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Do Honeybees Sting?

Last Updated: 02.07.22


If you are thinking about taking up apiculture, purchasing the best beekeeping suit is a must. So, be sure to take a look at the models that we have selected for you.

In this short article, we have decided to talk to you about whether or not honeybees sting. Consequently, all of those who are curious about this topic should take the time to check it out!


Can all honeybees sting?

Only worker bees and the queen bee can sting. In a hive, all bees are organized in a caste-like system. While working bees normally sting in order to defend the hive, the queen only stings rival queens.

In the case of the worker bees, it should be said that the barbed stingers that they have are an evolutionary adaptation of their ovipositors. This type of bees are sterile, and thus, they do not need to use their ovipositors to lay eggs.

Working bees are also known to sting and kill their queen when she stops laying a sufficient number of eggs.

Why do bees sting?

Even though honeybees are not aggressive, they do sting. However, they only do so in specific circumstances that you should be aware of. As the specialists have demonstrated, bees only sting when they feel threatened and when they consider that it is necessary to protect their hive or their source of food.

What is more, some bees also sting after being alerted by other bees about the presence of an intruder that is threatening their safety. This is possible because bees communicate through pheromones.

Differently from regular bees, wasps, as well as hornets, are known to sting for fun alone. Yet, these insects are not classified as bees and they are known for being more aggressive by nature.


What happens to a bee after it stings you?

As a child, you’ve probably wondered what happens with bees after they sting their victims. Well, to put it in simple terms, for a bee, a sting is a suicide mission. During the actual stinging, the barbs of the stinger that the bee uses are embedded in the person/object that it has attacked.

The moment when the bee pulls out, the stinger and its venom sac are left behind and the bee dies.


How to prevent stings

Well, the best thing that you can do is to stay away from bees. Plus, keep in mind that these insects are attracted to sweet, sugary substances. So, you should avoid leaving sweet foods and drinks uncovered, as they will most likely attract bees.

Another thing that you could do is to avoid going to areas in which you know that there are hives. This is particularly important if you happen to be allergic to bee venom.

What to do when you encounter bees?

If you happen to be in an outdoor setting and you notice the presence of bees, it is recommended that you remain calm and that you leave them alone.

In most cases, bees become aggressive and sting only when they feel threatened. To get a bee off yourself it is best that you use soft movements and that you do not try to slap it away.


How to treat a bee sting at home

If you have been stung by a bee, there are a couple of steps that you can take. First, you have to remove the stinger as soon as possible. This will prevent the venom from entering your body and causing a reaction. You can remove it by using your own fingernails or by using tweezers.

Next, you have to wash the area with plenty of water and soap. The final step is to apply a cold compress over the sting. If the sting is placed on your arm, or on your leg, it might also help to elevate it.

In case of moderate reactions such as swelling and itching, you can also go to your local pharmacy and ask for over-the-counter pain relievers. Most recommend that you use drugs that contain ibuprofen.

For itching and swelling, applying hydrocortisone cream can also help. Also, calamine lotions can be applied to get rid of the redness. If the symptoms do not go away, you should take an oral antihistamine that contains chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine.

During the recovery period, you should avoid scratching the stung area as much as possible. If you do not refrain from doing so, you risk making the itch become worse. Besides, you can also develop an infection.


Symptoms of bee poisoning

Those who are allergic to bee venom normally have to deal with a set of reactions that are easy to identify. For instance, they usually develop hives, have pale or flushed skin, as well as swelling in the throat.

Moreover, they experience headaches, dizziness, nausea, abdominal cramps and difficulty when it comes to breathing and/or swallowing. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical help, as your life is in danger. If possible, you should take an antihistamine as soon as possible.

Those who have experienced such reactions before are usually prescribed special medication that they can take in case of a sting. So, if you are one of those people, be sure to carry your medication with you whenever you go outdoors.

See your doctor

Some insects stings, including bee stings, can cause anaphylaxis. If you were stung by a bee and you had to deal with serious reactions but you did not seek immediate specialized treatment, it is advisable that you see your doctor as soon as possible.

He/she will be able to assess your recovery and will most probably recommend that you see an allergist. Allergy specialists can use special methods to determine whether or not you are actually allergic to bee venom. If you are, the allergist can help you find some ways to prevent getting stung again.

During your consult, you will probably be asked questions related to the symptoms that you have experienced and to your medical history. So, be prepared to answer.


Benefits of bee stings

Even though most people associate bee stings with allergic reactions, the specialists have shown that there are also some benefits to them. In fact, nowadays there is something called bee sting therapy. This kind of therapy involves the administering of bee venom into specific parts of a person’s body.

Bee sting therapy is used to help with health problems such as eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, lower back pain, psoriasis, and even tendonitis.

It should be said that not all researchers are confident that this type of therapy actually works. So, before you try it out, you should talk to your doctor and ask for further guidance.

Before we wrap this article up, we should also point out that bee venom is also used in the beauty industry. When applied to the skin, it relaxes it, it can improve blood circulation and it can provide you with a tighter and even smoother complexion.

As expected, applying bee venom to your skin is not necessarily a pleasant experience. However, those who have tried this skin trend recommend it and say that it is worth the money. If you are not ready to use venom directly on your skin, you can also purchase lotions that include a diluted form of this substance.



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