When honey bees sting, they release pheromones that stir up nearby bees. Often, those other bees join the attack. One stinging bee can turn into hundreds or even thousands of stinging bees in just a short time. That’s one party we don‘t want an invitation to!
Have you ever WONDERed whether all bees sting? In a hive, the female worker bees are the ones that sting. The larger male drone bees don’t even have stingers! Queen bees do have stingers. However, they rarely leave the hive to use them.
When a honey bee stings you, its sharp, barbed stinger pierces the skin. This stinger injects a venom called apitoxin. In most cases, the stinger gets stuck in the victim’s skin and tears loose from the bee. In most cases, this is a massive injury to the honey bee. Other parts of its body rip off with the stinger, killing the bee. The stinger then continues to pump venom into the victim for up to 10 minutes or until it is removed.
Honey bees are the only bee species that die after stinging. However, honey bees sometimes survive after stinging if the victim’s skin is thin and doesn’t hold the barbed end of the stinger. This doesn’t happen often, though, because honey bee stingers are designed to stick in the skin of the victim to release as much venom as possible.
Bee stings can be quite painful. For some people, though, they can actually be deadly. Some people are allergic to the venom in bee stings. For these people, a sting can trigger a dangerous allergic reaction. If you‘re outside with a person who’s allergic to bees, make sure you know where to find help if they are stung.
Despite their painful stings, bees are an important part of their world. Without them, we wouldn‘t have all the beautiful flowers that bloom during spring and summer. Avoiding bees when you see them will protect the bees as well as yourself.