but the eyelid is one of the worse places to get stung! I've been wearing my judge sunglasses to hide it lol. Thanks!

    • Kathryn W 23 months ago

      Thank you! Just found your post and it was a life saver. On Sunday we harvested our first batch of urban honey (Sydney, Australia) and I got stung on the forehead. The reaction spread over my entire face, swelling my face and closing both eyes. It's now Tuesday and I can see again but I still look dreadful. I was starting to worry but I'll wait it out now. My mistake was not taking the allergy mediation - also I had a glass of red wine (which contains histamines) Sunday night, and this might have made it worse. Like you, my equilibrium is off. I feel lightheaded, a bit dizzy and just not right. Not trusting myself to drive. We've been fascinated by the reaction. Thanks again for the help. Kathryn @treehousehoney

    • Arjun 23 months ago

      Got stung by a bee yesterday. Just under the eyes... Lucky for me the doctor 's clinic was hardly 100 meters from where i got stung... I could not see for 3-4 mins... Could not open my eyes... Got the sting removed as it was near the eye(Can't experiment there all by yourself)... The doc prescribed some anti allergic medicine... The next morning... Except for some mild itching sensation I had no issue and no swelling... I guess the reaction time paid off and luckily the doc's clinic was nearby...

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      It is a scary feeling for an adult, Leslie, so I'm sure it was scary for your 6 year old! I felt claustrophobic almost when my eyes were closing. It takes a few days, but it does get better. I'm glad you called the dr. It's always better to be cautious in these circumstances and the meds that I received were really helpful. Best of luck to you!

    • Leslie 2 years ago

      We had a bad experience tonight with my 6 year old, he was stung on the eyelid, wheew you could watch it swell up. Called the Dr. she called in a script. The miracle of Benadryl really helped. Thanks for the information! Scary situations. We are hopeful that the swelling goes down in the next few days.

    • Me 2 years ago

      Like the progression. I am freaking about my 7 year old son but I guess this helps me a little. Nice last pic! :)

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Holly, I would go see a doctor, especially if you may be pregnant and are having a difficult time breathing. I'm so sorry; it's not fun.

    • Holly 2 years ago

      While neighbor was attending our hive (he's the beekeeper), I looked on from a distance which was a mistake. Just got stung on left eyelid and throat today at 5:30pm, had racing hard beat and felt dizzy. Laid down for 20 minutes until I felt better. By 9:30 swelling now on both sides of face and down cheeks. Painful to the touch. Can't take antihistamines as may be pregnant. Throat is super painful and a red mark is traveling down towards chest. I'm not allergic, but I'd say this is a bit more than a medium reaction, worried that I now need an epi pen. I've been stung many many times before without anything this bad....probably because it's my face. I'd post photos, it's so swollen it's ridiculous.

    • Bill Schneider 2 years ago

      Thanks for this! I was just stung in the corner of my eye and I'm hoping these tips will keep me from too much discomfort. Good information, thank you.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Greg. Sorry to hear about your sting. I'm glad that you didn't crash! That is an odd reaction to have it swell so long after the sting. I hope you can see out of the eye. Thanks so much for leaving the comment for others! Good luck. :)

    • Greg 2 years ago

      Hi Robin and thanks for the informative hub.

      I was stung on the eyelid while mountain biking two days ago. While bombing down the side of the mountain a bee somehow got caugh between my sunglasses and my eye. By the time I stopped ( not a very graceful dismount I might add ) it was too late and I had been stung just below the left eyebrow. It hurt a lot at the time, as you know, but the weird thing is it didn't swell immediately. In fact I was stung at around 7:30pm and it didn't begin to swell until 1:30pm the following afternoon. It did however hurt a lot the day after before the swelling began. I assume this is because I failed to remove the stinger and venom sack.

      Just thought I would share this in case someone else has a similar experience. Thanks again for the info.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Anne,

      Sorry to hear that! It's not a great feeling the morning after a bee sting! Let us know how it goes and don't hesitate to see a doctor to get prescription medicine if the swelling doesn't go down quickly with benadryl.

