- Fear of Bees Phobia – Apiphobia
- Causes of fear of bees phobia
- Symptoms of Apiphobia
- Overcoming and treating Apiphobia
- Overcoming My Fear of Bees Keeping Backyard Bees
- Help Your Child Overcome Their Fears
- What's a Phobia?
- What's a Panic Attack ?
- Different Kinds of Phobias
- Why Do Kids Get Phobias?
- How Are Phobias Treated?
- Which books can help my daughter with her fear of bees and wasps?
- What You Should Know About the Irrational Fear of Bees
- Apiphobia – Fear Of Bees
- Fear of bees and the child
- So in most situations – and especially in adulthood, is the fear of bees irrational?
- How to overcome fear of bees
- Tips to overcome apiphobia
- Conquer Fear of Bees or Wasps Today and Enjoy Yourself Outdoors
- Why a fear of wasps or bees makes you behave irrationally
- Fear of wasps or bees is really a fear of panic
- Hypnosis can help you overcome your fear of wasps or bees
Fear of Bees Phobia – Apiphobia
Apiphobia or the fear of bees is a common zoophobia affecting a sizeable part of the population. The word is derived from Latin ‘api’ which means bees and Greek ‘phobos’ meaning deep dread or fear. Many people suffering from Apiphobia are not only afraid of bees, but also fear wasps (spheksophobia), yellow jackets and all other swarming and flying insects that sting.
To an extent, the fear of bees is absolutely normal and healthy. Many people feel apprehension at the sight of bees, since no one wants to get stung.
But in case of Apiphobia, even the mention of bees (or pictures of bees) can trigger an anxiety response that is akin to that of actually being stung.
Thus, normal and healthy apprehension turns into paralyzing fear which can disrupt the phobic’s day to day functioning.
Causes of fear of bees phobia
Fears and phobias are usually classically conditioned responses of the brain. A previous traumatic or negative reaction is most ly the trigger behind Apiphobia.
- A child, or even an adult, might have accidentally disturbed a beehive and, as a result, been stung several times. (In some cases, one might have only witnessed similar incident and not experienced bee stings at all).
- Socially conditioned responses are often the ly factors that trigger Apiphobia. Parents and caregivers tend to warn children to stay away from bees and wasps. Over protectiveness of this sort can amplify the fear about bees in the young minds.
- wise, parents or older siblings might show intense fear at the sight of bees and young children learn to fear bees as a result.
- Movies, TV shows etc can also trigger such a phobia of bees.
Most childhood cases of Apiphobia resolve by themselves. In some cases though; the fear may persist well into adulthood.
Symptoms of Apiphobia
The sight or thought of bees can trigger one or more of the following symptoms in the phobic:
- Rapid or accelerated heartbeat
- Sweating profusely
- Thoughts of death or movie stills about being stung run in the phobic’s mind
- Loss of control, detachment from reality
- Full blown panic or anxiety attack where the phobic tries to run or screams or cries
Often the Apiphobic realizes that such thoughts are completely irrational. Yet, s/he is unable to control them and continues to think them which result in greater anxiety.
Overcoming and treating Apiphobia
An important part of overcoming the fear of bees is to understand the facts about bees:
- Bees only sting when provoked
- A majority of the bees cannot even sting, (this includes the male bees as well as the solitary varieties).
- Bees are amazing insects that provide us with food and medicine. They are also essential players in the ecosystem.
These facts can help phobics rationalize their fearful thoughts.
wise, counter conditioning therapy is an effective method for overcoming the fear of bees.
This therapy involves brining the fear producing stimulus, in this case bees, closer to the participant until s/he gets ‘conditioned’ to show a positive rather than negative response to it.
This procedure has now evolved into systematic desensitization and gradual exposure therapies both of which expose the sufferer to bees in a gradual manner until they are completely able to control their anxiety.
It also helps when you learn to focus on the feelings you experience upon encountering bees. Deep breathing, counting numbers, diverting your attention away from bees etc are a few simple yet useful self-help techniques that can help one overcome their Apiphobia.
Quiz: Do You Have an Anxiety Disorder? Test Yourself Now
Overcoming My Fear of Bees Keeping Backyard Bees
GIVEAWAY! Enter to win a tube of Stops the Sting! Entry details at the bottom of the post!
When I was about 11 my dad was stung by a Bald Face Hornet. It was a Saturday. He was mowing the lawn. Suddenly the mower engine stopped and my dad came rushing in the house. He showed my mom and me a large, red welt on his leg. The welt was getting larger and larger before our eyes.
