"Why does a honeybee die when it stings?"
That was a question I couldn't answer off the top of my head when a child asked me the other day while looking at the indoor beehive. The best thing to do when you don't know the answer --- look it up.
A female worker honeybee has a barbed stinger, like a saw blade that only goes one direction. When a honeybee feels threatened or feels like its hive is being threatened, it will sting. (We always say, if you live it alone, it will leave you alone.)
When a honeybee stings, its stinger gets stuck in the skin. Imagine trying to pull a screw out of a wall without a screwdriver. You just can't do it.
When the honeybee tries to escape, it breaks off from the stinger, leaving part of its abdomen and possibly its bowels behind. It just can't survive after that.
However, a honeybee's stinger doesn't stick in all creatures. It could stick a large insect, and the honeybee could pull out its stinger and continue on its way. However, for people and other mammals with thick skin, the honeybee can't retrieve its stinger.
In contrast, a queen’s stinger is smooth and can be used multiple times, but a queen uses it exclusively to battle other queens.
Drones do not have stingers.
Where is the queen is probably the No. 1 question that we are asked about the indoor bee hive. You can read a little bit about that here, but the next question often comes up as “What makes a queen bee?” The short answer is, queens are fed royal jelly which makes them different from Read More »
The numbers of bees in the indoor beehive have gone down. But that’s pretty normal this time of year. It just means that our bees have entered winter mode and are getting ready to survive cold weather. Baby, it’s cold outside. As the weather cools down, a honeybee hive starts to change. One of the Read More »
Myth: Bees are mean. Truth: Bee are nice. Honeybees only sting as a last resort, because they die after stinging. That means, unless they feel threatened or think you are going to hurt the hive, they will leave you alone. Myth: Bees will keep stinging you. Truth: As stated above, honeybees will die after stinging Read More »