The Complete Guide To Bee Stings

Image of a honey bee sting

You know how painful a bee sting is if you’ve ever been stung by one. But why does this happen, and what can be done to prevent it?

It’s crucial to keep in mind that not all bees sting. Large drone bees may occasionally be seen in your garden. They can grow to be several times the size of a honeybee, yet they lack a stinger. Stingers are attached to the abdomens of smaller honeybees, which they might use to protect themselves or their colony.

What Happens When A Bee Stings?

An ovipositor, or egg depositor, is a modified version of a bee’s stinger. The stinger comprises three primary parts: a stylet (a piercing needle) and two lancets (small barbed tips). Each one of these parts is hollow. They link to another hollow chamber at the apex of the stinger termed a bulb. The venom of the bee is kept in a venom sac above the bulb. Two valves in the venom sac release venom into the bulb.

When a bee stings, the stylet is inserted into the skin like a needle. The barbs of the two lancets snag on the flesh at separate points when the bee inserts the stylet. This exposes the space inside the stylet by creating a slight gap between the ends of the lancets. Meanwhile, venom pours from the bulb through the stylet’s canal-like hollow structure. When the gap between the stylet and the stinger opens, venom in the stylet oozes out into the wound made by the stinger. Honey bee stingers are additionally barbed at the end, making removal difficult. 1Go To Source ipm.ucanr.edu -“Bees And Wasps Stings”

Why Do Bees Sting?

When honeybees are threatened, they will sting, so keep your distance and never disturb a hive or colony. The most common reasons bees sting humans are:

  1. To keep their hive, their home, safe. All 15,000-60,000 of them must safeguard their colony, their buzzy family.
  2. If they are alerted by the pheromones of other agitated/stinging bees, they will become more protective.
  3. To safeguard their pollen supplies and nourishment.
  4. Wasps and hornets are generally jerks who sting for the pleasure of it (unlike bees)

Does Every Species Of Bee Have Stingers?

Image of honey bee female with stingerNo, not all bees sting and those that do aren’t out to sting people; they only do so if they’re threatened or aggravated in some way, either purposefully or unintentionally.

There are bee species that are known as Stingless Bees. They are members of the Apidae family, like honey bees and bumblebees. Still, unlike honey bees and bumblebees, they have a tiny stinger (really a modified ovipositor) that is worthless for defense (they can’t sting). Stingless bees are members of the Meliponini tribe, which is primarily found in tropical areas.

Males of stinging bees, such as bumblebees and honeybees, cannot sting, yet they may engage in defensive behavior to safeguard the nest or hive.

Indeed, some seemingly innocent bees can make people feel uneasy. Male Xylocopa carpenter bees may be terrifying since they appear to fly at you if you come too close to a nest. It is a huge solitary bee species that is frequently mistaken for a bumblebee for those unfamiliar with bee species.

Does A Bee Die After Stinging?

Honey bees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees are among the many types of bees that can be found around your home. All of these bees sting, although usually only when they are threatened. Because the stinger is a modified ovipositor, all stinging bees are female.

Carpenter bees and bumblebees have smooth stingers and can sting several times before dying. They are both relatively gentle species, which is fortunate.

Stinging, on the other hand, is usually lethal for honey bees. Honey bees have barbed stingers, which distinguishes them from other species. Animals, including humans, can have them caught in their skin. The stinger is left behind when the bee flies away, thus disemboweling the insect and killing it. After the bee has left, honey bee stingers will continue to inject venom into its victim.

How To Tell If You’re Allergic To Bees?

Photograph of flying carpenter beeBee stings rarely result in an allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to bee stings or have been stung multiple times, you could have a severe reaction like anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis to a bee sting necessitates medical intervention right away.

Signs of an allergy to bees include:

  • Headache
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Swelling of the mouth, throat, and lips
  • Heartbeat that is both feeble and quick
  • Hives
  • Loss Of Consciousness
  • Breathing or swallowing problems
  • Diarrhea and stomach cramps
  • Skin that is flushed or pale 2Go To Source ars.usda.gov -“Bee Stings”

What Should I Do If I Was Stung By A Bee?

Maintain your composure. Stinging pests can strike multiple times, even though most bees only sting once. If you’ve been stung, quietly exit the area to avoid further attacks.

Remove the stinger: If the stinger is still stuck in your flesh, scrape it off with your fingernail or a piece of gauze. When removing a stinger, never use tweezers since squeezing it can cause additional venom to be released into your skin.

Clean The Stung Area: Soap and water should be used to clean the sting.

Apply Ice: If the swelling spreads to other regions of your body, such as your face or neck, go to the emergency department immediately since you may be experiencing an allergic response. Difficulty breathing, nausea, hives, or dizziness are further symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Pain Relief: Stings from bees, wasps, and hornets are painful. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can assist. Always read the label and make sure you’re getting the correct dose.

Although most individuals do not have severe reactions to bee stings, keeping a watch on anyone who has been stung in case they develop more severe symptoms is a good idea. If you observe any signs of an allergic response, or if you or someone you know has been stung several times — especially if it’s a child – seek medical help right away.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. E. C. Mussen, Entomology, UC Davis. “Bee and Wasp Stings Management Guidelines–UC IPM.” Ucanr.Edu, UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program University of California, ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7449.html. Accessed 30 July 2021.
  2. “Bee Stings 101 : USDA ARS.” Usda.Gov, 27 Jan. 2021, www.ars.usda.gov/pacific-west-area/tucson-az/carl-hayden-bee-research-center/docs/bee-safety/bee-stings-101.Accessed 30 July 2021.
  3. C Hall (2 July 2019). “Bee vs Wasp Sting Venom: Truth and Chemical Myths”. Chemsitry Hall. Accessed 30 July 2021.
  4. Ewan, Pamela (1998). “ABC of allergies: Venom allergy”. BMJ: British Medical Journal. 316 (7141): 1365–1368.  doi:10.1136/bmj.316.7141.1365. PMC 1113072. PMID 9563993. Accessed 30 July 2021.
  5. How Bees Work – howstuffworks.com. Accessed 30 July 2021.