We Made it Through a Beehive Attack Relatively Unscathed
I wrote much of this post the night of the bee attack when I couldn’t sleep. I had to get the story out of my head. It was truly one of the scariest mom moments I have had so far. We are so fortunate that it was not far worse. Other than another adult or two helping me get the bees off N no one else was stung.
A Scary Story
Today I went through one of the scariest situations I have encountered so far as a mother. It wasn’t the kind of scared I was when A was very sick at just 5 weeks old. More the adrenaline pumping fight or flight fear that comes when something threatens your babies. I surprising felt far calmer than I would have imagined in that situation before experiencing it.
Just Another Day
We were at C’s t-ball practice at a park instead of his normal field due to weather conditions. I was letting N run a bit “wild” in the open space since we have been cooped up for nearly 2 weeks due to weather and then everyone being sick. He truly wasn’t far from me but he needed to run and be a bit crazy.
He desperately needed the time to run. Racing up a hill just to roll down it, spinning in circles until he fell down. He just needed the space to get his energy out. Two weeks of mostly indoor play was more than enough for him. C
The problem occurred when I assumed he was just enjoying the sound of stomping on one of those concrete covers for pipe controls. Like the one in front of our house that controls the water. All I could see was that he was stomping repeatedly on the concrete cover. I assumed at worst he was stomping in a small puddle of water. Wet socks and shoes were a small price to pay for the fun he was having and keeping him busy.
Except it wasn’t water on the cover or even the sound that had attracted him. It was a few bees. Bees I couldn’t see until it was too late. He is allowed to squish bugs so it never occurred to me to teach him to leave them alone if he saw more than one bee. He’s not a huge fan of bugs so it didn’t surprise me when he later told me he was squishing the bees.
It was already too late by the time I realized what had happened.
It Happened in a Moment
I turned around to check on C while he practiced, and A playing on the grass when I heard his screaming. He was playing slightly behind the group of parents watching the practice. I got up and headed for him quickly knowing it was a bug that scared him. He has a particularly panicked scream when a bug is bothering him. As I said he doesn’t like bugs. As I neared him I realized he was surrounded and covered in bees. More bees than I had ever seen in person! And they were ON my son!
He hadn’t been stepping on the grate and bees for more than a minute or two. Nor would I have ever thought that a bee attack would be the result of his stomping. As I begin recounting this story, I feel the need to explain this was a beehive in the ground. It is not an everyday encounter. That I was watching my child. This was a circumstance that any other day, any other pipe cover, would have been fine. It was in the blink of an eye that a two-year-old’s curiosity could have turned into tragedy.
Getting Away from the Hive
I began swatting them away. It wasn’t until another mom shouted behind me that we needed to move, I realized they were swarming around us. I was attempting to drag N a few steps as he reluctantly moved. Stop and wipe away a few more bees and then move again before pausing to brush off a few more.
He screamed in pain as bees stuck all over his body. I started with trying to keep his face and neck clear as they were the most exposed, other than his hands. I also knew that several people in my family are deathly allergic to bee stings and I was desperate to keep as many stings away from his airways as possible in case he started to swell rapidly.
They Just Kept Coming
By this time parents were grabbing items and kids and moving away from the swarm. Other parents jumped in to help as the situation became more clear. Two dads grabbed sweatshirts and began swinging them around us to create a sort of buffer space and send the bees away. Others began helping me to swat the bees already latched on to N off of him and his clothes and begin to remove the stingers from his skin.
It Takes a Village
It took what felt like forever but another parent told me later it was about 10 mins from the time I went to him to the time we were able to get the all the kids and belongings up to the parking lot and away from the swarm and nest.
I am so grateful and thankful to all the other parents of C’s team. Someone had grabbed A and moved her quickly away from the swarm so that she didn’t get stung. Another mom was hugging C, keeping him calm while I tended to N.
Other parents had packed up my wagon, baseball gear, and chair and began pulling it up to the parking lot away from the bee attack.
One dad made sure that in my frazzled state I was still ok to drive home and ran over all the signs to watch for an allergic reaction. I knew them already because my mom and sister are both allergic but it was comforting to have someone run through them again with me.
The parents from C’s team showed once again their caring and several reached out through text to make sure both N and I were ok. Plus, I felt awful that several
Once we got home I was able to get ahold of my mom and ask her advice on if I needed to head into urgent care just in case and what meds were ok to give together. After a round of Advil and Benadryl, Hubby called me back and was able to get off for a few hours to come home and check on us all. But also to be there to keep the other kids in case N’s condition changed.
