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Honeycomb

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bemahan
609881.  Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:04 am Reply with quote

My son has been reading about bees and wondered if a bee sting (being acid) could be neutralised by a wasp sting (being alkali). I know in theory that this is the case, but he was wondering whether it would actually be possible to do it with stings. Short of doing an experiment that would be cruel to his little sister, a bee and a wasp, does anyone know if this is possible? I don't know enough about how the sting mechanism for each works.

 
Celebaelin
609902.  Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:39 am Reply with quote

bemahan wrote:
Cel - is that the recipe where it all froths up and over the pan causing a very sticky mess on top of the cooker? Very nice though.

Yes. Probably depends on how much bicarb you put in.

I wouldn't have thought treating any sting with yet another toxin was a good idea, not to mention the actual stinging part.

Quote:
Apitoxin, or honey bee venom, is a bitter colorless liquid. The active portion of the venom is a complex mixture of proteins, which causes local inflammation and acts as an anticoagulant. The venom is produced in the abdomen of worker bees from a mixture of acidic and basic secretions. Apitoxin is acidic (pH 4.5 to 5.5).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apitoxin

Quote:
The venom from the sting of a European wasp contains several toxins. The principal component of venom is a protein it is the protein that may cause a hypersensitive or allergic reaction in some people. Several different proteins have been demonstrated in wasp venom, the total number and relative proportions vary among the different genera. Other components of venom include an acetylcholine-like substance, histamine, serotonin, and kinin. Kinins are peptides that cause slow contractions of isloated smooth muscle, lower arterial blood pressure, and increase capillary permeability.

http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biocons/invertebrates/Wasps/sting.asp

Quote:
Bee stings and most wasp stings include formic acid, so the pH is acid. However, the portal of entry of the injected toxin is so small that an application of baking soda or the like is likely to be ineffective.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_pH_of_wasp_and_bee_stings

 
ColinM
609909.  Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:47 am Reply with quote

While it's true that bee stings are alkali and wasp stings are acidic, they contain such tiny amounts of venom that the pH isn't really relevant. Adding vinegar/bicarbonate in any noticalbe volume would swamp the tiny effect of the sting.

They do make handy placebos though, and vinegar is also a disinfectant.

 
samivel
609960.  Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:32 am Reply with quote

bemahan wrote:
if a bee sting (being acid) could be neutralised by a wasp sting (being alkali).


ColinM wrote:
it's true that bee stings are alkali and wasp stings are acidic


Make your minds up, people!

 
ColinM
610010.  Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:57 am Reply with quote

Never! I demand the right to remain indecisive until I decide otherwise. Maybe. I also demand the right to get muddled up and say entirely the wrong thing. Because if I'm going to do it anyway I may as well have a right to it.

 
bemahan
610021.  Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:46 am Reply with quote

Although I now know that the amount in each sting is such that applying vinegar/bicarb is a bit pointless, this is one way of remembering which sting is acid and which alkali:

Winegar for wasps
Bicarb for bees

Works as long as you know your chemistry!

 
Celebaelin
610338.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:34 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Contrary to popular belief a wasp sting has a pH of 6.8 to 6.9 so is neutral NOT acidic, therefore the application of an alkali will do no good.

http://www.keele.ac.uk/university/arboretum/articles/wasps.htm

pH6.8 is acidic in fact, but only very slightly. As I mentioned in a previous post both bee and wasp stings are acidic.

 
Ion Zone
610343.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:46 am Reply with quote

Hold on while I try to get a wasp to sting some litmus paper....

 
Celebaelin
610356.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:29 am Reply with quote

You've been beaten to that thought I'm afraid!

Quote:
How Do You Check The pH Of A Wasp Or Bee Sting?

Although the following answer could be considered cruel to the insects used it is probably the best way to set about it. You would firstly require several wasps, squeezing the sternum should release the venom through the sting. When you have a sufficient amount of the venom you can test the pH as you would any other liquid, by using either litmus paper, universal indicator, or an electronic pH reader. You should find the wasp sting is about pH 6.8-6.9 and bee stings are about pH 5.0-5.5.

http://www.blurtit.com/q918898.html

 
ColinM
610363.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:43 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
As I mentioned in a previous post both bee and wasp stings are acidic.

I stand even more corrected.

 
bemahan
610379.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:49 am Reply with quote

ColinM wrote:
Celebaelin wrote:
As I mentioned in a previous post both bee and wasp stings are acidic.

I stand even more corrected.

Me too. Bit sad as it means the book my friend gave my son is wrong which makes me doubt every last bit of information in it :(

 
Ion Zone
610385.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:11 am Reply with quote

I don't think there are many books that don't contain a few mistakes.

 
mckeonj
610443.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 1:39 pm Reply with quote

Another interesting fact about 'honeycomb' is that wasps also make comb in exactly the same hexagonal pattern of hatching cells, but the material is not wax, but paper made by chewing wood and other plant fibres. The same material is used to make a pear-shaped nest to contain the comb, and which hangs in a tree or hedgerow.
Bees and wasps are closely related, I think that the wasp is the ancestor of the bee, and I note that some wasps nest in holes and crevices, like the solitary or humble bee.

 
Jenny
610564.  Wed Sep 09, 2009 6:58 pm Reply with quote

Mosquito bites are acidic, which means ammonia-based 'cures' are best for mosquito bites.

 
Starfish13
611152.  Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:08 am Reply with quote

bemahan wrote:
Cel - is that the recipe where it all froths up and over the pan causing a very sticky mess on top of the cooker? Very nice though.


We always called that cinder toffee, and in NZ it is called hokey-pokey

 

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