GARDENING: Be aware of allergic reaction to bee sting

A bee on a chive flower.
A bee on a chive flower.
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One downside of encouraging bees to visit your garden is the risk of getting stung.

This last happened to me while deadheading a sunflower.

One very sore hand following a bee sting.

One very sore hand following a bee sting.

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

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.

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff - see jobs for the weekend.

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff - see jobs for the weekend.

You’ll know immediately what to do and not have to faff about looking things up on the internet when your hand is pulsating like something out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon!

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

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

BEE

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.

Wash the area with soap and water.

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

Cover sting site with toothpaste. Replace after five hours.

Take Ibuprofen or paracetamol if needed.

If an allergic reaction occurs (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.

WASP

Wash the affected area with soap and water.

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

Take Ibuprofen or paracetamol if needed to kill pain.

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

If an allergic reaction occurs (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.

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

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 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.

GET IN TOUCH

For more on these topics, plus cook what you grow, traditional recipes, North East information, environmental news and more, log on to www.mandycanudigit.co.uk (now smartphone friendly), www.sunderlandecho.com/gardening, follow me on Twitter @MandyCanUDigIt or you can like me on Facebook at Mandycanudigit