Why do bees sting and how to treat stings, naturally
In the midst of a decline in honeybee colonies, it seems prudent to respect the bees that cross our paths. Swatting, smushing, and spraying should be avoided—and remember that when a honeybee stings you, she dies.
In a hive, the female worker bees are the bees that sting. The larger male drone bees don’t have stingers. Queen bees also have stingers, but they rarely leave the hive to use them. When a bee stings you, its sharp, barbed stinger pierces the skin to inject venom called apitoxin.
When a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull the barbed stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its abdomen and digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture kills the honey bee. Honey bees are the only species of bees to die after stinging.
According to beekeepers though, it’s rare to be stung by a honeybee. One of the only reason honeybees sting, is to protect their hive, as a defence mechanism. What most people think of as a bee sting, are actually from a wasp.
What to do it you do get stung, ouch!
If a stinger is left embedded in the body, then remove it as soon as possible. This should be the first step. Use whatever tools are immediately available to dig it out. You could use a knife, credit card, pliers, tweezers, or a needle. Sterilize the tool if possible, but do not waste time. For maximum absorption, clean the area with soap and water before applying remedies, otherwise the oils on the skin will repel them.
Baking Soda: In the case of bee stings, baking soda will help to neutralize the acidic venom. Make a paste by combining baking soda with water. Leave this paste on the sting site for at least 15 minutes. Some of the dissolved baking soda will leach through the skin to neutralize the venom somewhat. After applying it, and cleaning the sting area of residue; a chamomile tincture may be repeatedly applied for any residual itching or swelling.
Lavender and peppermint essential oils: These essential oils help disinfect bites and soothe itchy skin. In most cases, these oils are safe to apply directly to skin, but all essential oils are potentially irritating, so test them on a small patch of skin before applying liberally. If you find the oils too strong, add them to clay, olive oil or vegetable oil before applying.
Ice: Try applying ice to the bite or sting. Anecdotal evidence shows that this simple remedy may be the most effective at providing immediate relief.
Lemon: Lemon juice seems to stop the allergic reaction to bug saliva. Rub a piece of lemon on bug bites to soothe them.
Yellow onion: “The onion’s detoxifying sulphur compounds help neutralize the poison of the bite or venom of the sting, reducing inflammation,” says Andrea Candee, author of Gentle Healing for Baby & Child. Just slice open an onion and rub it on the bite. Repeat as often as necessary until itching stops.
Know what to do when you’re exposed to bees
If a few bees are flying around you, stay calm and slowly walk away from the area. Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting. If a bee stings you, or many insects start to fly around, cover your mouth and nose and quickly leave the area. When a bee stings, it releases a chemical that attracts other bees. If you can, get into a building or closed vehicle.
Allergic to bee stings? Prevention strategies can help you minimize your chance of getting stung by bees.
• Take care when drinking sweet beverages outside. Wide, open cups may be your best option because you can see if a bee is in them. Inspect cans and straws before drinking from them.
• Tightly cover food containers and trash cans.
• Wear close-toed shoes when walking outside.
• Don’t wear bright colors or floral prints, which can attract bees.
• When driving, keep your windows rolled up.
• Be careful when mowing the lawn or trimming vegetation, activities that might arouse insects in a beehive or wasp nest.
• Have hives and nests near your home removed by a professional.
Wasps and bees are both members of the Hymenoptera order of insects. However, their physical bodies are different. In general, wasps can be distinguished from bees by their lack of body hair and thinner, elongated bodies. Bees are hairier, while wasps usually have smooth and shiny skin.
Wasps and hornets have similar hairless bodies, and are both types of Vespid wasps. The major difference between wasp and hornets is size and colour. Wasps are about one-third of an inch to one inch long. Hornets are larger. Wasps have black and yellow rings, while hornets have black and white rings. While bees can sting only once and die after attacking, a single wasp or hornet is capable of stinging multiple times.
