Can Honey Bees Sting: Facts and Misunderstandings

People may experience a bee sting several times in their lives. It is a quite painful and unpleasant event. So, do you know which type of bees can sting you? Some of the bee species like red bees can bite you. However, when it comes to honey bees, it is quite different than biting.

Honey bees can sting people and other animals. In honey bees, worker bees and queen bees sting where male honey bees, aka drones, can not sting since they do not have the necessary biological instrument.

The sting on the back of the honey bees is connected to their venom sac. At the same time, because the stings of the bees are notched, if they cannot remove the sting that enters the soft flesh, the internal organs of the honey bee will be ripped off and the bee will die. Bees consider stinging as a last resort and do not sting easily. First, they try to scare enemies with a few warnings. So we can say that they only sting when they feel in danger.

Honey Bees and Their Stings: Why Do Bees Die After Stinging?

What kind of defense mechanism is this? If a bee sting is a self-defense act, how does the bee always die after use? The honey bee sting is barbed and sticks to human skin. It does not stick to every animal; a honey bee can sting a large insect, for example, and safely pull its sting. But for humans and other thick-skinned mammals, the sting will be fatal for the honey bee. When the bee tries to escape after sticking its sting, it inevitably tears off its back end and probably rips off itself and dies.

When a honey bee stings, it injects poison through the sting. This venom is a poisonous cocktail venom: chemicals that break down the cell membrane and cause pain, anti-inflammatories that stop blood flow which would clear toxins, histamine that gives signs of an allergic reaction and even signaling pheromones. They do many things at once, including calls to help any bees around.

If a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull its sting back on most of the occasions. It surpasses not only the sting but also part of the abdomen and digestive system, plus the muscles and nerves. This enormous abdominal rupture kills the honey bee. The honey bee is the only bee that will die after stinging. The first step in treatment following bee stings is to remove the sting itself. Itching can also be alleviated with antihistamine or steroid cream. Bee venom is acidic, and some interventions are generally recommended to neutralize the venom; However, a sting is unlikely to be neutralized, as the poison is injected under the skin and deep into the inaccessible tissues where the alkali material applied topically cannot reach. Studies have shown that ice alone works better than aspirin for honey bee and wasp stings.

How Does a Honey Bee Sting Happen?

Bee stings occur when a female bee or wasp is placed on your skin and uses its ovipositor (ovulation tube) against you. During the process, the bee injects poisons into your skin from the poisonous pouches in the sting apparatus. The sting itself is between the two hooks with serrations. When the honey bee or wasp stings you, these spikes are buried in your skin. However, since the spikes on the sting of wasps are smooth, they can remove the sting without harming it after the operation is over. So these bees do not die after the sting.

The sting of honey bees has quite large, backward thorns. When the bee stings the person, these thorns enter your body, making it nearly impossible for the bees to pull back the sting. While flying back, the entire stinging apparatus is pulled from the abdomen and left on your skin. As a result of this abdominal tearing, the honey bee dies. Thus, a honey bee can sting only once. Since honey bees live in large social colonies, they can sacrifice several members to defend group hives.

Only female honey bees, also known as worker bees, sting. Male honey bees have no sting. There are 60,000 worker bees in each hive; this is followed by several hundred drones and one female queen. Worker bees are like disposable soldiers for the colony; their only function is to collect nectar, pollinate, and defend the base. They are all vicious women. The queen lays all the eggs and the others fertilize them. The queen bee stings only when fighting for domination against another queen. While wasps and wild bees are known to be offensive, honey bees are docile and typically attack only when threatened.

Bumblebee, which has a hairy structure, is known for its similarity to the honey bee. However, the honey bee dies after stinging, but the bumblebee does not die. Colonies of bumblebees are smaller than honeybee colonies. They have a more fat and hairy appearance compared to honey bees. They make only the amount of honey that they will feed themselves. When they are driven, they sting and do not die. Unlike the honey bee sting, the bumblebee sting has no serrations, so they can pull it back comfortably. As can be seen, only female honey bees die after stinging. Most of the bees such as wasps, wild bees, and bumblebees sting more than once and continue to live. The claim that all bees sting once and die after it is not true.

