Last week, a trip to the emergency room was a not-so-gentle reminder that besides ragweed pollen, bees and wasps are also quite active in the heat of August. Know where hives or food sources may be attracting these insects into close proximity (farm markets, picnic areas, packing sheds, lawns) and creating a potential threat, and know if any of your family, employees or visitors to your farms are allergic to bee stings.
Unfortunately, once you've been sensitized, you are always allergic and a sting can quickly become life-threatening! The typical swelling, redness and itching around the sting can progress in twenty minutes or so to severe itching of the eyes or face, hives, and lowered blood pressure in a severe allergic reaction. If not treated immediately, it can be fatal, especially if the swelling progresses to the throat and blocks the air passages making breathing and swallowing difficult. It is critical for someone exhibiting symptoms of anaphylaxis to be given emergency medical attention immediately.
Are you Prepared for Anaphylaxis?
According to the WebMD.com article on anaphylaxis, "If you are allergic to bee stings or any other substances that cause anaphylaxis, you should always be prepared. Ask your doctor to prescribe an epinephrine injection kit [an Epi-Pen] and carry it with you at all times. It is also a good idea to wear a MedicAlert bracelet or pendant, or carry a card that identifies your allergy. In cases of emergency, it could save your life."
For more information on bees, hornets and wasps, Rutgers Fact Sheet FS1134 'Bees and Wasps' describes their life cycles, nesting habits and control options.
Time for me to go get that prescription filled!
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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.