“Don’t try to squeeze the bee stinger to get it out; it will only push out more of the venom.”
Huh… how did I get through all these years of life (including many bee stings) without knowing this? It turns out that while I was living in ignorance, an entire debate was being held about whether how you remove a bee stinger really matters.
And guess what? It turns out it doesn’t. Searching through numerous online treatises on this subject I found all of the recent ones in agreement: The important thing is not how you remove the bee stinger… but how quickly. The faster the better… no matter what the means. One author points out:
The moral of the story is to do what animals do: Get the stinger out! When animals get stung, they don't reach into their wallets for their library card to scrape out the stinger. They bite it off or rub up against a tree or scratch with their paws. Animals instinctively know that if it hurts it needs to go, the sooner the better.
(Source: Article by Rod Brouhard, About.com; http://firstaid.about.com/od/bitesstings/f/Remove-Bee-Stinger.htm)
It makes me wonder what other lessons we might learn from different animals…
- Hibernate in the winter
- Use camouflage wisely
- Taste something before shoving it in your mouth
- Roll in the mud to keep bugs from biting
- Huddle together to stay warm
- Let other animals help you get clean
- Lay around looking tough while the female lions do all the work
Okay, so it clearly doesn’t work for every situation, but it does provide some useful insight. It feels to me like sometimes, in our desire to humanize our world, we lose track of the beauty of nature. So much has been figured out for us. But I believe that with less time spent outdoors, away from nature, comes less of an ability to understand those instinctive lessons. Perhaps this is why the Native American lifestyle is so intriguing to young children. A world where animal spirits help guide decisions makes sense to them in a way it can’t for adults who now need planners, iphones, autos and blenders to survive.
As you might be able to guess, I never made it beyond Brownies as a Girl Scout. Perhaps I would have learned some of these lessons had I remained in the organization… but only if I went outdoors. Because while outside a bear was rubbing up against a tree…inside the leader was apparently teaching them the proper way to remove a bee
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