Bee stings are the sting (not bite) of any of a number of flying insects including the honey bee, yellow jacket, wasp or hornet. While bee stings are only painful annoyances for most people, about 40 people in the United States die annually from bee stings. These deaths most commonly occur within an hour of the person being stung as a result of anaphylactic reaction to the venom. People with known allergy to bee stings should carry an Epi-pen or similar device with them at all times to insure receiving treatment quickly enough to prevent a deadly reaction.
Usually, however, bee stings are just a painful but common part of enjoying the great outdoors. A variety of bee sting treatments are available. It is important to remove the stinger, which frequently is left in the victim, as soon as possible. It will continue to inject venom if not removed, causing any reaction or pain to be more severe. Some people recommend treating the site with everything from tobacco to baking soda, but simple ice packs may be as effective, or more so, than any other home-grown treatment.
If you are in the vicinity of a hive or colony of bees, it is important to be particularly careful. Multiple stings are always more dangerous than single stings and can result in death, even to the non-allergic. If a hive is swarming or building in the vicinity of your home or business, they can be removed by bee control experts, frequently without harming the bees, so your family and customers can be safe from bee stings.