My mom told him that she didn’t the look of the sting and thought they should go to the doctors. My dad, never liking to fuss, argued a bit, but as the redness grew, he finally agreed, but said he wanted to take a shower first.
By the time he got the shower, his entire leg was swollen and red.
We rushed to the car and headed to the doctors. While in the car, you could visibly see the reaction moving through his body. My mom was running red lights and speeding through our small town. Looking back, we now see that we should have called 911, but when you’re in that kind of situation you don’t always think clearly.
When we got to the doctors, the reaction had reached his neck and he was having a hard time breathing. I remember the nurses bringing a stretcher to the car and wheeling my dad in. He looked as though his body had been dipped in boiling water.
There were doctors and nurses everywhere around my dad. They seemed to be injecting him with needles as fast as they could fill them. I saw someone wheel in a small cart with two paddles. I later learned that it was a defibrillator used to start someone’s heart after it has stopped beating.
A tube went down my dad’s throat and nurses and doctors were shouting orders and medication names.
I remember standing with my mom watching all of this go on. She was crying and wringing her hands, but I just stood there, too surprised to know what to feel.
Suddenly I heard one of the doctors say “He’s coming it.”
And slowly, magic, the redness started to subside.
Once he was ok, I started to cry and shake. It was as if the release of all the stress came pouring out. I remember the reaction leaving his system was remarkably fast.
My dad had suffered a life threatening allergic reaction to an insect sting. It was a day I’ll never forget. It was a reminder of how tender life really is, that a tiny insect could cause so much damage.
After his reaction, he had to have allergy shots for over a year and couldn’t eat honey. Even though the insect was a hornet, his reaction was so bad, the doctors told him that he shouldn’t take any chances with any type of stinging insect. We were given an epinephrine pen and told that if he ever gets stung, to call 911 and administer the epi pen immediately.
This happened when I was 11. After that, I had a pretty big fear of bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets…pretty much anything capable of stinging. So when my husband Zach said he’d to get into beekeeping I had more than my fair share of reserves, even though it was 20-some years later.
We did a lot of discussing, a lot of research and I told him that he could keep bees but I didn’t want anything to do with them. I would help process the honey and things that, but he was going to be wearing the bee suit and working with the bees.
When the day came to go pick up our box of bees my anxiety levels were at an all-time high. We pulled up to the loading dock at Dadant and there were bees everywhere! Boxes upon boxes! There were also loose bees circling and swirling, buzzing the area.
Facing your fears was an understatement.
I tried to keep my cool around the Dadant workers. But inside I was pretty jumpy. My eyes were everywhere.
On the ride home, I was in a bit of a panic. There was a box of 10,000 bees in the back seat! 10,000! I freak out if a single bee flies in my window while I’m driving, and here we are volunteering to transport 10,000 bees with nothing but a bit of mesh protection. Did I mention there was 10,000?
After a while the soft humming in the backseat seemed less threatening. We had our friend Stacey with us and she was a constant assurance that the bees were doing interesting things, not planning an attack.
When we got home and carried out that first package installation, I was pretty light on my toes…let me tell you!
At one point a bee landed on me and I freaked.
“Ah! It’s on me.”
Stacey in her calm, sweet, yoga voice said “Yes, but it’s not going to sting you.”
And she was right. It just sat on my arm, beating its wings and eventually flew away leaving me unscathed.
After a while of working with the bees (from a distance) and seeing them in the yard pollinating and carrying out their business, I soon realized that the bees were quite docile.
Curiosity over came fear and I learned to love the bees. I always smile when I see one of our bees foraging around the yard. I help Zach with the hives and actually find that I prefer less bee suiting than more. The suit, for me, gets in the way and I can’t see what’s going on around me.
If I can recommend something to all of you reading this, is that if you are planning on getting bees, it might not be a bad idea to talk to you doctor about possible allergies. Get an allergy test and talk about procedure if you are stung. Reactions my dad suffered are rare, but they do happen. It’s always better to error on the side of caution.
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To enter, leave a comment below telling us how many times you’ve been stung, or a few words about your experience with bee stings. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on the Keeping Back Yard Bees Page on March 4th, 2016.
Help Your Child Overcome Their Fears
Continue reading the main story
This story was originally published on Nov. 18, 2019 in NYT Parenting.
One day this summer at camp, my 5-year-old and her friends went on a hike. At some point during their journey, the campers trampled over a wasp nest, making the insects good and angry. By the time my daughter passed over it, two of them stung her. She cried and asked the counselors if she could go home early, but seemed fine by the time my husband got her.
