Do Bumble Bees Sting?

When talking about pollinators, bumble bees tend to be near the top of the list. These bees help pollinate everything from flowers to food crops. We all know that bees can sting, but what about bumble bees? Do bumble bees sting?

Yes, bumble bees can and will sting if provoked. Only the worker bees and the queen bee have stingers. 

Do Bumble Bees Die When They Sting? 

No, bumble bees will not die when they sting you. This is because bumble bees have stingers that do not have barbs on the end of them. This allows for the bumble bee to withdraw her stinger and carry on. 

Bee stings, including bumble bee stings, are mixed with venom that the bee produces. The venom along with the sharp shape of the stinger cause pain in humans. Sometimes, a bee sting can cause an allergic reaction in humans. 

Honey bees have stingers with a barb on the end. When a honeybee stings you, the stinger gets left in your skin and as the honeybee tries to fly away, the stinger rips loose from the bee and tears the venom sack out with it. 

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Do Bumble Bee Stings Hurt?

Yes, bumblebee stings do hurt because they are biologically meant to. A bee sting includes venom being injected into your skin through the stinger of the bee. The stinger alone provides a sharp pain when stung. 

For most people, the sting will only hurt for a little while and the swelling, redness, and irritation should subside within 24-48 hours. 

How Do You Treat a Bumble Bee Sting? 

If you are stung by a bumblebee, do not panic. Most people do not experience severe allergy symptoms from bee stings. Follow the instructions below for proper treatment: 

  1. Remove Any Stingers
    While bumble bees and wasps do not leave stingers in your skin, it is best to check. It can be hard to tell bumble bees and honeybees apart. Use tweezers or even a credit card to remove the stinger. 
  2. Wash the Area With Soap and Water
    Be sure to thoroughly cleanse the affected area with warm water and soap. When a bee stings, you are injected with venom. To help clear any venom or other debris from your sting wound, wash the area at least twice. 
  3. Apply Ice
    If you are having an onset of swelling, apply an ice pack. You can ice the area for 20 minutes at a time. Be sure to place a paper towel or thin cloth between your skin and the ice to avoid freezing your skin.
  4. Take an Antihistamine
    To help reduce itchiness, you can take an antihistamine like Benedryl. This will help reduce any inflammation due to allergies. If you are having a severe allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. 
  5. Take Ibuprofen
    This will help reduce swelling and help manage the pain of the bee sting for you for up to 8 hours. 
  6. Apply Anti-Itch or Cortisol Creams
    These creams help provide relief for itchiness and swelling. 

Do Bumble Bees Sting for No Reason? 

Bumble bees do not sting for no reason. Usually, bumble bees are docile and will leave humans alone. It is best not to agitate or provoke bumble bees. Do not try to pick it up, hold, or touch a bumblebee.

It is also important that you do not swing or swat at bumble bees as this can be seen as aggressive. 

You should also avoid beehives. If you notice a large beehive on or near your home and you are uncomfortable with it being there, hire a local beekeeper to come and collect it.

Do not try to remove it yourself as bees will protect their home at all costs.

For safety reasons, leave this to the professionals. Even if you were able to remove the hive, homeless bees will swarm and that creates a dangerous situation. 

It’s also worth noting that bumble bees are attracted to strong smells like sweat, perfumes, scented soaps, alcohol, and lotions. They also may be agitated by jewellery or watches due to the way the oxidized metal smells on your skin. 

What Do Bumble Bee Stings Feel Like?

A bumble bee sting will, as the name suggests, sting for around 24 hours for most people unless your reaction is particularly bad.

Do Bumble Bee Stings Itch?

Yes, bumble bee stings do itch. Fortunately, the itching will only last for a few hours before the sting becomes red and sore for around 24 hours in total. You can soothe the itching with an ice pack or a topical cream.

Do Bumble Bees Sting Dogs?

Yes, bumble bees can and will sting dogs. Many dogs will chase bees for fun and rarely end up catching one. However, if they do manage to catch one, the bee could sting the inside of your dogs mouth, tongue, or throat. 

Dogs can also be stung between their paws if they step on a bee. Another place dogs can be stung is on their bodies. Keep an eye on your dog when they are outside so they do not disturb any beehives. 

Summary

While they are usually docile, bumble bees can and will sting if provoked. Bumble bee stingers do not have barbs on them, like honeybees do. This means that the stinger of a bumblebee will not stay in your skin after the sting.

Luckily for the bumblebee, this also means they won’t die from stinging you. 


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