Do Bumble Bees Bite? Or Do They Just Buzzz Around | Kidadl


Do Bumble Bees Bite? Or Do They Just Buzzz Around

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You might feel nervous seeing bees buzzing around, don't you?

Yes, many people wish to get rid of bees, fearing their ability to sting. Actually, not all species sting, rather species like humble-bee or bumblebee (Bombus) and honeybee (Apis) are found quite useful. 

A honeybee has a comparatively smaller hive or colony, whereas a bumblebee is a ground-nesting bee. Likewise, while honeybees produce honey, bumblebees gather pollen and do not produce honey. Although bumblebees bite wildflowers, extracting nectar, do they bite people? What do you do if you are threatened? Either attack the threat or try to escape the threat. Likewise, either a bumblebee stings on flowers or plants when foraging for nectar or food, or it stings when it senses danger. While honeybees and bumblebees are generally both stingers, unlike honeybees, bumblebees are able to sting multiple times as the stinger has no barbs. However, neither of them bite. You might wonder how a bite is different from a sting or vice versa! Stings inject venom, whereas a bite is not venomous.

Not all bees can sting! Bumblebee stings generally occur when their nests are disturbed, or they are provoked. A male bee does not have a stinger, while a female bee can sting.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about do all bees make honey, and how many eyes do bees have here on Kidadl.

What kind of bees bite?

You might be wondering what kind of bees bite! For a fact, bees don't bite, they rather sting as they have venom. No, not all bees sting, but specific species including carpenter bees, wasps, honey bees, and bumblebees sting. Bumblebees nest in flowers and rarely sting, whereas a carpenter bee nests and burrows into the ground. Likewise, except for treating you with honey, honey bees also sting. The honey bee nests anywhere, building its honey hive in a colony.

The honeybee's nest is hierarchically classified into queens, drones or males, and workers or females. Workers and queens are capable of stinging while not all bees can sting. Also, unlike female bees, male bees do not sting. Bees rarely sting like honey bees sting when they are away from their hive, flying around for nectar and pollen.

Bumblebees do not have a strong defense mechanism as other species of bees and rarely sting. They generally attack while defending their hives in a colony wherein they store pollen.

Can a bee sting another bee?

Bees often gather in hives or colonies near the ground or in burrows dug into the ground. Very similar to human behavior and community, bees like bumblebee (Bombus) also live in groups, hierarchically divided into queens, drones or males, and workers or females. While bumblebees defend against the restored pollen in their hives, Apis mellifera is found defending the nectar or honey they produce. While bumblebees are not recorded to sting other bees, it isn't sure whether they sting other species and insects or not.

Although a male bee does not have a stinger, which is unlike females, a female bee or queen can sting intruder bees while they defend their nest.

Shrill carder bee on flower.

Are bumblebees aggressive?

While hornets and yellow jackets are known to have an aggressive temperament, bumblebees are not one of the more aggressive stinging bees. Thus, the bumblebees are quite tolerant of human interaction and other insects.

A bumblebee is heavier, larger, and more robust compared to other bees. Although the probability of a bumblebee stinging is quite small, it can sting several times if it does.

Can a bumblebee die after they sting you?

Since the stinger of a bumblebee is not barbed, it can survive and rather can sting several times. What if the stringer was barbed? A barbed stinger fails to release from human skin as it gets lodged into the skin, and ends up injuring the bee when it pulls itself away. As the bee pulls itself, its abdomen gets torn, which is quite painful, often leading to its death.

A precise answer would be, no, the bumblebee does not die after stinging and, rather, can sting several times too.

Why might a Bumblebee Bite?

Although a bumblebee is pretty peaceful, it does not sting until it is threatened. Its bite is venomous; rarely does it sting its predators, either.

Avoid touching or threatening bees near you is the most common advice you may often hear. But other than this, you might want to take several preventive measures to avoid getting stung by the bumblebee, as a sting can trigger several allergic reactions such as rashes across your body or swelling near the sting. If you are stung, give yourself first aid by treating the painful wound with ice or cold compress as it may provide relaxation from pain and swelling.

What happens when a bumblebee stings someone?

As soon as a bumblebee pricks your skin, the wound shows local allergic reactions such as swelling, redness, rashes, or itchiness. Either the reactions prompt up in the first few hours or may show up immediately.

Though treating a bee sting often does not require emergency medical attention or professional care, it can sometimes be dangerous in some situations. The symptoms may last for a few hours or days, whereas they may also go away in a few moments, too.

How to identify & control bumblebees ethically?

It is very common to see beehives or nests near your place or its entrance, but do not stress out or panic about it. As soon as you see one, call a local beekeeper. What if you don't have a beekeeper's number? Not to worry, the internet has your back. Search for a beekeeper's number and contact a beekeeper as soon as possible.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do bumble bees bite, then why not take a look at how long does a bee live, or bumblebee facts?


Written By
Gurpuneet Kaur

Gurpuneet is currently pursuing a degree in economics and has lots of experience working with young people. She has worked as a tutor and has volunteered for Action India, teaching and providing medical assistance to the underprivileged. She has also worked for various education agencies, creating student study guides. Along with this, Gurpuneet has written and managed content for multiple sites and companies and was a campus ambassador at her university, where she studied economics. She loves to write about tourist places in India and enjoys conjuring up fun facts for Kidadl.

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