    • Anne 2 years ago

      Thanks for posting this, Robin! I got stung in the eyelid yesterday and woke up with my eye swollen shut this morning - pretty scary! I guess I blew it by not caring for it properly yesterday . . . I'm off to get the Benadryl and ibuprophen now. Thank you for the treatment tips!

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 2 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your article about allergies to bee stings. One time , a bee did the same thing. She or he stung me on the hand. My hand was big from the poison. Some nice man gave me tobacco from his pipe at the lake . I was visiting. It was painful. I washed my hand with soap and water. After a few hours the pain was gone. I had a fever too. I took an aspirine. There was a lot of people at the lake park in California . They fixed me fast. Thanks God. Thank you for sharing your experience with a well done hub. You are fortune to survive the sting on your eye. Your hub has good advice miss Robin. You are beautiful.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Susan. It's hard to have perspective when something that is impairing like a bee sting to the eye happens. Thanks for giving us that! Good luck in the recovery; I hope it's speedy!

    • susan 2 years ago

      Thank you so much for this article, very much appreciated! Made me feel like there was light at the end of the tunnel. Got stung on the eyelid and it looks horrible and is impairing my vision. I was humbled though, when a man at the grocey store said "you look pretty today" and I said "oh I look terrible as I got stung by a bee, I don't normally look this bad" and when he turned around in his wheelchair, he did not have any legs. Wow, was that an eye opening experience, pardon the pun, but that we should focus less on the small things and be more compassionate with those who are in worse cases.

    • marieryan profile image

      Marie Ryan 2 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      This absolutely shocking. I am starting to understand this must have happened a while ago, Pleased to see you are better now.

      (I can't see date of when you published this article)

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Justin,

      It's amazing how well the guard bees protect their home. I was very lucky last year to not be stung once from my hive; I had a very calm colony and a great queen- that is until they died. My next package arrives on Easter Sunday. I hope it's a calm one! I hope you're face is all cleared up now.

    • Hamid 2 years ago

      Thank you very much for this. However, my experience is different lol. I am getting stung on a daily basis nearly. I do that for my Multiple Sclerosis and blindness. I get stung on my temples just near the eys; 2 stings each temple. I rarely get any bad reactions, except from a small bump where i sting. Best health for all...

    • Justin 2 years ago

      I installed my packages 3 days and got stung once on the hand. No big deal. Today one of the girls followed me from the hive area to my patio and land on my neck. I stood frozen for 5 minutes and she took off then came right back and started buzzing my face. I swatted her and she stung my eyelid. I ran to the bathroom and got the stinger out and then found your website. Now, less than 30 minutes after the sting I've taken antihistamine, ibuprofen and cortisone cream. Thanks for the tips! In the future I'll resist the urge to swat them.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi MWitte. I'm glad the photos helped. It is definitely a huge transformation that is scary if you don't know that it is "normal". I hope you are better soon!

    • MWitte 2 years ago

      Thank you so much for posting this. I got stung 2 days ago next to my eye and I can't believe how bad the swelling is. I would be panicking right now if I didn't have your pictures to compare my experience!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Shona! I'm so glad the photos helped you! It is quite a scary experience to see your face change so drastically. I wore sunglasses a lot - even indoors. I hope you are better soon!

    • Shona 2 years ago

      Hi Robin,

      Thanks so much for this website! It is very well done :)

      I am 17 and got stung by a bee just under my bottom eyelid last Saturday. If I didn't have your pictures to compare to, I would feel quite anxious about the swelling! It is starting to bridge over my nose, to the other eye now :(

      It's good to know that my reaction isn't completely unusual, although a lot of people stare at me when I'm in public.


    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Susanne and Kate. I'm so glad the photos helped; although they aren't very flattering, it's helpful to see how long it takes to get back to normal. I think my sting is fairly typical. Hope you both are feeling better!

    • Kate 3 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I was stung by either a bee or wasp 2 days ago near my eye and could not find anything online. Your day-by-day pictorial is very helpful, as well as the types of medication taken. My eye currently looks likes yours - 24 hours post sting. However, it is comforting to know that this will pass.

