Bumblebee Sting

Bumblebee stings

Do Bumblebees Sting?

Like most other stinging wasps and bees, bumblebees sting to defend themselves and their nest. Bumblebees, unlike honeybees, are able to sting multiple times, but they are much less likely to sting than hornets, yellow jackets or honeybees. The bumblebee workers and queens are the only members of the nest that will sting.

Sting Appearance

Bumblebees inject venom into their target through the stinger. In people, the most frequent reaction is short lived, but painful. However, the range or reactions may also include an allergic reaction to the injected venom. Generally, the reaction is dependent on the number of times someone is stung and the victim’s allergic sensitivity to the venom. The following reactions may occur:

  • A local, non-allergic reaction that produces swelling, itchiness, redness at the sting site and normally lasts for only a few hours to perhaps a few days. While these reactions may show up immediately after the sting, they usually show up a few hours after the sting.
  • Allergic reactions to the venom or reactions from multiple stings that can result in a general allergic reaction, a systemic allergic reaction that affects the whole body, or an anaphylactic reaction that is a possible life-threatening allergic response. Always seek the advice and care of a physician to treat bumblebee stings.
How to avoid stings

One of the best ways to avoid bumblebee stings is to stay clear of their nests or the flowers or other plants they visit. Sometimes you may not realize you are near a bumblebee nest, so if you discover you are near a nest, it is wise to not do anything that could provoke the bumblebee(s). Some general things to do or not do are:

  • Remain calm since bumblebees are not very aggressive. Do not wave your arms, swat at the bumblebees or accidentally bump into their nest. Instead, move slowly and carefully while retreating from the location where you see bumblebees.
  • If bumblebees are stinging you, brush them off your body – don’t crush them – and quickly run away from the area. If possible, cover and protect your head.
  •  Contact your pest management professional for advice and assistance to help control bumblebees and other stinging insects on your property.