Do you frequently dread wasps?

If you have an intense fear of wasps, bees, or bumblebees, you may have apiphobia. Below we will tell more about its symptoms, causes and consequences.

Many people feel fear or a strong rejection of insects, sometimes even developing an irrational fear. One of the most common insect phobias is apiphobia, the fear of bees, wasps, or bumblebees . Thus, simply hovering around someone or just seeing a nearby nest can trigger a series of strongly unpleasant symptoms.

Despite being an animal that is quite peaceful with humans and fundamental in the cycle of nature, bees unleash panic in more people than you can expect. Even so, it is estimated that around 3% of the population suffers from a phobia of bees . Next, we delve into the symptoms, causes, and consequences of apiphobia.

Apiphobia and its symptoms

Apiphobia or excessive fear of wasps is also known as melisophobia , by its name in Greek (melissa). As its name suggests, it is an anxiety disorder , specifically a phobia. This type of disorder manifests itself when, faced with a stimulus - in this case wasps, bees or bumblebees - a very intense or irrational fear is felt.

In addition to that feeling of fear, the person feels discomfort and anxiety. Thus, among these more physiological symptoms the most common are usually: dizziness , vertigo, increased heart rate, hyperventilation or difficulty breathing , nausea, tremors, headache, feeling faint, etc.

On the other hand, there are cognitive symptoms. That is, those that affect the person's thinking. Among them, a person with apiphobia would show lack of concentration, intrusive thoughts about the possibility of more bees appearing, thoughts of death, or distorted thoughts about the situation.

Finally, as in most anxiety disorders, there are two main behavioral symptoms: avoidance and escape . These behaviors are totally natural when faced with a threatening situation. Thus, the person with a phobia of bees will try to avoid being in the presence of them at all costs. If this is not possible, as soon as you notice signs of any, your response will be to escape.

How does it originate?

When talking about phobias, two possible causes are usually taken into account. On the one hand, the experience of a traumatic experience with wasps either their own , or someone close to them. It is common to suffer bites from these insects and, due to how painful they can be, it is an experience that you do not want to repeat.

In fact, compared to other animal phobias, apiphobia is a less irrational fear, as bites can pose a health risk . However, the severity of a wasp attack is determined by whether the person is allergic or whether there are many stings simultaneously.

On the other hand, phobias are also caused by vicarious learning . That is, if when we were little we had someone close to us with a phobia of bees, it is likely that they have transmitted that fear to us. Or, simply, we have learned the behavior of avoiding and reacting to the appearance of these insects. Furthermore, they would have increased our fear by constantly alerting us to the dangers (real or not) of these animals.


Generally, animal phobias usually have their appearance in childhood . At this stage of life it does not have to have great consequences, other than the discomfort it generates in the child. Thus, animal phobias tend to disappear over the years. However, in the event that it does not disappear, the fear will remain or increase and may affect the daily life of the person.

In this sense, we must emphasize the difference between being afraid of bees (or similar) and having a phobia, an anxiety disorder. When it comes to a phobia, the fear comes to limiting the life of the person . For example, you can determine where to buy a house, or leave the one you are currently in. You can stop going to specific places, even if you want, for fear of coming across bees. And you may even experience anxiety symptoms when you find an area full of flowers, because they could come.

Taking this into account, apiphobia can have from very mild to serious consequences, depending on the level of impact on the person's life. However, it is an anxiety disorder that should be treated and resolved so that the person has a superior quality of life .

Treatments for phobia

For phobias, cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment. Specifically, three intervention strategies are usually applied: relaxation , modification of phobic and irrational thoughts, and systematic desensitization or exposure techniques.

Being an anxiety disorder, it is essential that the person learn and acquire resources to cope with the stimulus or relax during a panic attack. To do this, you will be taught progressive muscle relaxation or endogenous relaxation techniques . These tools will also be helpful during the start of routine desensitization.

Either by this latter technique either strategy, the exposure to stimuli scary be gradually . Thus, it will begin to work with images, for example. And, little by little, the person will be brought closer to the real stimulus until they are able to do so without experiencing extreme anxiety.

Ultimately, an irrational or very intense fear of wasps constitutes a phobia and, as such, should be dealt with in conjunction with a professional psychologist . Thus, the person will be able to improve their quality of life and carry out activities that they would previously be unable to due to fear.

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