To Sting or Not To Sting

Sitting out in your front yard, you probably run across many flying insects. From wasps to hornets and the occasional yellow jacket; many people classify anything that fly’s and stings as a bee. The fact is that the most common types of bees are honey bees and bumble bees. The wasp and all of its cousins are not bees at all. Just because it has the ability to sting, doesn’t mean it is getting the right classification. After all, a horse fly can sting but you don’t call it a bee? Believe it or not, all bees don’t have the ability to sting. We just fear that they might sting. We need to teach our children the truth about bees.

bees and pollination

Male bees don’t have stingers, so they cannot hurt us. Female bees are the ones that you need to look out for. They tend to be aggressive if you get in their way. But prior to traditional beliefs, a bee will not hunt you down to get you. They travel a very distinct pattern back and forth to the colony to feed their queen. The female bee is the one responsible for bringing the food to the hives. So, if you get in their way while they have a mouth full of nectar, look out! Wasps and hornets have a whole different ballgame. They pack a punch and tend to be a bit more aggressive.

Many think that bees die after they sting and this is partially true. Bees leave their stinger behind in the skin after they sting. It pulls their venom sac off and the bee struggles to free itself. The sting itself doesn’t cause their death, but the venom sac being torn off. This is why bees can only sting once. A wasp however doesn’t have a venom sac. They can sting you as many times as they please. So while you’re at your next barbecue and you see a bee fly by, before you run or swat it away, stop and examine it. Chances are the bee is just in route to their home and has no intensions of stinging you at all.