Do bees die when they sting you?

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Posted on 6 June 2022

With spring firmly upon us in the UK, bees are beginning to emerge in order to make the most of the early blooms. Whilst bees are rarely aggressive unless they feel threatened, many people still fear them, afraid they will get stung. “Do bees die when they sting you?” is a common question. Read on to find out the answer.

Do bees die when they sting you: fact or fiction?

Do bees die when they sting you?

Many people wonder “Do bees die when they sting you?”, and this is largely because we’re told this tale in childhood, recounting it to future generations. However, is the legend that bees die once they sting you really true? The answer is both yes and no. Whilst some species of bee do die, others don’t. There are a staggering 20,000 species of bees around the world, and not all of them sting. Of those that do sting, not all die. Bumblebees and carpenter bees are capable of stinging several times without dying. 

Which bees die after stinging you and why?

Of those bees that do sting, not of them survive. Some undoubtedly do perish after they wound their victims. Honeybees will usually die as a result of stinging humans or mammals, either right away or after several hours. 

The reason for this is that, unlike some other species, honey bees have barbed stingers. Their stinger can become stuck in the skin, and, when the bee flies away, it gets left behind. This effectively disembowels the insect, leaving it with a hole in its abdomen. Whilst it might live for a few hours after stinging, eventually, it will succumb to fluid loss and then internal organ failure. Honey bee stingers continue to pump venom into their victims for longer after the bees have gone. 

Other bees can survive after stinging humans because their stingers are different. Bumblebees, for example, have smooth stingers instead of barbed, allowing them to sting several times without dying. Wasps and hornets have similar stingers that prevent them from perishing after stinging people or animals. 

Do honeybees die after stinging insects or spiders?

Do bees die when they sting you?

Interestingly, honeybees don’t usually die after stinging insects or spiders, which might happen if the bees think the hive is being invaded. The reason they’re able to survive is that insects have quite thin exoskeletons that are easy for their stingers to penetrate and then extract without causing damage to their abdomens. 

Why do bees sting?

As we mentioned earlier, bees aren’t naturally aggressive. Like most bee species, honeybees are quite reticent when they’re away from their nest. This is because they have nothing to protect. Bees are most likely to sting you if you’re too near to their colony or if you provoke it, by trying to grab it for example. As long as you stay away from their nests and don’t provoke them, bees are unlikely to sting you. Many people believe bees are aggressive because of wasps, which look similar but tend to be much more hostile. 

Are bee stings dangerous to humans?

The good news is that, for most people, bee stings aren’t particularly dangerous. The venom that comes from the sting of one honeybee is likely to lead to sharp pain, swelling and redness, rather than any serious complications. Of course, the consequences can be more severe if you’re stung by more than one honeybee or if you’re particularly young or old or have existing health issues.

Are bees aware that stinging will kill them?

Many people wonder if honeybees know that they will die when they sting a person or animal. This is an interesting question since once they pierce the skin with their stinger, they have essentially signed their own death certificate. However, most experts agree that honeybees aren’t aware they will die when they sting. Although, they also concur that bees are more than happy to die whilst defending their colony. Their natural instinct to protect their colony far outweighs any concerns about dying themselves.

Do you need bee control in Doncaster? 

Now you know the answer to “Do bees die when they sting you?”, you may be looking for bee control or bee relocation in Doncaster. At Topline Pest Control, we can provide this service to you, with our team on hand to move the nest as safely as possible. We’ve been relocating bee nests for many years, developing a fantastic reputation in the South Yorkshire area. 

Firstly, we’ll carry out a survey of the bee nest, considering factors such as its location, if it can be accessed, if there’s an established colony if the colony needs to be moved, and if we can relocate it safely. In some cases, we’ll advise leaving the bee nest where it is. This may be the case if we feel the colony won’t survive the move. The well-being of the bees is always our utmost concern when providing bee relocation in Doncaster.

Why are bee nests not destroyed?

At Topline, we don’t destroy bee nests. Instead, we aim to relocate them safely. This is because a quarter of all bee species are in danger of extinction. Even though bees aren’t legally protected in the UK, it’s considered unethical to get rid of nests in a way that threatened the colony. We provide an ethical service here at Topline, carrying out bee relocation instead of extermination for our domestic and commercial customers in Doncaster. 

Contact us 

If you require professional bee control in Doncaster, in touch with Topline Pest Control today. You can reach us by calling 01302 969049,  or sending us a message via our website. We can discuss your requirements with you and provide you with a free, no-obligation quotation for the service you need.