Sweat bees are the species of bees that live in underground hives or nests. The female bees can sting. They are small in size ranging from 0.125-0.5 inches. They are known for their metallic color.(1)
They build their nest in bare, dry dirt. It is therefore important to grow something to control them from spreading. As their name suggests, these bees are attracted to people’s sweat.
There can be mild to severe reactions to sweat bee stings.
Medical help is needed if you are stung by the bee many times and finding it difficult to breathe.
Do Sweat Bees Sting?
Sweat bees do not generally sting people like honey bees. They are not aggressive like them. Only if their nest is disturbed or if they feel threatened, you might get stung.
Attracted to human sweat, once the stinger pierces the skin, it continues to pump venom until it is pulled out. Therefore if the bee stings, it is important to quickly remove it.
Over the counter pain medications can help calm swelling and pain.
It is important to seek medical help if:
- There are multiple stings
- The bee has stung on the head or neck or mouth
- There is difficulty in breathing
- Bee allergy
- Unless aggressive, these sweat bees do not sting. Awareness of their behaviors can help prevent their stings.
- Vibration in the ground around their nests show their defensive behavior
- If there is a dark shadow over their nest, they feel, the danger is approaching.
- If someone gets between the bees and nest, they take it as a threat.
Signs and Symptoms Of The Sweat Bee Sting
For those who are not allergic to sweat bee venom the symptoms would be mild and local. The symptoms include:
- Pain and stinging on the area stung
- Itching at the site
- Redness and swelling around the area stung
- White spot on the sting site
In case of severe and allergic reaction to Sweat bee sting, the symptoms include:
- Pale or flushed skin
- Hives and bumps on the skin
- Swelling on face, lips, and throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Drop-in blood pressure
- Stomach cramps
- Abnormal heartbeat
How To Treat Sweat Bee Stings?
A sweat bee sting can be treated at home by the following method:
- Use an ice cube or cold wet towel to cool the area
- Over-the-counter pain medication can ease the discomfort
- Calamine lotion eases itching and swelling
- A paste of baking soda and water can be applied to the sting site to reduce pain, itching, and swelling
- You can also place a cloth soaked in vinegar on the sting site
- Wet an aspirin tablet and put it on the bee sting spot
If the swelling and redness does not improve with home remedies, it is important to visit a doctor.
In case of severe allergic reactions, along with epinephrine, the doctor also gives the following treatments:
- Oxygen through a mask
- Antihistamine medication to bring down the allergy
- Hydrocortisone cream to reduce pain, swelling, and redness
- Steroid drugs to ease swelling
- Beta-agonist to help breathe better
Unlike other bees, sweat bees do not have hives or live in large groups. They make their nest in the dirt on the ground.
Sweat bees can be avoided by getting rid of dirt in the garden or lawn. Planting trees and vines, and covering the dirt areas with pebbles and garden cloth can prove to be helpful.
Also, they generally do not pose a threat to people, with the exception of hot summer days when they seek sweat to supplement their diet. They can be a nuisance if present in large number around your home.
Seek medical help, if allergic to bee stings or if you get stung multiple times.