Do Sweat Bees Sting?

Sara Sabharwal
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Sweat bees are attracted to human sweat – hence the name! If you are outside on a hot and sweaty day, you may encounter a sweat bee. These bees can look like different types of insects. Sweat bees sometimes look like other types of bees and other times, these sweat bees look like wasps. But, do sweat bees sting?

Yes, sweat bees do sting. Only the female bees can sting, as only female sweat bees have stingers. Sweat bees do tend to be docile creatures and will not sting unless provoked.

What Makes a Sweat Bee Sting?

A sweat bee will not sting you unless it senses danger. These bees are solitary bees and live in nests that they build underground. If something were to disturb their nests, like vibrations, they may become agitated.

If there are dark shadows over their nests, sweat bees may think that there is a predator or intruder and this can also cause these bees to lash out and defend their nests.

Attempting to handle or touch sweat bees can also cause them to become irritated. Never try to hold or pet a bee, it will get defensive and will attempt to sting you. Ultimately, a sweat bee will sting you for the same reasons any other bee will sting you Рto defend itself.

Do Sweat Bee Stings Hurt?

Yes, sweat bee stings hurt. Similar to other types of bees, sweat bee stingers have venom that gets injected into the victim’s skin when the bee stings.

This venom will usually cause a mild reaction and be more irritating than painful. If you begin experiencing extreme symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, intense dizziness, sweating, large welts or hives, or any other concerning symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. 

What Happens When a Sweat Bee Stings You? 

When a sweat bee stings you, it will not leave the stinger behind nor will it die, like a honey bee. A sweat bee usually only stings once to get away from a predator.

Since sweat bees are solitary insects, they do not live in hives or nests with other bees. This means that sweat bees will not swarm you nor attack in a group to defend a hive or nest.

After the bee stings you, venom is left in your skin. It is best to wash the area right away to prevent the venom from spreading. If you are not allergic to bee stings, you will most likely only have a small red spot from where the sting was.

If you are allergic to bee venom, your reaction may be a lot worse and will most likely require medical attention. 

Will a Sweat Bee Die When They Sting You?

No, sweat bees do not die when they sting. Generally, the only bee that will die after stinging is the honey bee as they have a barbed stinger that gets stuck in the victim.

Can Sweat Bee Stings Be Lethal?

It’s highly unlikely that a sweat bee sting would lead to death. Of course, there are edge cases where some people can have a major reaction.

How Long Does a Sweat Bee Sting Hurt?

The sting of a sweat bee will feel sharp and intense at that moment. After the initial shock wears off and the venom is washed away, sweat bee stings should only hurt for a few hours.

If it continues to hurt or if the pain begins radiating, seek medical attention. This could be an allergic reaction. If you are stung multiple times, in the face, head, mouth, or neck, it is important that you call for medical support or go to the nearest hospital.

Even if you are not allergic, it could be dangerous and shocking to the body to have that much sweat bee venom inside. 

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How Do You Treat a Sweat Bee Sting?

To treat a sweat bee sting, the first thing you need to do after getting stung is move away from the place of the attack. Once you are safely removed from the situation, you can properly access the sting.

Look for a stinger wedged in your skin. You may think you were stung by a sweat bee, but during the intense moments, you could have missed the type of bee it was.

Honey bees will leave their stingers in your flesh. If you see a stinger, remove it with a credit card or other flat instrument. Wash the area well with warm water and soap a few times.

After the area is clean, apply ice to the sting to reduce swelling and pain. If you are uncomfortable, you can take OTC pain relievers to help with the pain. 

Summary

Sweat bees rarely sting. However, they are capable of stinging and they will defend their nests and themselves. If you are stung by a sweat bee, remain calm. Their stings are generally mild compared to other types of bees.

Monitor the situation and if you notice allergic reactions starting, contact medical services immediately. If you are not allergic to bees, clean the area with soap and water and apply an ice pack for pain relief and to help with swelling.

Rest assured that sweat bee stings do not hurt for very long. Sweat bees are generally docile insects that will not sting unless provoked. Avoiding sweat bee nests and not trying to handle a sweat bee will help prevent a sweat bee from stinging you. 


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