Wasps and hornets cannot produce honey, but all species of honey bees are capable of producing and storing sizeable amounts of honey within their hives.
Where do they live?
The areas surrounding houses provide a number of ideal homes for bees, wasps and hornets. Some of these areas include verandas, ceilings, attics, walls, trees and shrubs. They will find holes and small burrows and set up nests, because holes and burrows are often near food sources (such as fallen fruit, flowers or nectar-producing plants).
How to prevent wasps and hornets from circling your garden?
Both wasps and hornets are attracted to sweet foods and decaying materials so eliminate any posible food sources, except for a sugar-based trap that you may have hanging.
Know the bees
There are about 20,000 different species of bees in the world. The most common are honey bees, carpenter bees, and bumble bees. The big producers are the honeybees, who have much larger hives than other bees and are able to communicate amongst one another to help them complete their honey gathering work.
How to attract bees to your garden
Most gardeners are familiar with the vital role bees and other pollinators play in a healthy and productive garden. But their importance touches our lives every day. Did you know that one out of every three bites of your food depends on a pollinator? Over 150 crops grown in North America depend on pollinators, including apples, almonds, blueberries, citrus, melons, pears, plums, pumpkins and squash.
How Gardeners Can Help
Every home gardener can take steps to increase food and encourage an ideal habitat for bees. Creating diverse plantings, and keeping a garden with a variety of plants that bloom from early spring through to late fall.
To attract the full spectrum of pollinators, choose plants of various heights, including flowering trees and shrubs, and those with a range of flower shapes and sizes.
Flowers that Bees Love
• Agastache (anise hyssop)
• Asclepias (butterfly weed)
• Echinacea (coneflower)
• Geranium (cranesbill)
• Monarda (bee balm)
• Papaver (poppies)
• Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan)
• Trifolium (clover)
Tip: Perfectly neat yards do not provide the raw materials wild bees need to construct their nests. Let your garden grow a bit wild! Provide a good nesting habitat by preserving a small brush pile, areas with dry grasses and reeds, and dead wood.
We’ve all heard about the declining bee population, mainly due to habitat loss. But you can make a big difference in your own backyard with a bee-friendly garden and more:
BEE HOUSE BLUE PRINTS:
• For your house walls: Use an empty milk carton (waterproof) with the spout cut off — leave the bottom intact — or a box about that size made of wood scraps (not cedar).
• Paint a wooden house a bright colour with exterior zero-or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint. If you plan to make more than one bee house, be sure they’re different colours.
• Fill the box with layered stacks of brown paper nest tubes (available at garden stores). Cut the tubes to 6 inches long, close the end with tape or a staple, or fold them in half. Visit avogel.ca to learn how to make your own nest tubes from scratch.
• Hang the house somewhere out of the rain, facing south or east, at eye level, once the temperature outside has warmed to 12-14º C.
• Dig down below your garden soil adjacent to your bee house until you expose the clay layer, or keep a bowl of moist clay near your bee house for the mason species to use as construction material.
• It may take a full season for the bees to find your house. No luck? You can also purchase mason bees from a garden store or local bee keeper.
À LA CARTE FOR BEES
• Bees eat two things: nectar and pollen
• Choose a variety of plants that flower at different times so there’s always a snack available.
• Some flowers are sterile and of little use to pollinators. Native plants or heirloom varieties are best.
• Blue, purple, violet, white and yellow flowers are bees’ favourite colours.
• Bee-navigation friendly: Plant flowers of a single species in clumps about 4ft in diameter – easy to find.
• All bees have different tongue lengths, so a variety of flower shapes will benefit a diversity of bees.
Texts excerpted from The David Suzuki Foundation:
At Organic Grocer we’re so pleased to be blessed enough to be giving back often and generously! During Random Acts of Kindness Week we’re reminded why we do what we do – and we hope we can inspire you to give back kindness wherever and however you can too!
