Honey Bee Sting

A honey bee is able to sting a person or predator using its stinger. 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. When a honey bee stings, its stinger, the venom sac and other parts of the honey bee’s body are pulled out and left behind, killing the bee. Although the bee dies, its sting takes effect quickly, and, if the stinger is not removed quickly, the symptoms gradually increase as the venom sac continues to pump venom into the wound. Since the stinger is barbed, it often becomes lodged in the tissue of the animal. 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.


Honey bee stings are known to be very painful, but the symptoms that result from a sting vary, depending on the amount of poison that has entered the immune system of the victim. The initial pain eventually fades, but only after a period of swelling and itching. Some individuals may also experience visible signs, including redness of the skin around the sting. Although the honey bee sting is not commonly hazardous, some people may be allergic to the bee’s venom and will experience such severe side effects as nausea, fainting and, in extreme cases, death.

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.


Dig Deeper on Honey Bees

What Do Honey Bees Collect?

What Do Honey Bees Eat?

Life Cycle of a Honey Bee

What Do Honey Bees Sound Like?

Honey Bee Colony

Honey Bee Eggs

What is the Habitat of a Honey Bee? | Honey Bee Colonies | Orkin

What Bees Sting? | Types of Bee Stings | Orkin

How Do Honey Bees Make Hives?

Honey Bee Behavior

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