Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sting - Stang - Stung

Yesterday I was under the impression that August had only 30 days.  I had nothing to really write about, thus the quick post in the few minutes I had after my nap and before going to the neighbor's party.  Today, what was something little turned out to be a bigger deal.  Now I have something to write about.

I think it was August 14, about two and a half weeks ago, I got home from work and was mowing the lawn when it felt like I was getting poked with a needle on my foot.  I shook it and then looked down and saw a bee in between the leather on my (toe covered) sandals.  I let go of the mower and ripped my sandal off my foot.  I didn't see where the bee went, but the immediate threat was gone and I had a lawn to mow so I put the sandal back on and continued.

A few minutes later and on the other side of the yard I started to feel like I was getting poked again, same as before.  This time it was at the very top of my left ass cheek.  Again I let go of the mower, then I ran to the garage while grabbing at various parts of my shorts.  I got to the side door - locked.  I ran around the corner and in the open garage door but there was one problem - it was daytime and the open garage faces the street (and neighbors).  Quickly, I hit the button to shut the garage and turned on the light.  I continued dancing around until the door was mostly down then dropped everything right there in the middle of the garage.  By then the poking had stopped and no bee was found.  Back to mowing the lawn. 

At least two stings, minutes apart.  They itched like crazy - and continued to itch for about a week and a half - but no swelling whatsoever.  None.

I kept my eyes open as I finished mowing but saw no bees flying around at all.  It was a few days later we found their 'nest'.  They were coming in and out on the edge of the lawn under the wood that separates the tree area.  I sprayed their entrance several times and eventually saw no signs of bees and thought that was that.  I was wrong.

Yesterday morning I mowed the lawn before the rain came.  I wasn't even thinking of bees, but I should have been.  Not long after passing their area with the mower I felt that same sting, this time on the back of my right arm just above the elbow.  The perfect spot that I couldn't reach on the first try and he got me good.  I saw activity in that same area that I had sprayed before so I sprayed it again.  That quieted them down for the moment and allowed me to finish the lawn.  When I was done mowing I sprayed it again and put some spare wood over it.  I doubt it was a good enough fit to trap them inside, but maybe making them burrow through grass would make them leave.  I had one more shot at spraying left in the can, in fact I still need to get more to try to finish the job.

Not too long after I noticed that I was developing a welt, red and puffy and itchy.  I put some Afterbite on and tried to forget about it.  Just a couple hours later it was getting hard to ignore.  The swelling had spread, it was red and hot to the touch.  I put a compression sleeve on to hopefully keep the swelling down and carried on with my day.  By the evening my whole arm was swollen.  Not too grotesquely, mostly the back and inside of my arm from just below the elbow to below my armpit, but even my hand was a tiny bit puffier than the other.  It was uncomfortable because my skin was taut around my elbow and bicep and it itched - oh, the itching!

Today the redness has spread almost to my wrist but thankfully has not moved up to my shoulder.  The skin is still tight and the red areas are still itchy and hot to the touch.  I've tried ice packs yesterday and they really don't do anything.  It has not been painful, really, just very uncomfortable and has made me a bit grumpy.  I guess I am allergic to bee stings now.  I'm not sure how that works, but if it happens again anytime soon I may make a beeline for the urgent care, pun intended.

Some way to spend a holiday weekend, huh?


Blue Witch said...

Hope it's feeling better by now.

Are you sure they are bees and not wasps? Bees (in quantity) rarely make their home in the ground. If they are bees they will be some sort of solitary bee (who actually live in small colonies, not alone).

You probably know, but... a bee can only sting once before dying (as it leaves its sting in, as the sting is barbed). A wasp can sting hundreds of times.

Did you take any anti-histamine tablets? If not, get some and keep them to hand, justin case. If you take one the moment you get stung, it will save a lot of reaction. Piriton (a first generation anti-histamine is still the best IMHO - your brand name will probably be different, but you'll find it if you google)

I doubt you'll get anaphylasis just from one bad experience. But, knowing the American pharmaceutical industry's grip on your medics, you'll probably get given an epipen (adrenaline injector), just in case...

And if they are bees: all but the queen will die out naturally as the temperatures drop. That is, if you haven't already killed all of them chemically...

If they come back there again, if you can invert a flower pot over them, they will only be able to exit via the higher-up drainage hole, and they then won't bother you. If you want food, the world needs to keep all of the bees it can...

Scoakat said...

Hi BW! Yes, they were bees and not wasps. And my wife gave me some allergy pill the next day. Really I never thought it would get that bad, like I said, I was stung twice by the same kind of bees a couple weeks earlier with no problems. They live in a corner of an L shape, where landscape timbers meet the ground. I'm not sure if they are actually in the ground or in rotten wood.

I know they are your buzzy familiars and the world needs them desperately, but I just can't have them in the middle of my small back yard. Especially if my wife and I are now both allergic. We do like to entertain back there often, as well.

How long is an epi pen good? It would be nice to have one for emergency use, but not if I have to buy one every 3 months for decades without a sting.

I have it blocked off with extra wood still. It's killing the grass under it but it will have to last until next week until I move it and see what the situation is. Hopefully they will be gone, one way or another.

I'll have time next week to do a follow-up post. And my arm is almost normal today!
Always great to hear from you, BW!

delcatto said...

I just caught up with this. Hopefully you're better by now but that sounds like it was a very bad reaction to the stings.

Scoakat said...

Yes Delcatto, thanks, my arm is back to normal. The sting site still itches and I expect it will for a few more days. I hope your gardening pest rash clears up, too. I'm not very fond of bitey or stingy insects right now.