When you shop at Organic Grocer you’re doing more than supporting a 25 year old local business owned and operated by Surrey residents – you’re supporting LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL charities that make a real impact.
Every year the owners of Organic Grocer, located in the Newton neighbourhood of Surrey BC, donate generously to several local charities that directly impact their community’s most vulnerable residents. Without these charities the owners believe that Surrey would be a much poorer and meaner place to live. We hope that you’ll consider supporting them too during Random Acts of Kindness Week – and all throughout the year!
The owners also support international charities that are inspiring significant change around the world and moving industry forward ethically. Finally, Garth & Deb also encourage their staff to find forward thinking companies that are making a difference through their products and services so that we can feature them in our store! We hope that you find this article inspiring and that you will feel even better about shopping with Organic Grocer knowing that your hard earned dollars are doing good all around the world.
SOME AMAZING LOCAL COMMUNITY CHARITIES:
The Surrey Women’s Centre protects and empowers women and girls. It is a crisis centre for women and girls escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. The Surrey Women’s Centre is the only women’s Centre in Surrey, BC. They are often the first and sometimes the only place women and girls in need call for help.
It is only because of generous daily donations that these women and girls have a safe place to turn.
The Centre is open 24 hours per day. 7 days per week. 365 days per year.
Hunger affects us all; it knows no age, it knows no race and it knows no season. At the Surrey Food Bank they have created specialised programs to ensure they are providing food assistance to everyone who needs a hand up in our community.
Hungry clients may visit the Surrey Food Bank and receive a nutritious supply of food every 14 days. The Food Bank’s goal is to provide sufficient food for 3 to 4 days, offering vegetarian and non-vegetarian options based on Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating. However, the Food Bank is limited in what they can offer as they can only supply what has been donated.
SOURCES BC (at Peace Arch Hospital)
In 1978, Peace Arch Community Services (PACS) was formed to serve the Surrey and White Rock community. Only a few thousand people sought its services and referral information; but as family and social challenges intensified, so did the need for PACS volunteers and professionals to help others overcome adversity and build a better life. In 2008 the organization provided direct service to approximately 12,300 individuals. SOURCES was born in 2010 as other agencies consolidated their services with PACS; these included Gateway Autism Society and Gateway Autism Foundation (2010), Newton Advocacy Group Society (2011), South Fraser Women’s Services Society (2012) and Cornerstone Care Society (2015).
SOURCES now strives to create more vibrant and resilient communities by offering support to children, youth, families, persons with disabilities, seniors, and others who are coping with isolation, addiction, poverty, disability and conflict. We also support our communities through leadership, education and volunteerism.
Covenant House provides love and hope to Vancouver’s street youth. Covenant House helps youth aged 16 to 24 who have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; those who have been forced from their homes; and those who have aged out of foster care. Covenant House is a premier provider of shelter as well as other services for homeless youth thanks to the hard work and dedication of their staff and volunteers and generous donor’s support.
We at the Organic Grocer believe that once a person’s basic needs for food, shelter, and safety are taken care of a beautiful and healthy environment will enrich their lives.
A healthy and vibrant environment doesn’t just create a better place for our animal friends to live, but also creates a healthy and supportive environment for us humans to thrive in as well. Keeping that in mind, we support several environmental and agrarian charities across the country every year:
SOME AMAZING ENVIRONMENTAL CHARITIES:
The Burns Bog Conservation Society networks with leading scientists to give and distribute accurate and up-to-date information on peatlands. In 1995 Dr David Bellemy discovered that Burns Bog was regenerating after the peat harvesting. He told the Society “you have proved by accident in Burns Bog the theory that the bog will regenerate within 40 years!”
When you give to the Burns Bog Conservation Society, you become part of a powerful movement to save one of our country’s most fragile and precious ecosystems – Burns Bog. Thank you for protecting “the lungs of the Lower Mainland.”
