You hate bees with every fiber of your being, so it’s better to take precautions during the spring and summer seasons. You and your family members use insect repellent before you go outside. You even rely heavily on pest control to rid your home, yard, or pool area of bees. You choose to forget about that beautiful flower garden you wanted to plant last week-it’s the perfect hunting ground for bees.
Every step you take stems from one thing, and one alone-your fear of bees. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have a fear of anything, but you worry that your fear prevents you from fully enjoying yourself when you’re outdoors. You might also want to make sure that your kids, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren don’t have to suffer from the same fear.
You’ve decided that it’s time to overcome your fear. Luckily, it’s never too late to try. As you learn more about where your fear of bees emanates from, you can more easily work to overcome this fear.
Etymology of the “Fear of Bees”
Did you know that there are actually two words to describe the fear of bees or bee stings? One word for “fear of bees” is actually a Greek word-melissophobia. This word stems from the Greek words melissa (which means “honey bee”) and phobos (which means “fear”). However, the most common word attributed to this specific fear is apiphobia. This word stems from the Latin word apis (“honey bee”) and the Greek phobos.
Signs That Point to Apiphobia
Now that you know two words that describe the fear of bees, you might want to learn more about signs that indicate apiphobia. Common symptoms of this fear include:
- Detachment from reality
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of control
- Panic or anxiety attacks
- Rapid or accelerated heartbeat
If you manifest one or more of these symptoms at the sight or mere thought of bees, you most likely have apiphobia. This fear, however, stems from a number of different causes.
Causes of Apiphobia
One of the biggest instigators for apiphobia is the widespread rumors about killer bees. “Killer bees” is a misnomer given to Africanized honey bees. This specific breed of honey bees behaves differently than typical honey bees in that when they are disturbed, the entire hive will attack. Typical honey bees are less aggressive if they feel that their home is threatened.
Though Africanized bees do sting people or creatures that disturb their hive, their stings only kill one to two people in the United States per year-that means that “killer bees” are actually less deadly than venomous snakes and spiders.
Movie producers took advantage of this fear, and in 1966 the first bee-themed horror film was created. The film, The Deadly Bees, was just a precursor to other films such as Killer Bees, The Savage Bees, The Swarm, and Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee Nightmare. As these horror films grew in popularity, so did the fear of bees.
However, horror films about giant, deadly bees are not the only cause for apiphobia. You may have been stung by a bee when you were a child or as an adult. You may have seen another person get stung as well. Some people develop serious, and even lifethreatening, allergies to bee stings. Children and adults who have such a traumatizing experience often engrain the memory in their minds and develop a justified fear of bees.
Additionally, parents teach their children to avoid bees and other stinging insects to prevent harm. However, as parents try to warn and protect their children, they inadvertently condition their children with a natural fear of these insects. If you or another adult fear and react to bees, children observe and remember your reaction, and then become afraid of bees themselves.
You might encounter many different life experiences that can condition you to fear bees. But just because you highly fear bees doesn’t mean that you can’t work to overcome your fear.
Ways to Conquer Apiphobia
Though there aren’t any scientifically developed remedies or treatments to cure apiphobia-or any phobia for that matter-you can still try a few things to overcome or outgrow your current fears.
1. Discover the Root of Your Fear
Think back on your life and try to pinpoint exactly where your fear of bees began. Was it the time you ate bee-flavored ice cream in the park? Did you step on a bee playing tag with your parents? Once you discover the root of your fear, you can more easily work to conquer your fear.
2. Learn the Truth About Bees
Many people actually don’t know a lot about bees. People just assume that bees are dangerous insects because they sting you. As you learn the truth about bees, you will discover that these insects actually aren’t as dangerous as you once believed. Did you know that not all bees sting, and those that do only sting when provoked? Read this article about honey bees (http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-bee-facts.html) or check out these 13 fun facts (http://mentalfloss.com/article/53691/13-fascinating-facts-about-bees).
3. Consult with a Therapist
If you can’t easily overcome your fear of bees, you might want to consult with a therapist. He or she will talk with you about your fear and help you overcome it in the manner that best suits you. Depending on the severity of your fear, your therapist might refer you to a psychiatrist for an anti-anxiety prescription.
Another way to overcome this fear is to enroll in a training course that specializes in facing and overcoming fears. All programs and courses vary. Look around or ask a therapist if they know of any programs offered near you.
You’ve never wanted your fear of bees to control your life. Discover the causes for your fear of bees and try some of the above methods to overcome that fear. You never know how well any method works until you try it.