Do bumble bees sting? Do they die after?
A lot of times, there are confusions about bee species that sting. Bees are generally known to be territorial with stinging being a defense mechanism when anyone gets too close.
So, do all bee species sting? We’re most interested in looking at the bumble bee.
Because it’s one bee species a lot of people encounter, we’ll have to find out whether their presence around homes poses any danger. For a lot of people, any bee species will sting, but is that the case?
You’ll want to stick around to find out if your fears are justified.
About Bumble Bees
Bumble bees are bee species native to North America and are close relatives to the honey bee.
These hairy pollinators live in colonies with such colonies dying out in late fall. Surviving members of this colony are often the new queens who emerge in spring to start new colonies.
Bumble bees (especially the rusty-patched species) are considered an endangered species across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
These insects have important roles to play, especially as it has to do with pollination. While this is true, let’s get back to the focus of our discussion.
Do Bumble Bees Have Stingers?
Bumble bees do sting whenever they feel threatened.
One thing that makes a bumble bee sting even more dangerous is the fact that a single bee of this species can sting multiple times. This is quite different from some bee species that sting once.
Despite their ability to sting, bumble bees aren’t as aggressive as honey bees. In other words, they seldom sting unless they have to. This happens when you get too close to their nests.
At this point, they have to defend their territory, hence the stings that follow.
Members of the bumble bee colony responsible for this defensive activity (stinging) are the worker bees and the queen. In other words, not all bumble bee colony members do sting.
The drones, which are the male bees, do not sting.
Stings Become Possible when you get too Close to their Hives
Ordinarily, bumble bees won’t go out of their way to sting or attack beyond their nest surroundings. In other words, such stings are only common when people get too close to their hives.
These bees sting as a defensive measure to safeguard their hives and the pollens in them.
Here, it’s obvious to see that you’ll have to avoid areas where these bees are for your safety. Of course, their stings are painful.
Plus, you’ll be in greater danger when being stung by several it becomes an emergency as you’ll need to get away as fast as you can and seek medical attention.
Where Bumble Bees Nest
To avoid getting stung by this bee species, it’s important to know their preferred nesting grounds. Most bumble bee species prefer dark, dry, and cool cavities to nest in.
Such conditions can be found in a variety of areas including compost heaps, rodent holes, and underneath sheds.
Areas with significant sun exposure aren’t ideal for bumble bee nesting. It’s not very common to find their dwellings as such could be underground.
Most of the encounters people have with bumble bees are unexpected. When you do stumble across these pollinators, it’s necessary to get as far away as possible.
The Aftermath of a Bumble Bee Sting
Having confirmed the stinging ability of bumble bees, it’s necessary to consider the aftermath of such an attack.
What happens when you get stung by a bumble bee? Of course, the resulting pains and possible reactions take some time to subside.
Because bumble bees leave no barbs behind when they sting, they’re able to do so repeatedly. This creates more problems for you. Your best bet is to get away as fast as you can to safety.
Sometimes, a bumble bee stinger could break off during an attack.
Now, the assumption is; such a bee would die but that isn’t always the case. Bumble bees with broken stingers could survive. However, this comes with the implication that the bee (with the broken stinger) will never sting again.
In other words, broken stingers never re-grow.
Bumble bee stings aren’t accompanied by much venom as is the case with other bee species that leave a venom sac behind. So, while the stings are painful, the after-effects may not be as much as those from other bee species.
Nevertheless, some bee sting victims may be allergic to these stings. Treatment should normally solve any issues that may arise.
Bumble Bees shouldn’t be seen as Foes
Due to their importance to the ecosystem, bumble bees must be protected. The good thing with these stinging pollinators is that they aren’t aggressive.
They only become defensive when their space or hive is encroached upon. Otherwise, they won’t go out of their way to sting.
Preventing Bumble Bee Stings
Bumble bees can do a lot of harm (even more than honey bees) when they sting. When you do find such bees buzzing around you, it’s possible that such could be due to sugary substances around.
Instead of being aggressive with them, it’s best to have all sugary substances covered.
This simple action should be enough to repel them away. In situations where you stumble across their nests, it’s important to retreat immediately.
Any action carried out around their nests will be considered an act of provocation which could lead to attacks stings.
Do I Need to Get Rid of Bumble Bees?
Because these bees are considered mostly gentle and beneficial to the environment, having to get rid of them isn’t that necessary. However, bumble bees queens establish new colonies every year.
So, the likelihood of dealing with the same problem every year is slim.
All you have to do is keep your distance from a known bumble bee nest. If you must get rid of them, it’s better to have a reputable pest technician handle the job. This reduces the risk of getting stung by them.
In most situations, there’ll be no need to get rid of these pollinators.
In our discussion to this point, we’ve discovered the stinging potentials of bumble bees. However, these bee species only sting when provoked and aren’t as aggressive as honey bees.