Young Agrarians (YA) is a network for new and young ecological and organic farmers. Since they started January 2012, the network has grown across Canada from coast to coast because of farmers who have organized events (mixers, farm tours & potlucks, apprentice meet-ups, etc.) The network is made up of a diverse array of food growers and lovers: rural and urban farmers, market gardeners, seed savers, food activists, bee keepers, community gardeners, food/farmer organizations and more. All of who are working to steward land and soil, and grow our local food systems.
Young Agrarians recognises Indigenous title to all lands in Canada. They feel it is their responsibility to care for and respect the land that we all live on and depend upon for water, food and shelter. In a time of climate change, we must all do our part to nurture resilient food systems (local, ecological and equitably produced) choosing with our dollars, values and hands to consume and produce foods that are healthy for us and future generations.
COG’s mission is to lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources.
Not all COG members run certified organic operations, but they share a vision for a sustainable bioregionally-based organic food system. COG members believe that organic food production is the best choice for the health of consumers and producers, for the protection and enhancement of the environment, and for the sustainability of the food production system. In fact we believe that the survival of our country and even of the planet depends on it!
FarmFolk CityFolk is a not for profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Their projects provide access to & protection of foodlands; support local growers and producers; and engage communities in the celebration of local food.
“Something happens to people who plant seeds–it is impossible to watch a plant grow and flourish without getting a sense of the miracle of all life.”
-Herb Barbolet, Co-founder of FarmFolk CityFolk
COABC’s approach to food production is based on care for the earth. They recognize that as human beings, we are one creature among many which are all inter-related and interdependent. The COABC is part of an organic movement that embraces a wide diversity of activities and enterprises related to the organic production of food and encompass all sizes of operations.
One of the tools the COABC uses is a regulatory framework to permit exports. Their priority is the establishment and maintenance of local food systems. They accept the principles of organic farming and processing identified by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) and engage in research of appropriate techniques to enable us to put them all into practice.
We know that donating directly to charities is meaningful and changes lives daily – but sometimes it’s best to support initiatives that are run by companies and organisations which we trust and which we know will direct funds into the most needy hands and environments.
Because we want our dollars to make a meaningful impact we look for products that we can carry brought to us by companies and organisations doing really meaningful work! Two such companies come to mind (below), but don’t forget that any of the fair trade products we carry make a difference in the lives of people around the world! That’s why we strive to carry a fair trade option wherever possible.
Alaffia Body Care Products
Buy an Alafffia product and contribute to their Empowerment initiatives in Africa with every purchase. Empowerment Projects are Alaffia’s mission in action, funded by the sales of Alafﬁa products. Alaffia invests in their communities because they believe it is their moral responsibility to ensure African resources empower African communities. Their goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality. Alaffia’s Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, FGM Eradication, Eyeglasses and Reforestation. All of Alafﬁa’s projects empower Togolese communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and to rise out of poverty.
As of 2017 Alfaffia’s Empowerment Initiatives have:
•• DISTRIBUTED 7,482 BIKES •• •• GIVEN 32,842 CHILDREN SCHOOL SUPPLIES •• •• BUILT 2,261 SCHOOL BENCHES •• •• CONSTRUCTED 10 SCHOOLS •• •• FUNDED 4,463 BIRTHS •• •• PLANTED 57,575 TREES •• •• DONATED 24,927 EYEGLASSES ••
Learn more here: https://alaffia.com/empowerment/
Natural Calm Magnesium & Calcium Products
Every purchase of Natural Calm Products supports the Organics 4 Orphans Charity which supports organic gardening, nutritional training, natural medicine and income generation in communities across Africa.
Every purchase of a Whole Earth & Sea Supplement sends $2 directly to the Plant a Seed and See What Grows Foundation – a local charity that creates a lot of buzz around food and the interconnectedness that unites us all. We are all interconnected with one another, with our food, with our environment and with our communities. And we are what we eat. And we are stewards of our land. And we are what we contribute to our communities. At Plant a Seed Foundation, they nurture a sense of interconnectivity with one another, with our food, our land and our communities. They are committed to helping others to:
They further support our local communities by:
We hope that knowing the hard earned dollars you spend at Organic Grocer are making a significant difference every day in both local lives and lives across the globe brings warmth to your heart and a smile to your face.