When the Fear Really Hit
I cannot even begin to explain both the fear and calm that took over. There were at least 100 bees that were clinging to him and his clothes with hundreds more swarming around. Thank God he had on denim overalls and a thick long sleeve shirt because those honestly saved him from many many stings. He basically received no stings on his body, arms, and legs. The bees stung him a mere 10 times. His long sleeves and pants spared him further stings.
We are fortunate that he did not have an allergic reaction. Given how many bees were on him 10 was a low number in my opinion. He was such a trooper as well. Calming down enough that I was able to focus on the short drive home.
Tomorrow I will call his doctor and discuss if we need to consider an epi-pen for him after this incident. (This is where I finished writing for the night.)
The day after the bee attack I called my doctors office and let them know that my son had been attacked by bees. Since he showed no extreme reactions we opted to just wait until she had an available appointment. I wasn’t originally sure he even needed to be seen due to the fact that he had such a normal reaction.
However, she wanted to be on the safe side and see him to discuss doing an allergy screening. Instead of doing a scratch test she opted for a blood draw. Not only could we test for more potential allergies at once but it only required 1 poke instead of having to do the scratch test on his whole back.
We are fortunate that his results came back negative for any of the venoms that we tested for.
We are lucky that we get to move forward essentially as normal for him. Many people are not so lucky after a bee attack like this.
We will need to be extra watchful if he is ever stung again. However, this is a small price to pay for such an experience. It may not have turned into an allergy this time but next time it could.
The last thing we will have to deal with is that he now appears to have a phobia of bees. (Can you really blame the poor kid?) So we will be working with him to learn how to stay calm and move away from any bees or other stinging insects that he sees.
What Can You Do if Bees Attack?
It’s hard to know what to do sometimes in these types of situations. You just never really know until you have been through them what it will be like. These are my best tips for what to do when you are faced with a similar scary bee attack situation.
Stay as Calm as Possible
Panicking will not only upset your child but it may cause more issues with the bees the more panicked your movements the more they can feel threatened.
So keep as calm as you can. Try to alert others to your need for help without causing panic among others either.
Keeping calm will also give your child a greater sense of calm as well. They need you to demonstrate through your actions how they should be reacting as well.
Move Away/Brush and Move
Don’t stop moving for very long. If no one is around to help you make sure you brush the worst ones off of the face and neck and then keep moving. The rest of the hive will be close behind even if you are only dealing with a few currently so moving as far away as you can as quickly as you can is important.
My poor son couldn’t even see but I just kept him and I moving as much as possible until other parents were able to step in and help clear the air a bit. One dad had grabbed two sweatshirts and swung them around wildly to create a pocket where we had a chance to get the bees off my son.
Carefully Remove Stingers as Quickly as Possible
You shouldn’t squeeze or pinch the stingers to remove them. However, you also want to remove them quickly so that additional venom does not enter your system if possible.
We did our best to drag them out with our fingernails but I’m sure some got squished in the process.
Personally, I would not wait to get home or someplace else to remove them. Once the area is safe enough I would try and remove them.
Seek Medical Help
We contacted our after-hours nurse line and explained what was happening in addition to contacting my mom. The nurse was confident that urgent care and the ER would simply send us home, only possibly holding us a few hours for observation. However, by the time we actually got back to see a doc, it would probably have been long enough after the bee attack for them to just send us home.
We opted to remain home instead of exposing him and one of us to the germs guaranteed to be in the ER. Hubby and I came to this conclusion though because it was clear he was not having an immediate severe reaction and even well over an hour later the swelling -had not gone beyond that of a normal stinging incident.
We watched him carefully through the night for any signs that he was taking a turn for the worse. However, we were fortunate that his swelling and reaction was never severe.
It’s Ok to Be Scared
Remember that these types of situations are very scary and it’s ok to be scared. Avoiding panic is essential but being scared is ok. I was lucky that Hubby was able to come home from work and be with us that night. When he got home I was able to let down my guard a bit and feel how scared I actually was.
Looking back there was a lot of emotions happening and scared was definitely pretty high up on that list.
So take a deep breath mama. It’s going to be ok. But don’t forget to take a minute and let yourself feel all those emotions so you can move on from them.