Apiphobia - Fear Of Bees

The fear of bees is also called Apiphobia.

Fear of bees may arise due to previous negative experience, for example: 

  • being stung yourself, and remembering the event, as well as attaching a very upsetting or distressing memory to the event
  • witnessing another person being stung, and finding this distressing
  • being taught, especially as a child, to fear bees, and in particular, there being a very major (even exaggerated) emphasis on the dangers of being stung
  • as a child, using a projected fear of bee stings as a means to gain attention.  In adulthood, this becomes an irrational fear, but the roots of it have long been forgotten
  • ignorance - misunderstandings about bees and an exaggerated view of the threat they pose (which is usually minimal, unless you aggravate a large colony of honey bees)
  • sometimes, however, there is a very real and rational fear in connection with those who have severe and life-threatening allergies to bee stings, but these cases are relatively rare, and sufferers usually carry an epi-pen.

In most cases that I come across, the fear arises merely as a socially conditioned response.

For instance, if your parents panicked whenever a bee happened to fly by, and if they were so protective toward you that this amplified your fear of danger, then even if you have never been stung, you may have developed Apiphobia.

However, if you are afraid of bees, then I hope the following points and tips will help you overcome this fear.

1. Get The Facts About Apiphobia

 Fears can be greatly allayed when we know the truth, and can put everything in perspective. Phantoms are scary until we realise they are only phantoms. So what are the facts?

  • Bees rarely sting, and only do so if afraid or provoked (for example, by being trodden on). Many bees actually cannot sting. For instance, males do not sting, and many solitary bees (by far the biggest group of bee species) do not sting either.
  • Of the remaining types of bees, bumblebees are generally very docile. Leave them alone to do their thing, and they won’t disturb you.
  • Honey bees may sting if their honey stores are threatened. Are you likely to be wandering around a bee hive in the near future? If not, you are unlikely to be stung. Honey bee swarms are generally docile as long as you keep out of the way. Call a beekeeper if you need help to remove a swarm (or a nest for that matter).
  • Sensationalist publicity about Killer Bees (specifically, Africanized Bees), has not helped the situation. Within the huge population of the USA, only one or two deaths by stings occur every year. But from some reports you’d think they were very common. This irresponsible reporting is very unhelpful given the dire situation facing bee populations (and lack of pollination means rising food prices, duller gardens and countryside, as well as biodiversity loss). It can encourage people to behave irrationally, demanding bees (including wild bees) be exterminated, and can result in the unnecessary killing of bees. Please leave the bees alone. Call a beekeeper for help and advice if necessary.
  • Bees perform an absolutely vital role in the eco-system, and are truly amazing creatures. Even their by-products are sometimes used in medicines and health treatments that benefit humans.
  • To put the threat of bee stings in perspective, think back to your childhood. You were more likely to get hit by your sibling or in the school playground, or to fall over or bump yourself than to get stung. Even as an adult, the amount of times you cut your finger or bump your head in a year probably exceeds the number of times you are likely to be stung.
  • Check my bee sting facts. You’ll see that in the USA as an example, you are more likely to die at the hands of another human than to die from bee stings. In addition, you would need to be stung many, many times in order to die of such an event, unless of course, you happen to have an allergy. If this is the reason for your Apiphobia, then be prepared!

2. Be Prepared

Most people will soon recover from a bee sting (see my page about treating bee stings ).

If you are one of the rare and unfortunate people for whom one single bee sting could be fatal, then ensure you carry your Epi-pen with you.

Inform others of your allergy, and about your Epi-pen.

3. Other Tips

  • When faced with difficult situations, many people focus on their feelings, such as fear or nervousness, rather than the task in hand or the next task or goal. For example, before giving a presentation to a group of people, they will focus on their nervousness, and so these feelings become more intense.

It is actually better to distract oneself, by focusing on the task in hand.

  • If you have Apiphobia, then focusing on your feelings of fear whenever you see a bee is the last thing you want to do. Try to take a couple of deep breaths. Divert your attention away from the bee if possible. Move away as calmly as you can.

  • If you have no choice but to stay put, or if you wish to challenge yourself to overcome your Apiphobia (and as long as you do not have a fatal allergy), you might try to distract yourself. For example, instead of looking at the bee, study the flower it is pollinating.
  • Remember, there are many times you will have been close to bees without even realising it, and yet they have not harmed you.  For example, perhaps you walked past a public garden, or hanging baskets, planted containers, or even a walk along the woods are places where bees may performing their all important role of pollinating plants.  The fact is, most bees do not sting, and they are not out to sting you!
  • Remember the importance of bees when you eat a bowl of strawberries, an apple or a blueberry muffin!
  • Unless you have a sever allergy, even if you were stung, the worst that would happen would be temporary pain and a swelling.  It would not be pleasant, but couldn't you handle it?  In comparison with say, childbirth, surely a bee sting is a walk in the park!
  • If you are fearful because you have found a bees nest, firstly, rest assured there is nothing to fear. Keep pets and children away from the area, and allow the bees to go about their business. If it is absolutely essential, call a beekeeper for help, or seem may page about bee removal.
  • Since Apiphobia is basically governed by the mind and thought processes, you may wish to think about self hypnosis as a way help yourself relax and ease your fear of bees.

Bumblebee Nest Removal
If moving a bumblebee nest is absolutely essential, take a look at this page for advice.

Bee Pollination
Go from Apiphobia to my page about bee pollination, and learn about th eimportant role of bees to our food supply and the eco-system.

Bumblebee Queen
Take a look at this page. Here you'll find a delightful video of a beautiful bumblebee queen. If you have Apiphobia, perhaps it will help you change your views of bees?

Save the bees!
Could the fear of bees be turned on it's head? We need to help our bees, and here is what you could do.

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