Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Killer Bees Are Now In Texas

Category: Child Care


In April of 1992, it was reported that killer bees were being found in swarms in the San Antonio, Texas, area. Should we be alarmed throughout the South with these Africanized killer bees possibly spreading across our country? The answer is yes and no. We should be concerned in the sense that these bees are more aggressive than regular bees and would be more likely to strike in multiple numbers if you approach their hives. On the other hand, their sting contains no more venom and the venom is not more toxic than a regular bee.

Most people who are stung by bees get local reaction such as swelling around the sight of the bee sting and only need to take an antihistamine, apply ice and wash off the sting. Other remedies which seem to relieve the sting somewhat include putting a paste of meat tenderizer and water directly on the sting sight. Fresh tobacco can be applied as well. This treatment is sufficient for any simple bee stings which cause local swelling and pain. If, however, the swelling is large and crosses one or more joints, or if they have hives, throat swelling, wheezing, or pallor, then they should be brought to the emergency room or doctors office immediately. In these cases, adrenaline shots are given as well as antihistamine shots and, frequently, prednisone. This type patient is at risk for future anaphylactic reactions and should be considered for desensitization to bees, wasps or any other type of stinging insect which causes such an episode. At the very least these patients should carry adrenalin with them at all times. This can be obtained from your doctor in the form of a preinjected adrenalin shot (Epi-pen, Epi-pen Jr), or a specific kit called an Ana-kit. In summary, bee stings are here to stay and hopefully with the slow spread of Africanized or so called "killer" bees coming in to our country the risk should not increase greatly. Nevertheless, it pays to be prepared. Should they occur in your area be certain to supervise your children in case they happen to wander into a swarm area and get multiple stings. There are no cases of these killer bees reported in the Louisiana area yet.