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I've been feeding the local birds at the exact same spot at the local park for quite some time now. Unfortunately for me, today as I was minding my business as usual, a bee decided to sting me. It stung me and flew away, but not for long. It brought back another bugger with it, and they kept trying to sting me. What can I do to evade them? Or is there any way I can pacify them without injuring myself and getting myself stung again?

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    Sounds more like some kind of wasp. – Olin Lathrop Jul 31 '18 at 11:21
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    What type of bee was it? Use this image as a guide. – ShemSeger Jul 31 '18 at 16:50
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    Bees have barbed stingers. When they sting their stinger is ripped from their bodies and they die while their stinger continues to pump venom into your body. You have to physically remove the stinger when a bee stings you. Wasps on the other hand have a retractable stinger and can sting multiple times without consequence. Bees are hesitant to sting, because it means the end of their life, and will usually only do it in defense of the hive. – ShemSeger Jul 31 '18 at 16:55
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    Tell it to bee-have – Kodos Johnson Jul 31 '18 at 17:03
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    Quickly find a plant stem or other hollow tube that you can breathe through; place it in your mouth, and jump into a pond, ensuring that you submerge yourself until the bee(s) is/are convinced you've given them the slip. – Tom W Jul 31 '18 at 19:55
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Bees are pretty sensitive to movements, so if you see some moseying around, then try to move slowly and smoothly and they should ignore you. Swatting at them or waving them away will likely send them into Alarm mode.

Bees won't usually sting you out of pure spite. The chances are that you accidentally hurt it or gave it cause for concern without even knowing. This could have been stepping on it, or squishing it in a fold in your clothing, or just batting it away.

Once bees release the "Alarm" pheromone, all you can really do is vacate the immediate area.

Alarm

The complexity of pheromones in bees is illustrated well by the two types of alarm pheromone, which can be distinguished by which glands release the pheromone.

  • From the Koschevnikov gland: This gland is near the sting shaft and is released when a bee stings. The release of the alarm pheromone is a defensive reaction to alert nearby bees. This alarm pheromone smells like bananas. If you are unfortunate enough to be stung, you may wish to leave the area as you tend to the sting, because alarm pheromones are being received by other bees.

  • From the Mandibular glands: This consists of 2-heptanone and is used as an anaesthetic and to paralyze intruders, after which bees remove the intruder from the hive.

Note here the pheromone that's most likely to relate to you smells like bananas, so if you're eating one, it might be a good idea to drop/dispose it.

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    Thank you. Would the bee remember me? 😅😂 – Peter Johnmeyer Jul 31 '18 at 11:52
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    @PeterJohnmeyer maybe: Can mosquitoes remember if you've swatted at them? – Joshua Drake Jul 31 '18 at 15:01
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    Not likely. A bee dies after that. So most likely this wasn't even a bee as you described it came back. And as others wrote: Bees simply don't do that usually. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_sting – Ole Albers Jul 31 '18 at 15:01
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    It's possible to lightly tread on a bee without killing it. From the same wiki that you linked - "A honey bee that is away from the hive foraging for nectar or pollen will rarely sting, except when stepped on or roughly handled. Honey bees will actively seek out and sting when they perceive the hive to be threatened, often being alerted to this by the release of attack pheromones (below). " (my bold) – Snow Jul 31 '18 at 15:05
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    @OleAlbers From the wikipedia article you linked: Honey bees are the only bees to die after stinging. – Skidsdev Aug 2 '18 at 9:26
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It sounds like you got near a wasp nest. These can be hard to spot, especially the ones that are in the ground.

The best way to avoid getting stung more is to move away, than can mean up to 10 meters, especially if you have already been stung. Some wasps and bees release pheromones when they sting, which alert others to the intruder and cause more of them to sting you.

