A honeybee that is away from the hive foraging for nectar or pollen will rarely sting, except when stepped on or roughly handled. Honeybees will actively seek out and sting when they perceive the hive to be threatened.Although it is widely believed that a worker honeybee can sting only once, this is a misconception: although the stinger is in fact barbed so that it lodges in the victim's skin, tearing loose from the bee's abdomen and leading to her death in minutes, this only happens if the victim is a mammal. The bee's stinger evolved primarily for inter-bee combat between members of different hives: a barbed stinger can penetrate the chitinous plates of another bee's exoskeleton and retract safely.The stinger's injection of apitoxin into the victim is accompanied by the release of alarm pheromones, a process which is only accelerated if the bee is fatally injured. Release of alarm pheromones near a hive or swarm may attract other bees to the location, where they will likewise exhibit defensive behaviors until there is no longer a threat (typically because the victim has either fled or been killed).(Alarm pheromones have been characterized as having a "dirty socks" smell, which is why amateur beekeepers will often bathe and change into clean clothes before working a hive.)The larger drone bees do not have stingers, since they are males and the stinger is a modified ovipositor. The queen bee has a smooth stinger and can, if need be, sting skin-bearing creatures multiple times, but the queen does not leave the hive under normal conditions. Her stinger is not for defense of the hive; she only uses it for dispatching rival queens, ideally before they can finish pupating. Queen breeders who handle multiple queens and have the queen odor on their hands are sometimes stung by a queen.
When stung by a jellyfish, first aid may be in order. Though most jellyfish stings are not deadly, other stings, such as those perpetrated by the box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) â€” the most venomous marine creature and possibly the most venomous of any creature on earth â€” may be fatal. Serious stings may cause anaphylaxis and eventual paralyzation, and hence people stung by jellyfish must get out of the water to avoid drowning. In these serious cases, advanced professional care must be sought. This care may include administration of an antivenin and other supportive care such as required to treat the symptoms of anaphylactic shock.There are three goals of first aid for uncomplicated jellyfish stings: prevent injury to rescuers, inactivate the nematocysts, and remove any tentacles stuck on the patient. To prevent injury to rescuers, barrier clothing should be worn. This protection may include anything from panty hose to wet suits to full-body sting-proof suits. Inactivating the nematocysts, or stinging cells, prevents further injection of venom into the patient. Five percent acetic acid solution (white vinegar) is the preferred method, although meat tenderizer, or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) will neutralize any nematocysts that have not yet discharged into the skin. Meat tenderizer should not be left on the skin for more than 15 minutes, and none of these substances should be used in the eyes. In the case of stings on or around the eyes, the solution may be placed on a towel and dabbed around the eyes, but not in them. Salt water may also be used in case any of these compounds are not readily available, but fresh water should never be used. Rinsing the sting site with fresh water, rubbing the wound, or using alcohol, spirits, ammonia, or urine will encourage the release of venom.
Once deactivated, the stinging cells must be removed. This can be accomplished by picking off tentacles left on the body. First aid providers should be careful to use gloves or another readily available barrier device to prevent personal injury, and to follow standard universal precautions. After large pieces of the jellyfish are removed, shaving cream may be applied to the area and a knife edge, safety razor, or credit card may be used to take away any remaining nematocysts.
Beyond initial first aid, antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be used to control skin irritation (pruritis).