As temperatures warm up, you’ll begin to see some familiar yellow and black insects buzzing around your yard. While these bees play an important role in the environment by pollinating plants, they can also deliver painful stings, a behavior that causes many people to run when they see them buzzing around. It’s commonly believed that bees die after stinging, but is this true, and are their stings dangerous? Read on to find out more.
What Happens After a Bee Stings?
There are several varieties of bees you may notice near your home, including honey bees, bumble bees and carpenter bees. All of these bees do sting, although typically only if they feel threatened. All stinging bees are females because the stinger is actually a modified ovipositor.
Bumble bees and carpenter bees have smooth stingers and are capable of stinging multiple times without dying. Fortunately, they are both relatively docile species.
For honey bees, on the other hand, stinging is typically fatal. This is because, unlike other species, honey bees have barbed stingers. These can get stuck in the skin of animals, including humans. When the bee flies away, the stinger is left behind, effectively disemboweling the insect and causing it to die. Honey bee stingers will continue to pump venom into their victim after the bee is gone.
Are Bee Stings Dangerous?
For most people, stings are painful and irritating, but they are not generally dangerous. According to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the average person who is not allergic can tolerate 10 stings for every pound of body weight, and most people can tolerate up to 1,000 stings.
Pain from some bee stings is caused by an acidic compound in their venom called melittin. This activates pain receptors. Most people who are stung will also experience some degree of swelling caused by histamines.
For people with allergies, though, bee stings can prove dangerous, or even fatal (though rare). People with severe allergies may die within an hour after being stung, usually the result of respiratory dysfunction or anaphylaxis. While it may sound frightening, this usually only happens in around one percent of cases, typically in adults over the age of 40 who have been stung in the head or face.
For more information on bee sting symptoms and treatment, visit the Mayo Clinic’s website.
Tips for Bee Removal
Bees are beneficial to the environment, but most people would prefer for them to keep their distance. If you notice any type of bee around your home, it’s best to contact a professional for assistance. Attempting to remove bees yourself can prove dangerous and ineffective. You risk getting stung, and if an exit point from a hive is blocked, bees may find their way inside your house.
Try to contact a professional beekeeper for removal and relocation. Consult the American Beekeeping Federation or the Apiary Inspectors of America to find beekeepers in your area.
Or, contact Terminix® and we’ll help remove the bees from your home.