What Happens If You Can’t Remove a Bee Stinger?

Failing to remove a stinger allows more venom to absorb into your skin, which can magnify the venom’s effects and result in more pain. For these reasons, it is best in most cases to remove a stinger as quickly as possible, explains beekeeper Allen Dick for HoneyBeeWorld.com.

How you remove a stinger is not as important as how fast. Many people choose to carefully remove a stinger instead of brushing it away with their finger. But carefully scraping or tweezing a stinger takes longer, which allows more venom to set in, notes Dick.

According to Dr. Saralyn R. Williams, once venom from the stinger is in your skin, there is no way to remove venom. The key is to remain calm and then treat the symptoms. Williams recommends icing the sore area, applying a mixture of baking soda and water and consider applying antihistamine lotion.

Some people who have been stung often, such as hive keepers, may develop an immunity to bee stings and feel little-to-nothing when stung, according to Dick. On the other hand, those with allergies or who are stung in sensitive areas such as the lips may feel more pain than others when stingers are not removed.