We put it out there on social media to hit us with your animal questions. One question we all have was asked again by a Facebook user, Melissa, whose kids keep asking her if all bees sting? It’s a valid question, especially as the temperatures heat up and you can see our buzzing friends around the garden, the park, and pretty much everywhere else depending on where you live.
The short answer is No, not all bees sting.
But let’s investigate further. First of all, what you need to know regarding bees, is that most of them would like nothing better than to be left alone to go about their business. Bees are crucial to the pollinating of our plants, and we would not have the wide variety of flowers or even most of the foods we eat if it were not for the bees. So, if at all possible, avoid the bees, and they will avoid you as well.
With that said, we get it. When you are face to face with a bee, or it lands on you or in your car, the first instinct is to freak out. If at all possible, safely remove the bee from your presence by staying calm and walking away. Your sudden movement will put you (and the bee) in the most danger.
But, do all bees sting? The answer is no.
Male honeybees do not sting.
They do not have a stinger. So, although the presence of a swarm of honeybees may be disconcerning for the human, you are at the least risk when there is a swarm of honeybees. These are most likely worker/ drone bees going about their business and are of no risk to you.
Male bumblebees do not sting.
They do not have a stinger. You can recognize the male honeybee by its lighter color and it’s funny mustache. Bumblebees are not easily provoked and can actually be petted on their furry little bodies. It takes a lot to provoke and frighten a bumblebee. And they will often give a warning if they are feeling threatened, as their behavior changes in the presence of something they deem dangerous.
There are a variety of Solitary bees, over 200 species present in the UK, and for the most part, the solitary bees also pose little to no threat. The males of the species also do not some equipped with a stinger, and the females of these species contain a stinger so small, that it rarely has the capability to break human skin.
The majority of bees are relatively safe to be around, provided they are not provoked and do not feel threatened. However, if you have a known bee allergy and live in an area prone to bees buzzing around in the spring time, it is highly advised to carry allergy medication, and if you suffer from serious allergies, an Epi Pen is recommended. Even with the “safe” species, some people experience such severe allergies, that it is better to be safe than sorry in these cases.
Of course, if you have a life threatening allergy, you do not want to risk your safety by trying to identify which bees are males and which are females with the potential to sting. But, we also do not recommend pesticides that will damage the health of the bees either. If you can, plant your bee friendly plants away from your home and away from the walkways where you will travel. Keep the bees healthy, but of course, keep your health in mind as well!
For everyone else, just enjoy the bees around you, and provide them safe plants to pollinate. They are crucial for our survival as a species and for all the good foods we eat!
Do you have animal questions? Comment with your questions or send us an email on the contact form, and let AnimalPlex do the research for you!