Now get out there and make a difference in someone’s life!
During the month of April many new products become available to us – and you! We’ve been carefully sifting through the new products and we’re excited to bring some pretty spectacular products to you. Here’s a sneak peek:
New Roots Herbals – have a look through the vitamin section – we’ve brought literally dozens of new products in by this knowledgeable company. You’ll find them competitively priced; yet New Roots products are often the highest quality and highest potency on the shelf! Make sure you have a close look at these guys! Most of their products are on sale this month.
Sisu Children’s Line – we’ve brought is the hugely popular Sisu U-Cube Gummy MultiVitamins, Gummy Cal/Mag for Kids, & Gummy tart Vitamin C. Your kids are gonna love them – come in and ask for a sample.
Truly Turmeric – wild crafted whole root turmeric & black pepper paste. This paste is therapeutic grade turmeric with black pepper to enhance the healing properties of the turmeric. Blended in coconut oil with a twist of lime – we’re super excited about this one! (Find it next to the therapeutic coconut oils in the grocery section).
Denman Island Grizzly Bars – a tasty way to support our local rain forests this Easter Season. (We’ve got the bunnies too!) Take a picture with the bar for your chance to win a trip to Tofino! #GrizzlyBar
Better Than Pasta Konjac Noodles & Rice alternatives – High in fibre, low in carbs, these tasty noodle and rice alternatives keep you feeling satisfied while keeping your carb intake down.
Flora Health Teas – we’ve brought in several new medicinal teas by Flora Health. Make sure you stop by the tea section the next time you’re in the store.
Radico Organic Hair Dye – These all natural chemical free hair dyes are permanent and safe to use for the whole family. Give them a try and let us know what you think!
Genuine Health’s shelf stable probiotics – Our NEW advanced gut health probiotic contains 15 strains that mimic human gut flora in an allergen- and plastic-free delayed-release capsule to deliver our probiotics straight to your gut! We keep them in the fridge with the other probiotics.
3 Brains Formulas – for over all body health. These formulations take a holistic approach to brain health and are getting great feed back! Look for these great products through out our supplement section.
Nirvana Pies – Pot pies made with clean, scrumptious ingredients by a local family in Richmond. Foods that comfort the soul and brighten the spirit!
There’s so much more that hasn’t yet arrived – but will be here before the end of the month! Make sure to take some extra time this month to look at all the new stuff!
Ultimate Maca Energy
Ultimate Maca Energy is made with 100% pure, traditionally sundried, natural and certified organic maca root grown exclusively in the Andean highland zones of Peru at altitudes of 14,000 ft. Ultimate Maca Energy maca root has many health benefits and scientifically tested properties. In addition to being a source of vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids and complex carbohydrates, Ultimate Maca Energy also contains an impressive array of bioactive components and antioxidants, which are responsible for its numerous benefits.
The Various Benefits of Maca
Maca is a well-known and powerful adaptogen, which means that it is a substance that helps to increase the body’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Recent human clinical studies have provided convincing scientific evidence supporting supplementation for healthy mood balance during menopause.
How Maca Works
Maca is loaded with vital nutrients in bioavailable forms which assist the body in its on-going process of regeneration, ultimately helping to replenish and recuperate from different problems and providing ultimate balance and wellbeing. Its actions focus mainly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, assisting the body in balancing hormones. This is where the main benefits associated with maca can be noted (e.g. mood balance).
Ultimate Maca Energy is certified by the Natural Agricultural U
niversity of La Molina in Peru and also by Skal. The National Agricultural University of La Molina in Peru is an independent entity funded by the government of Peru that oversees all the agricultural and related activities in different areas of the country.
Learn even more here