About three weeks later, however, problems began to escalate. First, she refused to eat dinner outside after a wasp buzzed by. Then, she didn’t want to step outside at all, and eventually she refused to travel from the house to the car unless she was carried.
We complied, assuming that, because she’s always been a fairly resilient kid, her fear would abate in a few days. But when it didn’t, I texted a child psychologist friend of mine: “Help.” From her response, I realized we’d been handling the situation all wrong.
By accommodating her fears, I realized, we’d actually been reinforcing them when ideally we should have been helping her get over them.
Clearly, I had a lot of work to do, so I called some experts to get their advice. Here’s what they said parents should do to help their kids overcome their phobias.
A phobia — which psychologists and psychiatrists call a “specific phobia” — is one of a handful of anxiety disorders that kids can develop.
Generally, phobias cause an excessive and uncontrollable fear of an object or situation that’s so intense that it disrupts normal life.
(Agoraphobia is a separate anxiety disorder that’s characterized by the fear of being in situations where it may be difficult or embarrassing to escape.)
When a child has a phobia, their “fight or flight” response goes haywire, inciting exaggerated feelings of fear and danger. Kids can have phobias about pretty much anything — bees, dogs, needles, bridges, darkness, heights, loud noises, vomit, even buttons — and research suggests that as many as about 9 percent of children and adolescents experience them.
(The proportion goes up considerably if you figure in the less serious cases, the time my son was scared of the bathtub drain, but not so scared that he wouldn’t bathe if we provided him with the right toys.) Kids can develop phobias suddenly (as mine did) — often triggered by a frightening experience — or slowly over time, which can be harder to figure out.
How, then, should you react if your kid leaps into your arms at the sight of an approaching dog?
First: Help them feel safe. “You want to be empathic, initially, and supportive,” said Thomas Ollendick, Ph.D., a psychologist and director of the Child Study Center at Virginia Tech. “Try to understand the child and accept what they’re feeling.” The goal in this moment is to help your kid calm down, because often they do feel really, really scared.
Once your child is calm, though, you have more work to do. Revisit the moment. “Find out what their mind was telling them,” suggested Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of “Freeing Your Child from Anxiety.
” Is your kid scared that if a dog bites her, she’ll die or lose a limb? Children can have rather unrealistic ideas about what will happen, and it’s your job to gently correct their misconceptions. Try saying something , “Oh, if you were thinking a dog could bite off your leg, no wonder you were scared!” Try, also, to figure out exactly what your child is afraid of.
Is it all dogs, or just a specific kind of dog? Darkness, or nighttime? It’s important to figure out the source of their fear so you can move on to the next step.
[Learn how to make night terrors less terrifying.]
Parents often make it to this stage, but then stumble: They start accommodating their kid’s fear. It’s totally understandable.
If your toddler screams a banshee whenever she sees the puppy that lives around the corner, of course you’ll start avoiding that house on the way home from day care. But this will only make things worse.
“When I have a family with a child with a phobia, they sometimes come in and say, ‘Fortunately, we didn’t have any encounters with dogs this week,’ and I say, ‘Unfortunately! Practice is what is going to help,’” Dr. Chansky said.
This doesn’t mean that you should force your child into a terrifying — or worse, life-threatening — situation. It’s never a good idea, for instance, to throw your water-fearing kid into the pool to “teach” him how to swim.
Then he’s terrified and distrustful of you, and that’s not good for anyone. What you should do instead is brainstorm ways to gradually expose your child to the thing he fears.
With my daughter, who had become terrified of bees and wasps, I began by talking more about them. I shared cool and reassuring facts ( that male bees can’t sting), and we looked up bee and wasp photos and videos online.
The goal was to expose her to the sight and thought of bees and wasps in ways that didn’t terrify her — so that she could replace her fear response with a calmer, more rational one.
As your child becomes more comfortable, slowly ramp up her exposure more and more, and praise her as you do. “Say, ‘Gosh, you did it, that’s great, look at you!’” Dr. Ollendick said.
After watching the videos, my daughter and I walked over to a closed window and searched outside for bees and wasps. We watched them and talked to them, and I pointed out that they didn’t seem particularly interested in anything but flowers.
Then, we walked outside and stood 15 feet away from a bush surrounded by bees. She was scared, but she held it together, and that’s how I knew we were making progress.
Sometimes, you may not be able to ease your child’s fears by yourself, and you’ll need to seek help from a therapist who specializes in child anxiety. Dr.