So, Do Honey Bees Always Die After Stinging?

According to traditional belief, a bee can sting a person only once and die after that. Is this information really correct? The claim in question is not correct. It is only female honey bees that MAY die after stinging. Most of the other bees can sting more than once and continue to live. Despite its temporary and minor effects, if you have been stung by a bee, you can be comfortable knowing that the bee has committed suicide. But do bees really die after they sting a person? As I explained, the answer depends on the type of the bee.

A bee sting is common and painful, but it is rarely fatal and only one or two out of every 1000 cases results in death. The feeling of a wasp, bumblebee, or honeybee sting is the same as a lightning strike. Bee stings typically cause a short local stinging-burning and limited inflammation in that area. Many of us will know what happens when a honey bee stings you. First, the pain of the needle is felt, and then a lot of pain, swelling, and redness occur in the inserted place due to the reactions it causes. A common semi-myth known to the public is that bees can only sting once. This is completely unfounded for almost all bee species except honey bees. Many bee species can sting their targets many times over their lifetime. In worker honey bees, the situation varies depending on the skin thickness of the creature.

In fact, there is no adaptation in honey bees to “sting once” in the evolutionary process. In other words, the anatomy of worker bees has evolved so that they can sting their sting numerous times during their lifetime. However, the belief that honey bees sting once comes from the fact that bees that sting people usually die after the sting. However, this is not a bee-related situation; it is related to the skin of mammalian animal species such as humans. Before moving on to the skin of mammals, let’s emphasize that the word “usually” is the keyword in the paragraph above. Because there is no rule that a worker must die because it stings a mammal (eg human).

Now let’s talk about the skin thickness of mammals: Generally, the skin of mammals (and hence humans) is much thicker than the invertebrate animals such as insects and can be multilayered. Therefore, the microcycles found in the sting of the bee stuck in this thick skin after the sting operation. Even if the honey bee tries to pull back its sting, it cannot. The sting stuck to the animal does not allow the honey bee trying to move away from the target in a panic state and the needle pulls the internal organs out as a result of the honey bee’s forcing it. Accordingly, the bee dies within minutes.

In other words, this is not because of the inability of honey bees or their ability to sting one time, but because our skin is too thick for honey bees. If the honey bee does not leave its sting behind after stinging you (more precisely, the sting is not left behind), it can survive and continue to sting enemies many times. Similarly, honey bees can use their sting numerous times (especially on other insects), as long as they do not have to insert such a thick-skinned animal.

What Causes the Pain We Feel When Honey Bee Stings?

As soon as honey bees insert their sting, they leave a chemical called apitoxin under the skin. This is the reason for the first pain; otherwise, the physical pain of the small needle is not remarkable. But another danger associated with bee sting is the alarm pheromone secreted from the Koschevnikov Gland, located right next to the sting shaft. This pheromone is a warning sign that spreads rapidly into the air and tells the bees around to sting the same individual. Therefore, when you are stung by a honey bee, if the needle is still on your body, we recommend that you do not walk around the other honeybees too much and get away from it immediately.

The reason why the honey bee sting keeps hurting afterward is that the melittin toxin is injected into our body by the honey bee and histamine and similar chemicals produced in our body in response to this toxin. These chemicals and their reactions cause pain and itching. After being stung by the honey bee, if you are not allergic, you can treat yourself on your own. If you are allergic, you may experience conditions such as shortness of breath and heart tightness, as a quick anaphylactic reaction may begin; you need immediate help (or if you are prepared for such a situation, you can apply the epinephrine needle). However, if you are not allergic, first remove the needle from its location, then apply ice to the inserted area.

