What to do when a bee or a wasp decides to sting you

It's insect stinging season '“ especially wasps '“ the one downside of encouraging pollinators to visit your garden.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 14th September 2018, 4:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th September 2018, 1:17 pm
Wasps are pollinators too.
Wasps are pollinators too.

This last happened to me (from a bee) while deadheading a sunflower.

I couldn’t tell you what type of bee it was, but it was not happy with me getting rid of its nectar source.

Bee on a chive flower.

I didn’t see it happen – just felt the searing pain in my hand. There was an entry wound at the base of my finger, but no venom sac.

Some bees can sting multiple times – it depends on whether they have barbed stingers or not.

Print out this article and pin it up in your shed, or on a kitchen or bathroom door – the quickest place you’ll head for after you’ve been stung.

Bear in mind, there are many treatment out there – this is what worked for me.

One very sore hand.

If symptoms worsen, or a reaction develops, see your doctor.


1. Immediately remove sting and venom sac if it has been left in the skin.

Scrape it out with fingernails or a bank card. DO NOT pull it out with your fingertips or puncture the venomous sac.

2. Wash the area with soap and water.

3. Place an ice pack (frozen peas in a towel) on sting for 15-20 minutes.

4. Cover sting site with toothpaste. Replace after five hours.

5. Take Ibuprofen or paracetamol if needed.


1. Wash the affected area with soap and water.

2. Place an ice pack on the sting for 15-20 minutes.

3. Take Ibuprofen or paracetamol if needed to kill pain.

4. NHS Choices advises avoiding ‘traditional’ remedies such as vinegar or bicarbonate of soda, saying ‘they’re unlikely to help’.

If an allergic reaction occurs in either case, (rash, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, a fast heart rate, dizziness or feeling faint, difficulty swallowing, a swollen face or mouth, confusion, anxiety or agitation) CALL 999 IMMEDIATELY.


l For more information, plus cook what you grow, recipes, environmental news and more, log on to the website at www.mandycanudigit.com – which is also now smartphone friendly. You can also follow Mandy on Twitter @MandyCanUDigIt or you can like me on my Facebook page at Mandycanudigit


* Continue to deadhead plants such as Dahlias, Delphiniums, roses and Penstemon to prolong the display.

* Divide any overgrown or tired-looking clumps of alpines and herbaceous perennials, such as crocosmias. This will invigorate them, and improve flowering and overall shape, for next year.

* Take cuttings of tender perennials, such as Pelargoniums. If you don’t have a greenhouse, use a light windowsill to grow them on.

* Some tall late-flowering perennials, such as asters, may still need staking to stop them being blown over in the wind.

* Prune late-summer flowering shrubs such as Helianthemum (rock rose) and give evergreen hedges a final trim to make sure they are in shape for winter.

* Start to reduce watering of houseplants as light levels drop.

* Ventilate conservatories during warmer days but close windows at night.

* Top up pond water levels when necessary and continue to remove blanket and duckweed. You may need to thin out submerged oxygenating plants, as they can quickly build up and crowd the pond.

* Make and repair compost bins so that they are ready for the autumn, when fallen leaves will quickly fill them.

* Pick ripe apples and store the best in fruit crates.

* Dig up strawberry runners and pot them up.

* Net autumn raspberries and blackberries to protect them from birds.

* Lift and dry maincrop potatoes and store in paper sacks in a cool, dark place.

* Pot up a few herbs to bring into a porch or grow on the window sill.

* Sow broad beans and hardy peas for early crops next year.

* Check pears regularly to harvest when perfectly ripe.

* Vegetables to sow now include winter radishes, lettuce and salad leaves, spinach, spring onions, and turnip for its green tops.