Ollendick said that if your child’s phobia rears its head frequently (at least once a day), intensely (causing your child to become totally control) or lasts a long time (their fear remains acute for hours), then professional help might be warranted.
Basically: If it’s really disrupting your child’s life and you can’t resolve it, seek professional help.
We were lucky. After a few days of increasing bee and wasp exposure, which at this point was about three weeks after she’d developed her phobia, my daughter went back to playing outside, and she proudly proclaimed that she didn’t feel scared.
That’s not to say she now loves bees and wasps, though, and that’s O.K. Rachel Busman, Psy.D.
, a clinical psychologist and senior director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute, said that it’s important to teach kids that it’s perfectly normal to worry about something while simultaneously tolerating it.
“It doesn’t mean you have to become in love with vomit or love the dentist or love dogs,” Busman said, “but you can probably pass a dog on the street or you can probably get through a thunderstorm or a dental visit and survive.”
One more thing: If your child has a phobia or seems anxious in other ways, pay attention to the ways you might be inadvertently fueling it. “Sometimes parents convey a message of, ‘You can’t handle what’s out there in the world,’” Dr. Busman explained, and doing so will only increase their anxiety.
An example might be a parent who senses her child is nervous around dogs and then feeds it by saying “Oh, look, there’s a doggy! Are you scared? Do you want to go back into your stroller since it’s so big?” Or, a parent might drop a child off at preschool and say, “Are you scared you’re going to miss Mommy today?”
This kind of framing suggests to kids that they should feel afraid, and that we as parents don’t have faith that they will be able to manage the situation by themselves. If this is the way you tend to talk, try pausing before you speak and reframing your thoughts. “Lead with your curiosity rather than your fear,” Dr. Busman suggested.
Maybe you say, “Have a great day at preschool! What do you think you’re going to do?” That way, you’re not priming your child to be afraid — you’re priming her to feel interested and excited, and you’re sending her the signal that you have confidence in her.
The more we show our kids we believe in them, the more they’ll show us what they can do.
Melinda Wenner Moyer is a mom of two and a science journalist who writes for Slate, Mother Jones, Scientific American and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications.
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“Come on, Marisa!” all of the fifth graders yelled from inside the big elevators. “Hurry up, don't you want to get to the top?”
Marisa looked glum and thought to herself, “Of course I want to get to the top — that's why I came on this field trip.” But when she glanced back at her friends, she felt jealous — how come none of them were terrified of riding in the elevator?
“I'm OK,” she said as brightly as she could. “I'll take the stairs and meet you there.” When she realized how many stairs that would be, Marisa wasn't too happy. But she breathed a sigh of relief knowing that she wouldn't have to take that scary elevator ride.
What's a Phobia?
A phobia (say: FO-bee-uh) is the fancy name for a fear. But a phobia isn't just any kind of fear. It's normal for kids to be afraid of things — taking a hard test at school, passing a growling dog on the street, or hearing a huge clap of thunder.
A phobia is different because it is an extremely strong fear of a situation or thing. It is also a kind of fear that doesn't go away. Kids who have a phobia will be afraid of something every time they see or experience it. They won't just be afraid once or twice. Kids who have phobias often go their way to avoid the situation or thing that scares them.
That's why Marisa had to take the stairs. She has a phobia of being in closed-in spaces and was too scared to take the elevator. Sometimes, when forced to face what's scary, a kid with a phobia might get very nervous and have a panic attack.
What's a Panic Attack ?
Panic attacks can be really scary and may make someone shake, sweat, and breathe quickly. Some people who have panic attacks might have chest pains, feel dizzy, or feel their hearts are pounding and they can't breathe.
A panic attack can cause a kid to think something awful is going to happen, that he or she can't escape or might lose control. Some kids who have panic attacks say that when the attacks are happening, they feel they can't think straight or that they're “going crazy.”
Panic attacks only last a short time. But to somebody who is having one, they can feel much longer. Sometimes, even a kid who knows that the phobia doesn't make sense may not be able to stop the mind and body from reacting and having a panic attack.
Different Kinds of Phobias
There are many different kinds of phobias. The most common kind is a social phobia, which can make someone feel scared of being embarrassed in front of other people.
A kid with a social phobia might feel scared of talking to a teacher or a coach or might be afraid of walking in front of the whole classroom when he or she needs to go to the restroom.
A social phobia can make it nearly impossible for a kid to stand up and give a book report or even enjoy a birthday party. Although most kids might be a little afraid of giving a book report to a big group of kids or talking to a teacher, kids with a social phobia become so afraid that they can't fully enjoy life or function the way other kids do.
