Honey bees do sting. Interestingly only a few out of the over 19000 estimated species will sting you. Typically honey bees just want to go about their business of making honey and growing the hive. But they are more than capable of attacking when they feel threatened.
Result of a honey bee sting
When a bee stings you, it doesn’t matter which species it is. The pain is intense. When a worker honey bee stings you, it can only do so once and dies. That is because the stinger is barbed and when the bee tries to fly off after stinging, the stinger is ripped from the bees’ abdomen resulting in death. When stung, the bee sting will lodge into your skin forming an itchy bump.
The stinger is hollow with a venom sack attached to it. This will continue pumping the venom into your body which is probably what causes the itching sensation.
This poison is a potent mix of toxins and includes chemicals that interfere with the cell membrane. Such toxins include allergy inducing histamines even pheromones. Pheromone is particularly dangerous as it the one that signals nearby bees to come and join in the attack.
Honey bees hives have a distinct hierarchy. Top is the queen bee followed by the drones or the male bees and lastly the worker bees which are all sterile females. The queen bees’ stinger is smooth so it can sting as many times as it needs to without dying. The queen bee will use her stinger mostly on rival queen bees coming to overthrow her.
Honey bees are wired to protect the hive at all costs, even with their life. The queen bee, stores of honey and bee larvae are housed in the hive. The honey bees will attack anything they perceive as a threat to protect their hive and its contents.
Avoiding bee stings
Honey bees typically sting to defend themselves. So to avoid being stung, one should steer clear of a bee hive.
Using strong cologne that smells like a flower will inadvertently attract bees that think you are nectar. Chances of getting stung will be high. So avoid such strong scented flowery colognes.
Don’t wear bright clothing especially with floral patterns. When outdoors wear beige, khaki or other light colors unless you want bees landing on you for nectar.
Food and drinks with sugar will attract honey bees for sure when you are outdoors. This includes fruits. Make sure you don’t leave sliced pineapple and oranges lying around.
Stay still if a honey bee is buzzing around your head because the worst thing to do is swat at it. Stay calm, it’s just checking if you are a flower. When it realizes you have nothing it needs it will fly off.
Keep your car windows up to keep unwanted bees out but if a bee decides to hike a lift don’t try to swat at it while driving. Stop somewhere safe and open the windows.
Be careful walking in a flower garden. Honey bees will spend a lot of time among flowers collecting nectar and pollen. Stay out of their way.
For unwanted bees in your area, call a professional bee keeper or pest control professionals to have them removed safely and without risk to you and your family