    • Susanne 3 years ago

      Robyn -- thanks so much for your posting! I was stung by a wasp yesterday near my eye -- this morning, I looked like Quasimoto! I was, however, much reassured by your posting -- the swelling WILL go down eventually, and I WILL return to 'normal' in a few days!!! The pictures are soooooo useful!!!! Thanks again!!!

    • bestkidsneeds profile image

      Janet Vale 3 years ago from San Diego, California

      I can't believe you got stung in the eye. I remember when I was younger I caught a bee and I was not thinking and it stung my hand. I hate getting stung.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi B, I'm so glad the article helped you. Best of luck to you over the next few days. It's not a fun thing to go through.

    • 3 years ago

      Thank you so much for posting this. I got stung near my right eye yesterday by a red-tailed bumble bee; it flew under my sunglasses. Your detailed account is exactly what I was looking for. I am so much more at ease after reading your account, now that I know what to expect with this sting area in the coming days.

    • djynna profile image

      djynna 3 years ago from Mtl., QC

      Wow... this is very interesting story. I'm glad that the bee seems don't like me. About 2 weeks ago, we had moved to a new apartment and it happen that there are bees at the top of the balcony. I am always out there, the bees were flying and buzzing on my ears but they never bit me at all. Well, my son got one bite from it on the lips. I wanted to take pictures but he never let me, he said "it was not funny", so I respect his decision. I gave him a Benadryl syrup for kids and Tylenol to prevent fever. Only 2 days he had that swollen lips.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This is good advice. Living in the desert, we have tons of bees that surround our pool (by the hundreds). There's no way to find the hive since it's not in our backyard. I'm not allergic but definitely don't want to get stung...and definitely not in the eye- ouch! voted up!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 3 years ago from San Francisco

      I haven't heard of Mobicosa gel, longtimemother! That is a great addition. I'm glad your daughter is no longer allergic. I was stung on the arm a few weeks ago and didn't have a reaction, so I'm positive I'm not allergic. The location of the sting is the deciding factor in the amount of swelling. Great to hear about your lemon balm. I will have to plant some! Bees really don't want to interact with humans-especially when they are foraging. They have a job and are not concerned with anything else; as you have seen with your lemon balm. Cheers!

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      One of my now adult daughters had an extreme bee sting allergy as a child. Fortunately when she hit puberty the allergy vanished.

      I grow lots of lemon balm in my garden. Bees love it and the entire bushes can be covered with bees when flowering. It makes them really mellow and they seem to completely ignore anyone in the garden. It's also sometimes called Bee Balm, so I'm guessing I'm not the only one to have noticed this.

      Just in case it is useful to you, I have a friend who successfully managed to reduce her bee sting swelling within hours using Mobicosa gel - made from New Zealand's green lipped mussels. I've written about it reducing other swelling, but never personally used it on bee stings.

      Fortunately nobody in my family has been stung by a bee in the past 2o years (perhaps thanks to the lemon balm, lol) but I've had in my mind that if ever one of us is stung, I think I'll try honey as the first anti-inflammatory. I think it is interesting how nature often provides remedies within arm's reach of a problem, so honey seems like a logical remedy to a bee sting.

      Of course, if that doesn't give immediate relief I will simply reach for the Mobicosa. :)

      Very interesting hub. Voted up.

    • Sue Stokes Decorative Antiques 3 years ago

      Many thanks for your info Robin. I hope your bees are happy and working hard this year to give lots of honey and pollination.

      As a beekeeper I find that I'm usually stung about twice a year and its always to the facial area - lips and nose being a main target. Worth mentioning how bees do not like the smell of perfume and strong foods/alcohol.