Sometimes people may think that a kid with a social phobia is just shy, but it isn't the same thing. A kid with a social phobia may want to go out and have lots of friends, but just can't control the fear of being with others.
Agoraphobia (say: ah-guh-ruh-FO-bee-uh) is another kind of phobia. This causes someone to worry about having a panic attack in a place where leaving would be hard or embarrassing. The fear of the panic is so strong that they often avoid places ( crowds, highways, or a busy store) where they might have a panic attack.
Marisa's fear of riding in the elevator was caused by claustrophobia (say: klos-truh-FO-bee-uh). Claustrophobia is the fear of being in an enclosed space, an elevator, a tunnel, or an airplane.
There are almost as many phobias as there are things and situations: arachnophobia (say: uh-rak-nuh-FO-bee-uh) is a fear of spiders, whereas ablutophobia (say: uh-bloo-tuh-FO-bee-uh) is a fear of washing yourself or taking a bath or shower.
Why Do Kids Get Phobias?
No one really knows exactly why certain kids get phobias. Some scientists think that a person's genes may have something to do with it, and that a kid who has a social phobia might have a parent with one, too. Sometimes a traumatic thing in a kid's life — the death of a parent, dealing with a divorce, or a big move — can cause a phobia to start.
Scientists do know some things about phobias, though. They know that about 5 100 people in the United States have one or more phobias. Women are slightly more ly to have phobias than men. Most social phobias start when a person is a teenager, although this and other kinds of phobias can also start when a kid is younger.
How Are Phobias Treated?
Kids who have phobias often start by seeing their doctors. In many cases, the doctor will suggest that the kid visit a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. If a kid is diagnosed with a phobia, one of these specialists can help.
Some kids will take medications that help them better handle their phobias. Sometimes a kid can learn new ways of dealing with the phobia. This could include relaxation exercises that help the kid feel more in control. Part of handling the phobia may be facing it head on.
For instance, part of Marisa's treatment might be riding on an elevator, though she might start slowly by just watching other people get on an elevator or just stepping inside with the doors open.
Depending on the kid and how severe the phobia is, treatment can take weeks, months, or longer. In the meantime, the important thing to remember is that phobias can be treated, and kids can learn to deal with them and feel more in control of their lives.
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: September 2013
Which books can help my daughter with her fear of bees and wasps?
My child is very frightened by wasps and bees. As the weather warms up they will return and I’m wondering if there are any books which might help her be less frightened of them?
Given that give a nasty sting, it’s no surprise that children – and adults – can be very frightened of wasps and bees. To help your child, it might be best to look at them scientifically. The more you know about them, the less horrible they seem.
And, for bees especially, you can also stress their positive contributions; most children honey enough to see that as a plus point!
James Maclaine’s Bees and Wasps is really designed for the classroom but it is just as useful as an introduction at home. It begins by naming all the parts of bees and wasps and simply describes the purpose of each.
Even though the insects continue to look pretty ferocious – especially the hornet – knowing that the wiggly things on their heads are feelers that help them to smell and touch makes them seem a little less sinister.
It also describes the vital role both bees and wasps play in pollination and therefore in giving us attractive flowers, before showing how bees make honey.
Margaret Hall’s Wasps is another information book with a no-nonsense feel to it. Here photographs bring the same points to life making the natural world children are looking at even more “real”.
Steve Voake’sInsect Detective illustrated by Charlotte Voake is such a visually charming introduction to the wider world of insects including wasps and bees that it will disarm most children.
In words and pictures, the book guides children to look closely at the many insects that live nearby but prefer to not to be seen.
It makes them all, wasps and bees included, seem far more frightened than frightening.
But let’s face it, wasps (and hornets) are fairly difficult to present in a really positive light so wasps tend not to do well in stories. Bees do better.
In Edward Gibbs’s attractive picture book Little Bee, the Little Bee is fleeing from the hungry frog who is himself about to be eaten by a scary snake, who is itself trying to escape from the mean mongoose and so on.
As the circle is completed it becomes clear that there is someone fleeing from the bee… the story doesn’t minimise the fact that the bee can sting but it shows that it is also at risk, which makes it seem far less unpleasant.
Photograph: Angela Banner
No one who has enjoyed Angela Banner’s many classic books about best-friends Ant and Bee can dis bees all the time.
Introduced first in Ant and Bee – with their initial letters so conveniently beginning this story and the other “alphabet” stories in the series such as Ant and Bee Go Shopping and Around the World with Ant and Bee – the two friends have a number of delightfully fanciful and largely human experiences which are very far removed from anything stinging!
