We’ve covered many dangers of being in the outdoors here on Madcacher, but we have not yet blogged about geocaching and bee safety. I grew up in a family where several people are allergic to bee stings, so we were always taught the basics; but we wanted to share a review of the dangers and some helpful tips where we could.
Bees are a very important part of any area in which they live, they pollenize flowers, which is important for not just flowers, but crops as well. But bee stings are very painful, can cause swelling and turn a great day in the woods into a painful reminder that bad things can come in small packages. At worst, if a person is allergic, bee stings can cause an anaphylactic reaction that could prove deadly. Even for those not allergic to stings, if you are stung enough times the result could be deadly. If you are indeed allergic, you should be carrying an epipen in the event you go into shock. We’ve included a link where you can buy those below.
Bees are “swarming” insects, which means they act as a single unit in the face of danger or an attack. When the first bee stings someone, it releases a pheromone telling the hive that there is a danger and pinpoints for the others where to attack. They effectively paint you with bull’s-eye that says, “attack here.”
As with all dangers found in the great outdoors your own attention and vigilance is your best protection. Keep your eyes OPEN! If you see a hive, or even just a few bees, stop and look around for the hive. It could be in a tree, in an old log or even in the ground. If you identify where it is, keep a wide birth and you should be ok. Most bees will leave you alone if they do not feel threatened. You may even be able to hear the hum of the hive depending on its size and how close you are.
There are even some steps you can take that will limit your risk to attracting bees. Wearing dark clothing has shown to attract bees , so if you can wear lighter colored clothing you’ll not only stay a little cooler in the sun, but lower your risk of a bee attack. Bees are also very sensitive to smells as they use that sense in order to seek out flowers. You should also avoid floral or citrus perfume and aftershaves.
Sometimes you can’t avoid being stung, and in that case it is important to know what to do. Bees are not bears or snakes, and keeping still in the event of a bee attack is a bad idea. The bees will keep on stinging. So what do you do? RUN. The average bee can fly 12 – 15 miles an hour and has been known to pursue their target for a quarter mile! A normal healthy adult should be able to outrun them, but people who aren’t quite so fast may have some issues. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, just keep moving away. And don’t believe the wives’ tale of jumping in the water, the bees will just wait for you to come up.
Useful anti – bee products:
There is no reason to hate bees, or be afraid of them. You just need to take the right precautions and keep vigilant during your geocaching excursion. Bee safety, or at least awareness, is an important thing for any geocacher to know. Do you have any hints we haven’t included? Feel free to leave a comment below or leave a note on our facebook wall.