      At the moment I still resemble the Elephant Man. three days after being stung by one of the girls on the upper cheek! Its interesting to see reactions from people in the supermarket. Makes you realise how lucky you are to not have a permanent facial disfigurement! Many thanks,

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Camp,

      I'm glad my article helped you. There wasn't much online about the progression of the swelling at the site of the bee sting. You are a few days out now; I'm hoping your swelling has gone down and you are feeling better! It's quite an ordeal. I was stung last week on the back of my arm while in my hive and I had very little swelling and it just itched a bit. It proves to me that they eye sting was NOT an allergic reaction. :)

    • Camp 3 years ago

      I got sting yesterday on the upper and lower eyelid. The fact that the swelling is worse this morning really surprised me. I found your documentation such a help! I look just like your pictures from the minute I got bit to now. I will expect a week or so of swelling. I took Benadryl but not until about an hour after the bite and have taken it about every 8 hours and icing. Thank you for all the information.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Writers Fox. It was pretty amazing how quickly my eye recovered. I guess it's a hazard of being a beekeeper! Thanks for the comment. :)

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      What an experience you had! I was stung on the bottom of my paw when I stepped on a bee once. Who would expect a bee on the ground hiding in the grass! But, to be stung on the eye has to be a thousand times worse. Can't believe you recovered so quickly. It's amazing how you completely documented the experience to share online. Cool!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the comment, Joe! The worst part of the eye swelling was my kids' reaction. My middle daughter was a bit traumatized. We are still working on her fear of bees since I was stung; luckily, she's getting better!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      You know, Robin, the funny thing is that I remember coming across this very hub on my HP feed but must've been extremely busy with my eBay work at the time and eventually lost this on my "radar screen." Then, lo and behold, I learn of a new follower today, and when I see that you're a member of the HubPages Staff...and, not only that, but also married to the co-CEO of HP...oh, my word! What an honor to be followed by you!

      This hub is compelling on several levels. First of all, it's something that is universally useful because bee stings are a part of just about everyone's life. Secondly, we have a beautiful woman who has the courage to show the world what havoc Mother Nature can wreak on unsuspecting human beings. Pretty gutsy! And isn't that the stuff of great writing? Thanks for sharing, Robin! Aloha!


    • sasanqua profile image

      Sophie 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Fascinating! Particularly liked your photos showing the progression of the reaction to the sting.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the comment, Faith! I didn't either until it happened to me! Thanks for reading. :)

    • Faith A Mullen profile image

      Faith A Mullen 3 years ago

      I had no idea that a bee sting to the eye could cause so much swelling! Great detailed hub with very useful information. Voted up!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Leah and btrbell, for the comments! It was a fairly crazy experience but worth it to have the bees! I hope the treatment options are helpful, Leah. When kids are stung it's hard to convince them that bees are usually not aggressive, but we can try. :)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Interestingly, this is the first of your hubs that I picked to read. I am not a beekeeper or have any desire but the picture was intriguing! Wow, that must have been rough! I cringe looking at it and even though you said you weren't in pain, it looks painful. So glad you are ok! Thank you for a conprehensive, interesting hub!

    • leahlefler profile image

      leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      This is a really helpful hub - my son has been stung several times, but fortunately not on the face or near the eyes. This is a good article to keep on hand in the summer!

      I feel pretty sorry for the poor drone bees - they get to mate, but then die! What a way to go!

    • Craig Smith 4 years ago

      I've had very quick results with venomous bites by bees, wasps and spiders by applying a drop of household ammonia to the site. I'm told that the venom is a protein that the ammonia breaks down into something that the body can handle.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I was stung on the forehead by a small sweat bee. I looked a lot like you. The poison went into my right eye first swelled and blacked my eye traveled on down my face. I fell asleep and suddenly couldn't breath jumped up choking. After that the poison went up the left side of my face, swelled and blacked my other eye then into my forehead and I looked like Frankenstein monster. I didn’t feel very good either. The doctor told me it wasn’t a true allergy but could turn to that as time goes on. I have been stung by wasp and I swelled a little and it itched like crazy but nothing like what the sweat bee did to me. This also happens to me if I'm stung by a deer fly. Voted uP!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Being stung in the ear doesn't sound fun. While I love my bees, it bothers me when beekeepers have the attitude of "poor bee". A foraging bee, likely the bee that stung you, is on its last days anyway. ;) Did you ever get bees? Thanks for the comment!

