Bees have gotten a bad rap. Many people think they are just little angry bugs ready to attack, but they are actually an extremely important part of the ecosystem because they help with cross-pollination. If you hate bees, it's time to reeducate yourself on them by checking out these four common myths and learning the truth.
Bees Are Aggressive and Always Ready to Sting
A lot of people suffer from apiphobia or fear of bees. Perhaps you had a bad experience with bees as a child or you have just learned to be afraid of them through the media. This fear causes many people to think bees are mean and like stinging. However, that isn't the case at all. Most bees that you see zooming around your yard are honey bees and bumblebees, which are non-aggressive. They are simply doing their job and want to be left alone. Of course, if you panic and try to kill the bee, there's no guarantee it won't try to fight back.
All Bees Are the Same
There are a lot of different types of bees and no species is exactly the same as the next. For example, when you think of bees, you may picture big colonies, but not all bees live in colonies. While bumblebees and honey bees live in hives, the majority of bee species, including mason bees, carpenter bees and leafcutter bees are solitary. They may build small hives near each other, but they work on their own and pollinate a lot of plants. Another way not all bees are the same is that not all bees can sting. Male bees don't have stingers.
Wasps Are Just Big Bees
If you're afraid of bees, you probably run for the hills when you see a yellow jacket or a hornet flying toward you. However, those creatures aren't even bees; they are wasps, and it makes more sense to be afraid of them than bees. Wasps can be aggressive, and they can sting you multiple times, but bees can typically only sting you or an animal once. Their barbed stinger gets caught on the skin when they try to withdraw it. The toxin in a wasp is also different than the one used by bees, so even if you are allergic to wasp stings, it doesn't mean you're allergic to bee stings.
It's Common to Be Allergic to Bee Stings
When you get stung by a bee, the area may swell and be sore for a few days because of the toxin. Some people may see these normal symptoms and assume they are allergic to bee stings, but most people aren't allergic to bee stings. If you are allergic to bee stings, the symptoms are more severe, including difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face or throat and dizziness. It's also not common to be killed by bee stings. People who aren't allergic to bee stings can be stung a surprisingly high amount of times before the stings become deadly. If you do happen to have a bee allergy and get stung, be sure to visit a clinic like Oak Brook Allergists as soon as possible.
Bee Venom Treats Arthritis Pain
There is a common theory that bee venom threats arthritis pain, so people may actually purposely get stung by bees. The idea is that bee venom has anti-inflammatory effects, which can reduce the pain of arthritis. Unfortunately, there is nearly no scientific research to support this theory. So even if someone claims it helps their arthritis, it's difficult to know if it's just a placebo effect.
No one enjoys the pain of getting stung by a bee, but bees are not aggressive creatures out to get you. If you are allergic to bee stings, however, it can be dangerous, so if you're worried, contact your doctor today to find out about allergy testing and allergy treatment.
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