Throughout history, different societies try many methods against honeybee stings, but none of these are directly effective methods. Only liquids containing ammonia can provide temporary relief, but they are not cures for this problem. Usually, the body will already heal itself, and whatever you apply, the sting will last for several hours, while swelling and itching can last for up to 7-10 days.

Honey Bee Stings, Treatment and Protection

With the onset of summer, insect stings, especially honey bee stings, increase. Although bee sting is not generally considered important, it poses serious danger for people with allergies. Now I will try to give information about the symptoms, things to do, and treatment of bee stings that I believe will be useful. One of the most common and unpleasant events we encounter in the summer is bee stings. Honey bees, the producer of honey, the sweetest food source, can sometimes be our nightmare. So what are the symptoms of honey bee stings? What to do in honey bee stings? How is the treatment of honey bee sting? All and more in the following paragraphs.

Insects can sting or bite people with their needles. However, insect stings caused by bees are most frequently encountered in daily life. Bees are membrane winged insects that can sting people with their sting. There are very few people in the community who have not had a bee sting in their lives. But very few people are likely to result in death. Bees have venom sacs and some people may develop an allergy to bee venom. Most people may have a known allergy before or some people may develop allergic reactions as a result of repeated stings. If a large number of bees sting simultaneously, then a toxic reaction may occur. Although this situation is similar to allergy symptoms, allergic sensitivity cannot be detected in the tests.

Honey Bee Sting

Bees are one of the most important animals of the ecological system, ensuring the continuity of nature with the pollen they carry. Before I talk about bee sting, I want to give some brief information. While these beautiful animals support ecological life, some of us may have a fearful dream of them. It is true that bees, which are especially active in the spring and summer months, become suffering in special situations for those who want to spend time in nature. The purpose of these highly intelligent and systematic animals is not to harm human beings, but to protect themselves/species and feed their bellies.

The name of the bee comes from the name given to all insect species belonging to the Apoidea family since they are membrane-winged. The feature of this mischievous family is that it has transparent wings with transverse and longitudinal veinlets. They consist of 3 parts consisting of the abdomen, chest, and head. Basically in this way, body structures vary according to their types. The first thing you need to do in the face of a bee sting is to clean the wound with soapy water and apply ice. If the needle is too deep, you can pull it out with tweezers. In cases such as shortness of breath, nausea, and weakness, you should definitely go to the hospital. Be sure to observe the bee sting for 10-14 days.

Honey Bee Allergy and Symptoms

Bee allergy is an unpredictable condition. When a person is stung by a bee, only slight pain, burning, itching, and redness may occur with a small swelling where it stings. This is a normal reaction and usually improves without treatment. In some people, swelling where the bee stings can become larger. In very few people, symptoms appear immediately (within 30 minutes) in body areas far from where they sting. In this case, shortness of breath, wheezing, palpitations, fainting, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, itching, and redness of the whole body, swelling of the face and tongue may occur.

Life-threatening symptoms include swelling of the tongue in the throat, hoarseness, and decreased blood pressure. One or more of these symptoms can coexist. This indicates a systemic, i.e., a general allergic response, and may rarely result in death. In some people with risk, bee allergy symptoms may be more severe. These are elderly individuals, patients with heart disease and hypertension, those who use some blood pressure and heart medications, and patients with mastocytosis.

Especially in the summer months, bee stings are common. Bee allergy symptoms after bee sting are very important for early diagnosis of allergy. There may be minor itching in bee stings. These usually disappear within 24 hours. Sometimes there may be redness and blisters that appear within 2 days. These disappear between 2 and 7 days. Symptoms of bee allergies can manifest as urticaria (hives), angioedema (a dangerous form of hives), and anaphylaxis (sudden worsening). These reactions can even lead to death. Bee allergy symptoms can be seen immediately or as soon as 1-2 hours later. Circulatory disorders may occur with edema, hoarseness, shortness of breath, and shock in the throat. Death events due to bee allergy are generally more common in men over 50 years of age.