Wasp trapping in The Giant Jam Sandwich. Photograph: John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway
But if your child still just wants to know how best to get rid of the pesky wasps with their nasty stings there is nothing is better than John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway’s The Giant Jam Sandwich in which the citizens of Itching Down fill giant slices of bread with a plentiful amount of jam so that they can trap all the plaguing wasps forever!
Do you have a question for the Book Doctor? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or pose it on @GdnchildrensBks, using #BookDoctor. If you are under 18 and not a member of the Guardian children’s books site join here, we’re packed full of book recommendations and ideas.
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What You Should Know About the Irrational Fear of Bees
Cheyenne Montgomery/Moment/Getty Images
Known as apiphobia, the irrational fear of bees is arguably one of the most common specific animal phobias. all phobias, the fear of bees may have many different causes. Some people develop a phobia after being stung or watching someone else get stung, but prior exposure is not necessary for the fear to occur.
There is a distinct difference between fearing and not wanting to get stung by a bee, and someone who is apiphobic. Those with apiphobia often find themselves in life-limiting situations, such as avoiding the outdoors in an effort to not come in contact with bees, or refusing to go out during certain climates when bees are more common.
In most people, a bee sting is a mildly painful annoyance. Nonetheless, the experience can be frightening, especially for children. Bees often swarm, traveling together in tightly packed groups.
Although it is relatively uncommon to be stung by more than one bee at once, it can certainly happen, especially if the hive is disturbed.
Being attacked by numerous bees simultaneously may increase the risk of developing a phobia.
Some people are highly allergic to bee stings. In people with an allergy, a single sting could cause a dangerous reaction, and multiple stings could easily lead to death.
By definition, a phobia is irrational. For those who are allergic to bee stings, however, the fear is perfectly rational. If you are allergic to bees, then a fear of them is not considered a phobia.
Bees take on the role of villain in numerous films, but the popular media may be to blame for some cases of apiphobia.
So-called Africanized bees developed when specially bred African bees, believed to produce more honey, were accidentally released in the 1950s.
The African bees mated with other species of wild bees, producing a strain of Africanized bees that are more aggressive than the relatively docile European bees.
As the Africanized bees continue to spread across the world, the media reports on their progress, often greatly exaggerating their aggressive tendencies. The term “killer bees” is often used to describe this strain, even though they are responsible for only one or two deaths in the United States each year.
Bees are exceptionally common, making it very difficult to avoid them. Fortunately, all phobias, the fear of bees generally responds well to a variety of brief therapy options. Of course, if you are allergic to bee stings, it is important to work with your physician to develop an appropriate response to minimize your risks.
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Schönfelder ML, Bogner FX. Individual perception of bees: Between perceived danger and willingness to protect. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(6):e0180168. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180168
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Stinging Insect Allergy.
Apiphobia – Fear Of Bees
The fear of bees is also called Apiphobia. But what causes fear of bees? Here, we are going to look at the causes and and how to overcome apiphobia, with practical tips and information I hope you will find helpful.
Fear of bees and the child
I find in most cases, the fear of bees (apiphobia) has its routes in childhood experience. Sometimes, this fear is irrational, but on other occasions, an event has triggered this fear, so that a general apiphobia develops and continues into adult life.
Causes of fear of bees include:
- being taught, especially by adults, to fear bees, and in particular, there being a very major (even exaggerated) emphasis on the dangers of being stung. For instance, if your parents or teachers panicked whenever a bee happened to fly by, and if they were very protective toward you, this may have amplified your fear of danger. With such strong social conditioning, you may develop apiphobia (even if you have never been stung).
- children can sometimes learn that specific behaviours help them to gain attention. For example, a child may learn that by creating a fuss when bees are seen nearby will ensure a parental reaction. In adulthood, this becomes an irrational fear of bees, but the roots of it have long been forgotten.
- being stung as a child, and remembering the event, as well as attaching a very upsetting or distressing memory to the event. In one sense, this fear is rational, because the mind has learned that a bee sting could be painful. On the other hand, the mind may irrationally exaggerate the potential lihood and regularity of being stung in the future.
- witnessing another person being stung, and finding this distressing, could similarily cause a justified fear of bee stings, but an exaggerated view of the general threat.
So in most situations – and especially in adulthood, is the fear of bees irrational?
