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14 Things You Should Know About Being Attacked by a Swarm of Bees

Updated July 28, 2020 69.3k views14 items

Let's be clear about one thing: bees are cool and we definitely need them to survive. That being said, they're sometimes pretty dangerous to our health, too. Death by bee swarm has been known to occur, and when it happens, it's never pretty. You might be wondering what being swarmed by bees is like, but we don't recommend you go try it. Instead, we'll be happy to tell you, step by step, what it's like.

If you're wondering, "Can a swarm of bees kill you?" be assured that the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, many people die from bees in the United States every year. It's rare, and if you're not allergic then you'd need to to be swarmed by a ton of bees for it to happen, but it is in fact possible.

In most cases, bee swarms attack out of defense rather than some sort of malice, but that doesn't make the prospect any less frightening. So settle back and, from the safety of your own home, learn what happen when bees give you more than just honey.

  • You're Going to Be in Searing Pain

    We all know that bee stings hurt, but being stung by hundreds or thousands of bees is a whole different story. The venom bees inject into you can start attacking your blood vessels and muscles, and you may feel sick to your stomach, dizzy, achy in your joints, but most of all, you'll feel pain. You may develop hives or open wounds around the stings, and you'll feel burning and itching at the site of injection. You may feel like your muscles themselves are on fire, and the feeling will only get worse over the next few minutes during the attack. The more you're stung, the more it will hurt. The pain can even be incapacitating, and can lead to your escape efforts pretty much evaporating. 

  • You're Going to Swell Up

    Photo: KrisFricke / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    One thing you may have noticed with one or two bee stings is that the area tends to swell up where you've been stuck. It will get red, it will puff up, and it will turn pink or red as it does so. This is due to your body trying to fight off the venom by sending more blood and more white blood cells to that location. Now, imagine that happening all over your body. When thousands of bees sting you, your face will swell, as will your tongue. Your eyes may swell shut, your throat may swell closed, and your hands may become so swollen that you cannot properly use them.

    As this happens, you may feel numbness begin to take over. This is a bad sign, because it means the venom is genuinely beginning to kill you.

  • You'll Have Trouble Breathing

    Trouble breathing is generally a sign of allergic reaction rather than a reaction to the bee venom itself, but it can still happen when you're stung enough times. As you are stung, the venom will begin to reach your heart and your lungs. When it does this, your heart will speed up, trying to process the stuff out of you. You may feel like you've been running for miles (if you haven't already really been doing that while trying to escape) and you may feel your heart pounding. Your blood pressure is going to drop, and you may even begin to lose consciousness. Your body will try to save you, of course, but too much venom from any creature is eventually enough to start shutting things down and killing parts of you. 

  • You'll Start to Have Seizures

    Photo: PowderPhotography / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    If you were having an allergic reaction to bee venom, this is the time when you'd go into anaphylactic shock. Unfortunately, in this case, we're going to look at what happens when you just have so much venom in you that your body cannot cope. As you feel sick to your stomach and begin to faint, your body is going to start to go haywire. When this happens, you may start to have full-on seizures. Your brain is trying to compensate for your blood being full of toxins, sending everything it can to help, but at this point it's not enough. The seizures are a sign that different parts of your body are failing. At this point, there's not much that can be done to save you, because...