The main thing that separates bee lovers from haters is the sting. There is never an argument about their value to the ecosystem or their importance to pollination. However, people who are highly allergic, or do not know if they are allergic, are struck with fear when encountering a bee. Think about it – if bees could not sting, everyone would BEE an enthusiast. If bees did not sting, we would undoubtedly have more beekeepers surfacing. But bees do sting when they feel they, another bee, or their hive is threatened. It is purely a survival response, so do not take it personally. So, do all bees sting? Do all bees die after losing their stingers? How can I avoid being stung? Let’s unpack we unpack some of the mystery around stingers.
Do All Bees Sting?
The short answer is no. Male bees are unable to sting because they do not have stingers. Only females have stingers because the stinger is a modified reproduction system. So, when they feel threatened, the lady bees will sting.
It might surprise most that not all bees can sting. Since a large majority of people are not trained scientists, with equipment on hand to tell what kind of bee just landed on the table, people figure that if a bee is alive, it can sting. Because bees are the only pollinators that produce honey, the more we know about them, the more we can appreciate their immense contributions while being aware of the risks of disturbing them.
Why Do Bees Sting?
Bees sting to protect themselves and their hives. Bees will not sting unprovoked, even if you didn’t know you were provoking them. A perfect example is when I was stung on my toe wearing a pair of flip-flops. I never saw a bee on my foot, but as I walked, the bee must have felt I was going to harm it, so it stung me. Bees stick together and will defend other bees even if they are not directly under attack.
Not all bees sting; contrary to what most people believe, not all bees lose their stinger and die immediately following.
Do Bees Die After Stinging?
When a bee stings, the stinger goes deep into the skin. If the stinger is barbed, it hooks into the skin, which makes it difficult to remove. When the stinger is barbed, the stinger is ripped off their bodies when the bee leaves. When the stinger goes, so does the nervous, muscular, and digestive system of the bee. So, as imagined, this trauma and bodily injury can’t sustain life.
A recent viral video showed a bee spinning around to remove the stinger carefully, and it succeeded!
Honeybees, carpenter bees, and bumblebees are low-risk stingers, whereas Africanized honeybees are highly likely to sting. The Africanized honeybee is aggressive and can signal to thousands of other bees if threatened. It is not likely to get stung by one of these bees, but more likely several, which makes these sting fests so terrible. Wasps and hornets will not lose their stinger and can sting multiple times. Even some who are not allergic may have adverse reactions to multiple stings.
How to Avoid the Sting
Although it is impossible to control nature and the flight route of bees in your area, it is best to avoid unnecessary interactions. Stay away from pollen sources that are bound to have bee activity. When people get involved in bee pollen sources, a sting will likely be involved. That is why, when people pick flowers, a bee may respond by stinging since pollen is food and necessary for a hive’s survival. Bees will protect their habitats, even if it means losing their own life.
When the Bee Stings
When bees sting, they release a toxin through the stinger. Apitoxin is bee venom, and the substances in the venom affect the skin and immune system, which causes pain instantly. Some people only experience an unrelenting itch. Others carry EpiPens with them due to highly allergic reactions. If you asked ten people who had been stung by a bee what happened, all the answers would be different. Everyone has a different reaction. Maybe the mystery behind such a variety of responses makes people cautious.
The longer a stinger stays in, the more venom is released, so try to remove it quickly. It is preferred not to squeeze the area but do whatever is necessary.
Let the beekeeping experts handle any concerns with a beehive location or increased bee activity in your area. The locals may be able to help explain the changes and professionally and carefully relocate a hive if necessary. To maintain the integrity of a hive, it must be relocated within the community so the bees can survive and continue to provide incredible benefits locally.
If you are in the San Diego area, contact DTek for the highest quality beekeeping and bee removal services in Southern California.