In addition to the above explanations as to why people fear bees, there are other factors, and it could be said that these cause an irrational fear of bees:
- ignorance – misunderstandings about bees, and an assumption that all bees sting, are out to get humans, and are naturally very aggressive (all of which are untrue)
- the media, exaggerating the threat of bee stings, with sensationalist language, such as “Bees in aggressive attack”
However, sometimes a fear of bees is justified, especially for those who have severe and life-threatening allergies to bee stings, but these cases are relatively rare, and sufferers usually carry an epi-pen. Even here, however, it is worth noting that not all bees even possess a stinger!
How to overcome fear of bees
If it's a problem for you, then know that overcoming apiphobia is perfectly possible, and there are different means to do this. The cure for your apiphobia may be different from some-one elses.
The approach you take will depend on you, and may include:
- simply getting the facts and rationally letting go of your fear,
- implementing practical tips,
- self-counselling and therapy.
Here are my tips, covering each of these approaches:
Tips to overcome apiphobia
1. Try changing your focus:
When faced with difficult situations, many people focus on their feelings, such as fear or nervousness, rather than the task in hand or the next task or goal. For example, before giving a presentation to a group of people, they will focus on their nervousness rather than delivering the presentation content, and so these feelings become more intense.
It is actually better to distract oneself, by focusing on the task in hand, rather than how you are feeling.
So if you have apiphobia, then focusing on your feelings of fear whenever you see a bee, is the last thing you want to do. Try to take a couple of deep breaths. Divert your attention away from the bee if possible, perhaps to the last task you were engaged in, or instead of looking at the bee, study the flower next to it. Then move further away as calmly as you can.
2. Put your fears in perspective, or try positive thinking:
- Remember, there are many times you will have been close to bees without even realising it, and yet they have not harmed you. For example, perhaps you walked past a public garden, hanging baskets, or planted containers. These are all places where bees may be performing their all important role of pollinating plants. The fact is, most bees do not sting, they are largely unnoticed, and they are not out to sting you!
- Remember the importance of bees when you eat a bowl of strawberries, an apple or a blueberry muffin!
- Unless you have a severe allergy, even if you were stung, the worst that would happen would be temporary pain and a swelling. It would not be pleasant, but could you handle it? In comparison with say, childbirth, surely a bee sting is a walk in the park!
- To put the threat of bee stings in perspective, think back to your childhood. You were more ly to get hit by your sibling or in the school playground, or to fall over or bump yourself than to get stung! Even as an adult, the amount of times you cut your finger or bump your head in a year probably exceeds the number of times you are ly to be stung.
It may help you to understand the reasons why insects sting or bite. The book 'Sting' aims to explain all this.
3. Be practical:
- Most people will soon recover from a bee sting (see my page about treating bee stings ).However, if you are one of the rare and unfortunate people for whom one single bee sting could be fatal, then ensure you carry your Epi-pen with you. Knowing you have your Epi-pen will provide reassurance.
|Ad – Paid Link:||Inform others of your allergy, and about your Epi-pen. If necessary, carry a charm, this one left.|
- If you are fearful because you have found a bees nest, firstly, rest assured there is rarely anything to fear. Keep pets and children away from the area, and allow the bees to go about their business. If it is absolutely essential, call a beekeeper for help, or see my page about bee removal.
- Do not exaggerate the dangers to your child – instead, set a positive example, but explain that accidents can happen. Protect children from stings in the first place with a repellent – there are wearable products available, such as these below:
- Site outdoor repellents around eating and play areas.
- There are DEET-free repellents:
With the best will in the world, accidents can happen, and children and toddlers can be stung – I know this – I was stung by a bumblebee when I was a toddler (I had wanted to pick up this cuddly-looking creature, but being a toddler, I was rather clumsy). But what is important is how the incident is dealt with. Despite being stung as a child, here I am, trying to do my bit for bees!
4. Get the facts about apiphobia and bees
Fears can be greatly allayed when we know the truth, so that we can put everything in perspective. Phantoms are scary until we realise they are only phantoms. So what are the facts? Knowing more about bees and the threat of stings, may help allay your fears:
- Bees rarely sting, and only do so if afraid or provoked (for example, by being trodden on). Many bees actually cannot sting. For instance, males do not sting, and many solitary bees (by far the biggest group of bee species) do not sting either.
- Of the remaining types of bees, bumblebees are generally very docile. Leave them alone to do their thing, and they won’t disturb you – you probably pass them undisturbed and without even realizing it, when you walk by public planting schemes, pots of plants, hanging baskets, and even your own garden.
- Honey bees may sting if their honey stores are threatened. Are you ly to be wandering around a bee hive in the near future? If not, you are unly to be stung. Honey bee swarms are generally docile as long as you keep the way. Call a beekeeper if you need help to remove a swarm (or a nest for that matter).More more information, see my page: do all bees sting?