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 4 years ago from American Southwest

      I got stung in the ear about three years ago, and got to go around for a few days explaining why one ear was twice the size of the other. During that time, I went to a beekeeper club meeting, and the other beekeepers who looked my ear seemed to mainly be thinking "Poor bee." At least they didn't nominate me for the club award for the stupidest thing done in beekeeping that year....

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi Garden Girl,

      It is a scary feeling to have your eye closed; I felt claustrophobic almost. I had many of the other symptoms as well. The medication can make you very tired. Every day gets a little better. I'm glad you got medicine. The face is such a sensitive spot. I was stung on my finger and didn't have much of a reaction at all except for itchiness. Are you a beekeeper? Stung three times in the face is a lot!

    • Garden girl 4 years ago

      I was stung just below the eye day before yesterday and now look pretty much the way you did at your worst. No fun! In fact I have been feeling a little sick, bad head ache, tired, and local itchiness, ache, burning, eye watering. Today my eye is still almost closed and that in itself has seemed to throw me off. I saw the doc yesterday and she prescribed progesterone and over the counter antihistamine. I thought I could wait it out as stings have never bothered me this much. This s the second or third time on my face. Not sure that the building up immunity theory is working for me. Glad to see that it does go away in time as I have a wedding coming up, exactly one wee from the sting day. I hope I do as well as beautiful you.

    • Shanna11 profile image

      Shanna 4 years ago from Utah

      Dang, the pics are intense! I was stung on the eye once (it was my own fault...let's say it had something to do with shaking a canister full of bees) but it was nowhere near as bad your sting! It's crazy how your other eye was affected too!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Cara. That must have been scary for your niece. Most of the time if you are calm and don't swat the bee you won't be stung. I recently went to an all day beekeeping class and the instructor went in the hive in a short sleeve hawaiian shirt and no veil. He had bees all in his shirt and he just shook them out and was never stung. My husband had a bee in his veil buzzing in his ear and he slowly took off the veil and it flew away. Honey bees really don't want to sting most of the time; we just tend to overreact and swat at them, as I did!

      Thanks for the comments, J.S! It was a perfect subject for a Hub and there wasn't much info online.

      Barbara, Preparation H for a bee sting- I hadn't heard of that, but I bet it would work. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 4 years ago from USA

      I've been stung by a bee in the eye area and a wasp. The last time I used Preperation H (no kidding), because I heard it worked for puffy eyes when you didn't get enough sleep. I purchased it for that and it works great for that too. After a week of terrible swelling it went right down that day after I used it.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Wow! This was quite the experience you have documented Robin! I am happy to hear that you are better. This Hub is a great example of how you can take something tragic and turn it into something that can help others! Excellent photo timeline too. I hope this never happens to me, but if it does, I know where to find remedy! Voted up and shared. By the way, I like the new profile look on the staff profiles and can't wait to get my own!


    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan

      Wow, that is quite an incredible situation that you experienced. My niece was just riding her bike about a week ago and a bee flew in her hair. She freaked out and fell off her bike and ended up breaking her hand. We kept telling her that it might have been better to have just been stung instead of spending the summer with a broken hand. Now I'm not so sure and I will definitely not be sharing this with her! Glad you are much better now! :)

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I feel so bad for your brother, Melanie! This is actually common that when one bee stings, if there are other bees around, or you're near a hive, other bees will sting you. When they sting, they let off an alarm pheromone that tells the other bees to be defensive. When beekeepers are stung, they smoke their sting to mask this smell. In most cases, bees will not sting you. You should definitely write a Hub about bee sting home remedies, I will link to it. ;)

      Goodlady, thanks for the comment. I'm glad it's over with, too!

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie Shebel 4 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      Wow, that's quite the progression! I've actually never been stung by a bee, which is quite an accomplishment since we grew raspberries which attracted lots of different kinds of bees. I would stand among the bees and gently check each raspberry before I picked it so I wouldn't take one with a bee!

      We ended up getting rid of the raspberries after our dog was stung (even though she wasn't allergic.) We didn't want that to be a regular thing for her.

