Fear of bees
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|Fear of bees|
|Honey Bees are an example of the kinds of bees a person could be fearful of.|
Fear of bees (or of bee stings ), technically known as melissophobia (from Greek : μέλισσα, melissa , “honey bee” + , phobos , “fear”) and also known as apiphobia (from Latin apis for ” honey bee ” + Greek : φόβος, phobos , “fear”), is one of the common fears among people and is a kind of specific phobia.
Most people have been stung by a bee or had friends or family members stung. A child may fall victim by treading on a bee while playing outside. The sting can be quite painful and in some individuals results in swelling that may last for several days and can also provoke allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, so the development of loathsome fear of bees is quite natural.
Ordinary (non-phobic) fear of bees in adults is generally associated with lack of knowledge. The general public is not aware that bees attack in defense of their hive , or when accidentally squashed, and an occasional bee in a field presents no danger.  Moreover, the majority of insect stings in the United States are attributed to yellowjacket wasps, which are often mistaken for a honeybee. 
Unreasonable fear of bees in humans may also have a detrimental effect on ecology . Bees are important pollinators , and when, in their fear, people destroy wild colonies of bees, they contribute to environmental damage and may also be the cause of the disappearing bees. 
The renting of bee colonies for pollination of crops  is the primary source of income for beekeepers in the US, but as the fears of bees spread, it becomes hard to find a location for the colonies because of the growing objections of local population.
- 1 Africanized bees
- 2 Treatment
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
Africanized bees[ edit ]
A widespread fear of bees has been triggered by rumors about ” killer bees .” In particular, the Africanized bee is widely feared by the American public, a reaction that has been amplified by sensationalist movies and some media reports. Stings from Africanized bees kill one to two people per year in the United States,  a rate that makes them less dangerous than venomous snakes , particularly since, unlike venomous snakes, they are found only in a small portion of the country. 
As the bees spread through Florida , a densely populated state, officials worry that public fear may force misguided efforts to combat them. The Florida African Bee Action Plan states,
News reports of mass stinging attacks will promote concern and in some cases panic and anxiety, and cause citizens to demand responsible agencies and organizations to take action to help ensure their safety. We anticipate increased pressure from the public to ban beekeeping in urban and suburban areas. This action would be counter-productive. Beekeepers maintaining managed colonies of domestic European bees are our best defense against an area becoming saturated with AHB. These managed bees are filling an ecological niche that would soon be occupied by less desirable colonies if it were vacant.
[ dead link ]
Treatment[ edit ]
Exposure therapy has been proven as an effective treatment for people who have a fear of bees. It is recommended that people place themselves in a comfortable open environment, such as a park or garden, and gradually over a prolonged period of time move closer to the bees. This process should not be rushed, it may take many months spent watching bees before people feel comfortable in their presence.
Apiphobia is one of the zoophobias prevalent in young children and may prevent them from taking part in any outdoor activities. Older people control the natural fear of bees more easily.  However, some adults face hardships of controlling the fear of bees.
A recommended way of overcoming child’s fear of bees is training to face fears (a common approach for treating specific phobias);  programs vary.
See also[ edit ]
- List of phobias
Notes[ edit ]
- ^ “Where are the Bees?” Archived 2007-07-02 at the Wayback Machine . a transcript from Impact Television , a weekly TV series by University of Florida
- ^ Bee or Yellow Jacket Stings Archived 2006-12-13 at the Wayback Machine ., a hospital advise
- ^ “The Birds, the Bees, and the Flying Foxes: Pollinators in Jeopardy” (PDF). Holt, Rinehart, Winston. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- ^ “The progress of Africanized Bees in the United States (1990-1995)” and online version of an article from California Agriculture, 51:22-25
- ^ Warner, Amanda. “Beekeepers warn of summer threat” . Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- ^ Bee Keeping , Bee Busters, 2014, retrieved March 22, 2014
- ^ Florida African Bee Action Plan Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine ., by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- ^ a b Fighting children’s fears, fast , from Monitor on Psychology, Volume 36, No. 7, 2005, by American Psychological Association
- Webarchive template wayback links
- Infobox medical condition (new)
- Articles containing Greek-language text
- All articles with dead external links
- Articles with dead external links from March 2014
- This page was last edited on 31 October 2018, at 05:24 (UTC).
- Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License ;
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Helping child with fear of bees – Phobia?
My six year old is mildly autistic, high anxiety, but very high functioning. We’ve had a whirlwind of tough behaviors over the years, but he’s
recently been doing very well with neurotransmitter treatment and behavioral therapy.
Now that spring is here, Thomas has suddenly become violently afraid of bees. I’m not sure where the fear comes from; he’s never been stung and his
father and I have never shown any fear toward them. Thomas has always loved the outdoors, but the new fear of bees has him in a panic and no longer
enjoying time outside.
Do you have any ideas of how we can help me make him comfortable and less fearful? I’m totally at a loss at how to deal with it. Thank you!
So frustrating, when you want him to enjoy being outdoors in the spring, and he’s afraid of bees!
Maybe he saw a cartoon of someone being chased by a bee? But it’s just as likely that while Thomas is focusing his fear on bees, the fears are more free-floating.
Maybe they simply derive from the fears that all children have, and his have somehow gotten focused onto bees.
