Why Can Bees Sting Only Once? (Explained)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Bees are considered one of the most fierce and aggressive insects on the planet.

These insects exhibit their aggressiveness towards humans and wild animals by stinging. Bees are never hesitant to attack with their painful stings whenever they are provoked.

Their stings inflict so much pain that could last for even an entire day.

This is the main reason why beekeeping is a very daunting and difficult job. A beekeeper can be stung by bees about a hundred times each day.

There is a downside, however, to bees stinging humans.

Almost every time a bee stings a person, the insect doesn’t get another chance to shoot another sting.

Almost every type of bee is known to sting only once, after which they are unable to inflict another pain.

Why can bees sting only once?

Why Can Bees Sting Only Once

Bees are only able to sting once because they die immediately after stinging. This is a fascinating fact a lot of people are obvious to.

Everyone believes that bees sting repeatedly, causing multiple injuries on a person’s skin. But, that’s just a myth.

Moreover, it’s rare to see a single bee sting someone. Bees usually attack in groups, which makes it appear as if they sting multiple times.

If a bee hurts, you shouldn’t bother trying to kill the insect. It tends to die immediately it sticks its stinger into someone’s skin.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on are sunflowers good for bees?

Why do bees die after one sting?

For a bee to sting a person, it jabs a barbed stinger into the person’s skin and tries to fly away as soon as possible to avoid being attacked.

But sadly, in the course of trying to escape, the bee flies away and leaves its inner organs attached to the stinger.

Its inability to pull out the stinger kills it the moment it takes flight.

In as much as bees can be aggressive, they don’t attack until they are provoked. These insects get angry whenever their hive is threatened or when their day’s work is interrupted.

Why can worker bees sting only once?

Worker bees, as well as honey bees, are unable to sting more than once.

Just as I’ve explained earlier, the stinger in a worker bee is attached to some vital organs such as the abdomen.

The moment the stinger is out of the bee, some of the insect’s most delicate organs would be displaced as well, thereby killing the bee.

Worker bees, who are responsible for supplying water to the colony, do not only die by drowning in large bodies of water as most people believe.

These bees could also lose their lives after stinging humans or even large wild animals.

Notwithstanding, there have been cases where worker bees stung multiple times without dying. This is a phenomenon that can’t be fully explained.

Can solitary bees sting multiple times?

Solitary bees, as well as bumblebees, are luckier than other bees due to their ability to sting multiple times.

Their special stinging ability remained a mystery until experts discovered that these insects have a smooth stinger.

Having a smooth stinger enables solitary bees to hurt humans or animals repeatedly.

They are able to remove their stinger from a person’s skin without getting hurt in any way.

Fortunately, this makes the stinging less painful. Unlike worker bees and honey bees, solitary bees don’t inflict much damage when they sting.

Also read this article on how long do bees stay in a hive?

What happens if a queen bee stings you?

Unlike other bees in a colony, a queen bee is never too quick to sting someone.

This particular bee is often busy reproducing and playing some leadership roles in the colony.

A queen bee is sometimes compelled to sting when the bees’ hive is attacked.

Anyone who gets stung by a queen bee would have to endure very terrible pain. The stinger in this bee contains a toxic substance that causes the human skin to swell.

The moment a person is stung by a queen bee, the affected skin gets swollen in less than a minute and the pain felt by the victim worsens until treatment is administered.

Are there any bees that don’t sting?

It is safe to say that there are bees that don’t sting.

Although many people are not familiar with stingless bees, this type of bee is active all year.

During winter, they are less active and sometimes go into hiding.

But in as much as this class of bees don’t sting, one still has to be careful around them. It’s important you know that they are very defensive.

Since they can’t sting, they defend themselves by biting.

Stingless bees may bite when their nest is disturbed.

Can one bee sting kill you?

Amazingly, an adult can withstand more than 1000 bee stings at once without dying, while a child can withstand more than 300 stings.

A stung 1000 times may be critically injured, but chances are that the person would survive if treated immediately.

It’s impossible for anyone to die by just a single bee sting.

Although the stinger may inflict much pain, it can’t possibly claim your life as long as you aren’t allergic to the toxins in the sting.

A single bee sting may cause serious harm or even death when the victim is allergic to the toxic substance injected by the sting.

Can you save a bee after it stings?

There’s nothing you can do to revive a bee that can only sting once.

As a matter of fact, it takes only a few minutes for the bee to die after stinging.

Due to the severe damage caused by the removal of the bee sting, there is no way anyone can save the insect.

As for stingless bees, they are fully equipped to remain unarmed after stinging a person.

There’s no point worrying about their safety if they sting.

Conclusion

It’s highly recommended to be well protected whenever you’re around bees.

Even the ones that are unable to sting can still hurt you significantly by biting hard.

There is a specially designed protective outfit that is usually worn by beekeepers to shield their bodies from being stung or bitten by aggressive bees.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books