Again, there must have been a nest nearby. You can try to go back to the area you were stung and look for the nest. Don't stand where you were stung. Hang back a safe distance and look for the bees/wasps buzzing around. After a few minutes, you should be able to visually follow the activity to a concentration point. That could be a small hole in the ground, or a cavity in a tree. It doesn't need to be a large obvious nest hanging from a tree branch. The type of nest and location depend on the species.

  • Hmm. These guys were small though. Thanks for your answer, I'll keep it in mind. – Peter Johnmeyer Jul 31 '18 at 11:53
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    @PeterJohnmeyer It could be a yellowjacket (US English), which are small wasps (much smaller than hornets) and are often what people refer to when they say they "got stung by a bee". I really, really doubt it was an actual bee. – ell Jul 31 '18 at 16:19
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    And I have encountered yellow jackets that are territorial. You walk into their "area", and they will attack. – Pete B. Jul 31 '18 at 19:07
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    @Peter: I don't know why you think size is relevant. Wasps come in a quite a range of sizes. – Olin Lathrop Jul 31 '18 at 19:37
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    Yellow jackets are the fighter planes of the order hymenoptera. Did your insect remind you of a fighter plane going in for the kill? – ab2 Aug 1 '18 at 1:18
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I have seen plenty of science nature shows where bees are pacified with smoke.

However,

  1. Usually bees die after 1 sting. They don't sound like bees, and I don't know if that works on anything else
  2. I don't know how you would produce said smoke without carrying around one of the smokers that the professionals use. (sounds inconvenient)
  3. Don't wear blue. I have watched many science shows that demonstrate that they sting blue greater than 2x other colors. A blue and white cloth on a stick was stuck into a hive and the blue one had many stings and white just a couple.

Wearing a bee keepers outfit must prevent stings since they use it, but for normal people its probably impractical.

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It's difficult to know, without a picture of the offender, whether you were stung by a bee or a wasp.

While wasps typically look different, some (see Yellowjacket) are quite similar in coloring and shape, the main difference being that bees typically have fuzz, while yellowjacket wasps are smooth; not exactly an easy distinction to make in the moment.

Contrary to many of the other answers, most bees do not die after stinging. In fact only Honey Bees, the most common species of bee, die. This is due to their stinger becoming detached, ripping out part of their digestive tract and muscles with it.

Other bee species however can sting multiple times without issue.
It's possible the bee you found were Sweat Bees (Halictidae). This species of bee is attracted to perspiration (hence the name) and the bees could have been attracted by sweat if it was a hot day.

As others have said, the best course of action is to leave. It's possible you accidentally irritated the bee without noticing, e.g. by stepping on it, accidentally swatting it, or trapping it in your clothing.

As a side note: If you know for a fact it was a bee, treat the sting with some baking soda. Bee stings are acidic, and wasp stings are basic (alkaline), so baking soda will help with bee stings, while vinegar will help with wasp stings.

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Bees feed on the sweet nectar of some flowers. So this bee could be attracted to fragrances that smell sweet.

Watch out for your perfume or deodorant smell.

The shampoo or even air freshener for house/car that stuck to your hair or your clothes perfume might be irresistible for your new little friend.

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I grew up in a park. Bees are attracted to flowers and bright colors. Yellow jackets tend to be attracted to plastic cups,soda cans and the scent of sugars.

Bee keepers generally use smokers and Bee keeping suits but you seem to be asking for more practical tips.

Neutral none bright cloths, Maybe a leather jacket to cover your arms and upper body. Spray scent neutralizers like what you would find in a hunting store to neutralize your body smell from sweet stuff like soda pops. Neutralizing or None scented detergents to removes smells from your cloths.

Most things we use on a daily basis for our enjoyment are scented with fragrances that bees also enjoy.

Vinegar mixed with water as a spray may also help. PS vinegar mix with rubbing alcohol can also help with poison ivy contact.

If all else fail try a bottle of OFF insect repellent.

I hope this helps you discourage them from visiting you.

If you don't like the scent odds are they won't either.

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