- Sensationalist publicity about Killer Bees (specifically, Africanized Bees), has not helped the situation. Within the huge population of the USA, only one or two deaths by stings occur every year. But from some reports you’d think they were very common – in fact, in the USA, you are more likley to be killed by lightning strike, road traffic, or at the hands of another human than be killed by bee stings (- see more facts and the references here – opens a new window). This irresponsible reporting is very unhelpful given the dire situation facing bee populations (and lack of pollination means rising food prices, duller gardens and countryside, as well as biodiversity loss). It can encourage people to behave irrationally, demanding bees (including wild bees) be exterminated, and can result in the unnecessary killing of bees.
- Again, check my bee sting facts. You’ll see that in the USA as an example, you are more ly to die at the hands of another human than to die from bee stings. In addition, you would need to be stung many, many times in order to die of such an event, unless of course, you happen to have an allergy. If this is the reason for your Apiphobia, then be prepared! Please remember, bees perform an absolutely vital role in the eco-system, and are truly amazing creatures. Even their by-products are sometimes used in medicines and health treatments that benefit humans.
5. Apiphobia therapy
Since Apiphobia is basically governed by the mind and thought processes, you may wish to think about hypnosis or self-hypnosis as a way to cure your apiphobia.
Did You Know?
Not all bees can sting! Many bees (probably most) are fairly docile and harmless!
Did You Know?
More people are killed by lightning than bee stings!
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Conquer Fear of Bees or Wasps Today and Enjoy Yourself Outdoors
Does even the buzz of a bee or a wasp have your heart racing and palms sweating?
Do you find it hard to enjoy yourself outdoor because you're worried you might have to deal with stinging insects?
Being concerned about insects that can sting you is not irrational. Bee and wasp stings can be quite unpleasant, and some people can have allergic reactions and have extra reason to take care.
So, it's sensible to avoid doing anything that might frighten any stinging insect you encounter, as they are not on the hunt for humans, and will not attack unless they feel threatened.
So, for example, wildly flapping your hands at a bee that's buzzing around your head is not sensible behavior, as it risks seriously frightening them and will put them on the defensive. That's when you're much more ly to get stung – although even then the bee is more ly to try to get away than actually go for you.
But you probably know all that.
Why a fear of wasps or bees makes you behave irrationally
You know even as you're doing it that waving your arms about isn't helping. But it feels you can't help it. Something just drives you into a panic, and in a panic nobody can think straight.
And when you know that the sight of a wasp or the buzz of a bee is going to send you into a panic, it seems a good idea to just avoid situations where you might encounter these tiny creatures.
But the problem is, you can't fully avoid them and live a normal life. Sometimes you just find yourself right there when a wasp comes buzzing by. And off goes the panic.
Fear of wasps or bees is really a fear of panic
The truth is that the problem is not the bees or the wasps. Human beings have lived happily alongside them for millennia, and although some people get stung sometimes and that's not nice, we generally know how to co-exist peacefully with them. The problem is the panic.
What is panic? It is an overwhelming feeling of fear. The strength of this feeling is not necessarily proportional to the 'threat' that triggers it. In the case of fears and phobias, the trigger can even have nothing whatever to do with the fear.
Of course, with bees and wasps, there is a genuine element of threat, but when you objectively consider what danger a sting of this nature is, it is clear that the fear is all proportion.
It doesn't really matter how you acquired this disproportionate 'panic' response. The good news is that you can easily 'reset' the level of response that your automatic 'fight or flight' system generates in your body.
Won't it be nice to be able to sit out in a garden or park, or enjoy a barbecue with your family and friends, without worrying about what other forms of life might be attending the event?
How can you do this?
Hypnosis can help you overcome your fear of wasps or bees
Overcome Fear of Bees and Wasps is an audio hypnosis session developed by psychologists with wide experience in helping people overcome phobias and fears. The powerful hypnotic suggestions bypass your conscious mind and reach directly into your unconscious – where instinctive responses are created.
As you repeatedly listen and relax to this download, you'll soon notice that
- your memories of past bee/wasp incidents have begun to change
- your mental image of these creatures has transformed
- bees and wasps don't seem worth bothering about anymore
- you often completely forget to think about them
- you feel much more relaxed and at ease outdoors
Download Overcome Fear of Bees and Wasps and free yourself to be relaxed, no matter what little critters are flying around. You can listen on your computer or device or via our free app which you can access when you have completed your purchase.