In the case of bee stings, the most important thing is to have an allergic condition. If an allergy is detected, medical measures must be taken immediately. If precautions are not taken, it may cause serious problems. So what are these allergy symptoms called Anaphylactic Shock related to insect bites?

  • Difficulty wheezing or breathing
  • Severe swelling of the face, throat or lips
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Itching or hives other than the area it stings
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • A sudden drop in blood pressure or weak pulse
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A feeling of confusion, anxiety, or anxiety

Attention should be paid to these after bee sting, and even one of them is seen, you should go to the nearest hospital urgently, without neglecting it.

NOTE: Do not attack and kill bees. Bees perceive aggressive behavior and see you as a threat. In these cases, thanks to the communication and interaction between them, they can gather very quickly and decide to harm you. Finally, do not forget that you are a guest in nature. It should be our main duty to show the necessary precision and care.

Some Tips for Honey Bee Stings

  • Spread the garlic, which is divided into two, in the region where the bee stings for 10 minutes. Thanks to the antiseptic feature of garlic, the poison will begin to remove itself from the body without getting into the blood.
  • Beat a bunch of parsley thoroughly. (It is important that it is fresh) You can wrap the crushed parsley in the area where the bee stings.
  • Thanks to the anti-inflammatory effect of baking soda, it also prevents both pain and complications that may occur. You can mix water and baking soda and apply it to the area where the bee stings.
  • Cold yogurt is another effective method that is good for bee sting. Squeeze 4 drops of lemon in the bee sting before applying yogurt.
  • Thanks to the antibacterial properties of lavender, it is also very effective against bee poisoning. After the effect of the lavender oil that you applied with the help of pad cotton has passed, continue to apply again.

Methods of Protection from Honey Bees

  • Wear light and pastel clothes. Bright and vivid colors attract bees.
  • Avoid multicolored and patterned clothing, especially floral patterns.
  • Do not wear jewelry that shines brightly and in the sun.
  • Fresh fragrances such as perfume, deodorant, air freshener, etc. attract the bees seriously, be careful not to use them in nature.
  • Be careful not to walk barefoot or with your legs open in places such as tall grass meadows, etc. Bees that you disturb without seeing or realizing can perceive you as a danger and attack.

  • If there are beehives etc. in the vicinity, stay away from these areas. Bees who want to protect the hive can make you restless. Be careful to wear hats, especially if you are in this type of area. Since furry animals usually attack the hives, they may try to move them away or think they are a threat because of your hair.
  • Be sure to check your tent (for any insects, etc.) before going to bed.
  • When you get up in the morning, check inside before wearing your shoes. Check the clothes you hanged to dry before wearing them in the same way.
  • Never leave your meals open. Open it when you are going to eat it, and keep it in closed boxes and bags or even in your car after you are done.

Flavors to Keep Honey Bees Away

I mentioned that fresh fragrances such as perfume, deodorant, air freshener, etc. seriously attract bees. So what are the flavors to keep them away?

  • Cucumber Peel: Cucumber peel is an easy solution to keep bees away from certain small areas.
  • Mint: Bees do not like the sharp smell of mint and do not approach. Of course, we are talking about fresh mint in particular.
  • Cinnamon: If you sprinkle some cinnamon around the area where you will be camping, you will be protected from the bees to some extent. The smell of cinnamon is not something bees love.
  • Garlic: If you chop the garlic and soak it in water for a few days, it will be enough to keep the bees away with a very natural aroma. Garlic is a good bee repellent.

  • Vanilla: You can mix vanilla oil with water and use it on your skin. This is a very valid and used method. You also smell good.
  • Coffee: If you burn the coffee by pouring it into an uncooked tea plate, the smoke it produces will help keep the bees away. It does a slow-burning and actually emits a fragrant smoke. Still, it is an expensive method if you ask me.

