Anatomy of a Honey Bee Sting

Honey bee stings are quite painful and even life threatening to a small percentage of people who are allergic to the venom. Honey bees usually sting as a form of defense of themselves or their colony. The stinger is barbed and located at the end the abdomen. It is tied to the digestive tract of the bee as is the venom sac that produces the venom.

If agitated, the bee plunges its stinger into the offending individual. Since the stinger is barbed, it often becomes lodged in the tissue of the animal. As the bee pulls away, the stinger and part of the abdomen are ripped off. The bee is unable to survive and will soon perish. When a honey bee stings, it releases an alarm pheromone to alert the other workers in the colony. The result is other bees are recruited to the area to defend the colony as well.

The symptoms of a honey bee sting range from none to potentially fatal allergic reactions. Most people suffer pain and some swelling at the sting site. The numbers of stings also plays a role in the effects. As the number of stings increases, the severity of reaction also increases and can be lethal to anyone if stung too many times. If a person is stung or has medical concerns related to honey bees, they should seek a medical professional.