      My brother on the other hand, was stung by a ton of bees at once. My mother rushed to rip all his clothes off him and once the stinging stopped, she put the clothes back on him to take him inside. Since there were bees still in his clothes, he got stung more! Poor kid. I think that's why I haven't been stung... the hive must have sent out a memo, "The Shebel's have had enough bee stings!"

      This hub kind of makes me want to write one on folk remedies for stings and such. My mom knows tons of them and swears by them even though she's a nurse.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Really appreciate all your advice. Poor you! A week! Glad it's over with.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 4 years ago from San Francisco

      @Jason - The itchiness wasn't bad, but I think that was because of the medication that I was taking. When I was stung on my finger it really itched.

      @Nettlemere - getting the stinger out is really important so that venom isn't continually pumped into your system. Bumblebees have stingers, but they aren't barbed (like a queen honey bee). When they sting the stinger isn't left behind reducing the amount of venom left in the skin.

      @cclitgirl - I was stung on Sat. afternoon and stayed in most of the day on Sunday. The meds made me loopy. I did take the kids to Monterey Bay Aquarium on Monday and wore sunglasses (I felt like a movie star - it was a bit embarrassing but less so than everyone wondering if I had been in a fight.)

      @Ginnylee - I have heard that your body becomes more immune to the stings and that some beekeepers even crave the way the sting effects their body. I think being stung on the eye or lip is completely different than other parts of your body as the tissue is so sensitive. I don't expect a similar reaction the next time I am stung. The pollen collector is intriguing. I have seen pollen collectors that are put at the hive entrance that removes the pollen from the legs of the bees as they enter the hive, but as of now, I'm not that interested in doing this.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Robin, what happened to you is awful!!!! Talk about making the most of a bad situation, though. You've created such a great resource. It's really good to know what to do, and the photos you've provided of the progression of the sting are so helpful (and encouraging), since I can only imagine how scary it is to see one's face change and not know exactly how everything is going to progress.

      Thanks so much for sharing your expertise on this subject!

    • GinnyLee profile image

      Ginny 4 years ago from Arlington, VA

      I used to manage hives with my Grandfather when I visited over the summers. He would have people asking him to intentionally get stung on their arthritic joints. The venom helped many people with their pain.

      We also collected the pollen from the bees with a home made pollen collector and would freeze it. We would sell it to body builders and folks really into fitness for their training regimen.

      Lastly, if it helps, the more you are stung, the more your body gets used to the venom. The eyes are a tough place to be stung, though. By the end of my summers, I would get stung and only see a red mark for a day or so - I had been stung quite a bit.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Oh my goodness! I can't believe how much your eye swelled up! Did you stay home? Oh my goodness, I don't know if I would have gone out at all. Hehe. One of my best friends from college was walking to work and not watching where she was going. She ran head-first into a scaffolding pole and knocked herself over. Over the next two days, her eye turned black and blue and swelled shut. She HAD to go to work, though. Countless people - ones she knew and ones she didn't - kept telling her to "drop that guy" and "get outta that relationship". She tried to tell them she didn't even have a boyfriend. Hehe. No one believed her, though. If I hadn't seen it myself, I would have wondered the same thing. Haha. I'm glad you're feeling better.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The facts about bees and your personal experience with a bee sting are very interesting, Robin. Your hub is filled with useful information, too. The photos are dramatic! I'm glad that your eye recovered.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I was similarly stung on the eye, but by a bumblebee which I think wasn't as bad because they don't leave a stinger in. Swelled up some, so I think your advice would have been useful for it.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I'm so glad you documented all of this. An angry bee is no joke! Had no idea that an early dose of Benadryl would help with the recovery. How bad was the itchiness? Was it your entire face that was itchy, or just the site of the sting?

    • Camille Harris profile image

      Camille H 4 years ago from SF Bay Area

      Whoa. This looks intense, Robin! Thank you for sharing your experience through such a well-written, well-photographed Hub. Glad you're back to normal!

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 4 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      It's amazing to see the progression over the week. Nice hub! Seems like you got a lot better between day three and four.

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