NOTE: These are all used and valid methods but of course there is no 100% guarantee. It can vary depending on the type of bees, region, etc., therefore it is always necessary to be careful.

Interesting Fact: Can a Honey Bee Sting Another Bee?

Can a honey bee sting another bee? What do you know about bees, whose numbers are trillions and are almost everywhere in the world? These creatures, which have lived with us humans since 100 million years ago, have been a source of food for all living things, and have been the main subject of many scientific studies, and sometimes they are deadly hazards for most of us, especially humans. But how can these little creatures, both benefiting and at the same time harm the creatures on earth, do all this? Let’s try to answer these and other questions in the rest of our list. Bees, which are divided into subspecies such as honey bees, wasps, wild bees, carpenter bees, and bumblebees, have a very complex structure and these bees can sometimes be more dangerous and deadly than creatures such as snakes and tarantulas.

As a result of the researches, it has been revealed that the majority of the people who are stung by poisonous bees such as wasp died. And most of these deaths have also occurred due to allergic reactions. So why does a bee sting a person? Bees’ self-defense mechanisms are stings, but not every bee has a sting. For example, while male honey bees do not have a sting, the female and worker bees have a pointed and hooked sting at the back of the organ called the sting chamber. This sting is attached to the venom sac and as soon as it is inserted, the bee empties the poison in the venom sac. But bees use sting as a last resort because they know they will die as soon as they sting if they cannot remove their sting from the target’s skin. The reason for this is that the needle is not in a removable structure and the organs come out with the needle after the bee stings.

So how can we understand that bee stings are lethal? First of all, for the bees to be fatal and dangerous, people must be allergic to the bee. If a person has allergies to bees after bee stings, the following symptoms are observed: edema in the throat, hoarseness, shortness of breath, and circulatory disorders along with the shock. Those are symptoms of a fatal bee sting and should be treated immediately. Can a bee kill another bee? This strange situation most often occurs during the mating of the queen bee. In the breeding that takes place in the air, drones fly after the queen and approach them and mate. As a result of this mating, every male bee mating with the queen dies after the mating, because their reproductive organ is broken.

After having a general knowledge of bees, let’s come to the main question: Can a bee sting another bee? Yes, one bee can sting and even kill the other. But how? During attacks on bees’ hives, bees sting and kill other bees to protect their hives. In addition, bumblebees can fight among themselves in the nest and sting each other. The reason for this is quite complicated, but if we try to express it simply, this is an action to reduce the number of men in the colony. Even bumblebees that can sting more than once, unlike normal honey bees, can kill the queen of the hive by stinging it. As a result of this information, we can say that bees can sting all living things, especially us, humans, and even themselves.

Diseases for Which Honey Bee Sting Is Actually Beneficial

One of the unpleasant events that can happen to us is bee stings. We are even afraid when a bee is approaching us. But maybe we should not. Would you ever think that stinging bee would heal many health problems? Here is an interesting study on the healing of bee stings: Scientists have determined that liquid poison from bee stings helps treat and even prevent joint inflammation. According to the report in The Telegraph, the research team at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil found that bee venom can control harmful inflammation in the joints that caused joint inflammation.

It is noted that this poison contains molecules that increase the natural hormones that regulate inflammation in the body. Experts believe that bee venom can be used to develop new treatments that can cure joint inflammation pain. It has a noticeable effect on patients with problems such as rheumatism and arthritis. Liquid Poison from bee sting accelerates blood circulation. It relieves pain caused by arthritis. And it removes joint inflammations. It is also stated that bee sting therapy is used in the treatment of several major diseases. Asthma comes first among those diseases. One of the other diseases is MS disease. Many patients in Europe are treated with this method.

Best Honey Bee Sting Remedies That You Can Buy Online

Savaş Ateş

I like eating honey a lot. We have a huge interest in bees and how they make honey. I have visited honey farms. I have talked to a lot of honey sellers. I read a lot of books about them. I want to share my knowledge with you.

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