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Do bees die after they sting you?

Last Reviewed and Updated on October 28, 2022

Most of us were told numerous times even if a bee stings you, the bee will die. It made avoiding bee stings even more important. This does raise a question if the bee dies when it stings, why does it sting at all? Do bees die after they sting you? Is this always true? Let’s find out.

The 20.000 different kinds of bees

The answer to this question is a complex one, as there are roughly 20.000 known species of bees, and not all species of bees even have a stinger. If a bee doesn’t have a stinger, it can’t sting you and thus can’t die for this reason.

For the group of bees called stingless bees, the answer is a firm no.

When it comes to the other couple of thousand bee species, we’d have to look into each species or group of species individually.

When talking about bees, most people refer to honeybees. While honeybees are the most well-known type of bee, with 8 recognized species, they only represent a small portion of the bee family. So let’s look into what happens to a honeybee after they sting a human.

Also read: facts about bees

Do honeybees die after they sting you?

When it comes to honeybees, the answer is mostly yes. After a honey bee sting a human it will almost always die shortly after.

A worker honeybee (sterile female bee) has a barbed, serrated stinger. This shape makes it very efficient when it comes to stinging other insects, the bee can sting insects multiple times without harm to itself.

However, it does not fare well when it comes to human skin or the skin of any other mammal. The stinger gets stuck in the skin, and once the bee attempts to fly away, the stinger tears away along with some of the bee’s intestines.

There is an exception here, the queen bee doesn’t have a barbed stinger; the stinger of the queen is smooth, so she is able to sting mammals repeatedly without dying as a consequence.

Male honeybees can’t sting a human as they don’t have a stinger at all.

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