Regardless of where his fear is coming from, right now it is doing what all fear does: making Thomas panic, so he can’t think or listen to reason. The
way to help him with this is to help him to gradually “face” his fear and realize that he’s actually safe. That’s the only way fear goes away. If we
don’t face fears, they gradually expand to take over other areas of our lives. In fact, wherever this fear comes from, it is now curtailing his ability
to feel comfortable outside and causing a sense of constant threat when he is outside.
So how do you help Thomas face his fear? You help him to feel it in small bits at a time, while reassuring him that he is safe. He breathes his way through
it, and as he does so, the fear that is squeezing in on him begins to evaporate. (This is what happens to all emotions when we allow ourselves to feel
them.) So “experiencing” the fear in small doses allows it to dissipate and vanish.
You don’t have to start directly with bees. In fact, I would not advise it. And you don’t even have to start with “fear” directly. Instead, start with
anxiety, which is mild fear. Giggling is one of the best ways to vent anxiety. That’s why laughter is so healing to humans. So every day, be sure that
you find a number of times to get your son giggling and belly-laughing. The only caveat here is NOT to use tickling, because it seems to be a different
biological mechanism and does not provide the same release, and it can make your child feel powerless and out of control. But anything else that gets
him giggling will effectively surface and release anxiety and help your son be more relaxed and flexible–and less in the grip of his “phobia.”
I would particularly suggest games that dance on the edge of fear. For instance, play bucking bronco, so that he is just slightly worried about falling
off — enough to shriek with laughter. Roughhouse with him, tossing him around physically. You’ll know you’re on the right track if he’s giggling.
I would also suggest letting Thomas laugh at you for your fears. If he’s afraid of the doctor, let him give you shots, and exaggerate your fear in a way
that makes him laugh. Also, pick something that Thomas is NOT afraid of, and pretend to be very frightened of it. Make it something harmless. Be silly
and over the top in your reaction — not actually panicky, but more goofy, so that Thomas laughs at your reaction. The goal is to get him giggling
as much as possible. Let Thomas reassure you. You could try different things. Start with a rock, move on to a butterfly, and then maybe a roly poly
In the meantime, when Thomas expresses a fear of bees, empathize. It won’t work to talk him out of it, and telling him there’s nothing to be frightened
of would just make him feel ashamed. But once you empathize, you can reassure him: “They’re scary, huh? I understand. I’ll keep you safe, Sweetie….Don’t worry, they won’t come to us. They only sting to defend themselves so we’ll leave them alone.” You will probably have to stay close to him while he’s outside. Offering him reassurance is a healing process, because it is an antidote to the fear
that’s locked up inside him, making him feel alone and scared.
After a week or so of helping Thomas laugh as much as possible each day, move on to “play” about bees. Try to come up with things that get him giggling
about bees. Start by drawing a bee, when the two of you are doing artwork together. Be silly about it by giving Thomas the opportunity to give it a
silly name, like “Silly Bee” so-called because he always gets lost, or he loves honey so much he forgets what he’s supposed to be doing. Not only does
this get Thomas laughing about a topic that holds great anxiety for him, but you are moving the bee from a position of threat and great power to one
of silly powerlessness.
You can move on then to humanizing the bee. If Thomas likes dinosaurs, give SillyBee a dinosaur best friend. When he gets lost in the honey, his mother
misses him and goes in search of him. As you draw and discuss the bee family, pay close attention to Thomas’ level of comfort. If he seems very anxious,
breathe with him. Or simply back off a bit. Or best yet, find a way to make the whole thing more giggly, which will relax him.
What if the presence of the bee drawings makes him panic? Let him crumple up the drawing and throw it in the trash, which will be empowering for him. If
he’s still upset, hold him and speak soothingly. Tell him that you will keep him safe. That you know he is frightened, but he’s safe. Let him sweat
and cry and offload all that panic. Afterwards, he will be much more relaxed, about bees and about everything else.
Once Thomas is able to relax about the bee drawings, begin role playing bees with him. Ask him if he will be a bee and chase you. Play the part of being
scared in a goofy, over-the-top way. If he finally catches you and “stings” you, ham up your fear reaction but don’t emphasize pain as a response.
The goal is to get him giggling and help him feel powerful.
Then, reverse roles. You take on the role of bee, but be hopelessly incompetent. Bumble. Fly into things. Brag about how you’ll catch up to him and sting
him, but never come close. Or just come close enough to get him screeching with laughter, and then stumble.
Finally, you can buy several toy bees at the store — preferably a mom, dad and boy, to “humanize” them. Introduce them to Thomas as a bee family. Don’t
make him touch them or interact with them if he doesn’t want to, but if he’s willing, work with him to make them a little house or beehive. Talk about
them in friendly terms, for instance, how wonderful they are to make honey for us. Leave them out, so that he gets used to seeing them.
By now, Thomas should be fairly relaxed about encountering bees outside. If you’re lucky enough to find an actual dead bee, put it in a jar and let him
observe it, and once he feels comfortable, actually examine it using tweezers. When he sees a live bee, you will probably still need to put your arms
around him and stay close while you observe together. But by now he should be able to breathe his way through his anxiety without it developing into
a full-fledged panic.
Good luck, and here’s hoping you and Thomas have a lovely summer!
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