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Do Bumble Bees Die After Stinging?

Bumble bees, genus bombus, are good sized bees that are commonly seen throughout North America and other continents. There are over 250 species in the genus bombus. They are social insects that live in colonies averaging between 50-400 bees. Much smaller ones than other bees like the honey bee whose colonies may be up to 60,000.

Bumble bees are large and can be very intimidating because of their size. Most people know that a honey bee will die after it stings. This is due to the fact that barbs on the stinger make it unable to pull the stinger out, so it leaves behind part of its abdomen, which kills it.

But do bumble bees also die when they sting? Let’s find out…

Do bumble bees die after stinging?

Bumble bees do not die after stinging, they are able to pull out their stingers without causing any damage to themselves. This is because their stingers do not have barbs like a honey bee. 

There is no limit to the number of times that a bumble bee can sting because of the fact that they are able to remove their stingers from whom or whatever they sting.

Can male bumble bees sting?

Male bumble bees, aka drones, cannot sting. Female bumble bees however, both queens and workers, are able to sting. Only queens are responsible for reproduction so they are protected at all costs. Female workers are not responsible for reproduction and will sting when protecting the colony.

What do you put on a bumble bee sting?

Do bumble bees sting hurt?

Bumble bees inject a venom similar to wasps and honey bees that directly affect the blood vessels in the skin. Most people have a local reaction that only affects the area around the sting with swelling, redness, and minor pain. Some rare people may have allergic reactions to stings that can result in dizziness, tightness in the chest, or difficulty breathing.

In extreme cases loss of consciousness and anaphylaxis shock may occur, but very rarely. And don’t forget, a dead bee can sting you. Sometimes a bee may be in a dormant state and only appear dead. Either way, no touching with your bare hands even if it appears dead.

Are bumble bees dangerous?

Generally, bumble bees are very peaceful insects that only want to collect pollen and help in growing their hive. However being stung by a bumble bee can be rather painful, especially for children or people who do not take pain well, and for that reason they can be somewhat dangerous when they feel threatened.

Are bumblebees aggressive?

They are typically not aggressive but if they feel that their hive is in danger or being threatened, they can be very aggressive. Never provoke bumble bees or attempt to get close to them, simply avoid them and they should avoid you.

Will bumble bees attack?

As mentioned above, they will only attack when they feel their nest is in danger. Wasps for instance, are naturally much more aggressive than bumble bees and may even seem like they are attacking and chasing you when protecting their nest.

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Tips to keep bumble bees away

  • Do not provoke or disturb bumblebees
  • Avoid perfumed smells as they can attract bees
  • Never attempt to hit bumblebees or knock them down
  • Avoid bumble nests at all costs which are typically in dry, sandy soil
  • Watering your garden and lawn frequently will create unfavorable nesting grounds
  • Try using Citronella candles

Bumble bees are excellent pollinators and an important part of our ecosystem so you should never kill them. The only time a pest control company should be called for bumble bees is if their nest is obstructing the entrance to your home and causing problems. 

Bumble Bee FAQ

Are bumble bees endangered?

There are over 250 species of bumble bees, the only one that is endangered according to fws.gov is the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee. Populations are rapidly declining due to loss of habitat and other factors.

Do bumble bees have hives?

A hive refers to a manmade nest for bees in order to collect their honey. While it is possible to raise bumble and procure their honey, it isn’t as common as with honey bees. Bumble bees live in much smaller colonies and do not produce near as much honey so it just isn’t attempted as much.

Where do bumble bees nest?

Bumble bees nest in the ground. They prefer dry and sandy soil and will commonly reuse nests of ground dwelling rodents or yellow jackets, or even under logs and rocks.

What do bumble bees eat?

Bumble bees are herbivorous and primarily feed on nectar but may also eat pollen and honey.

Do bumble bees make honey?

Yes, bumble bees are capable of making honey. Typically a queen bumble bee will store small amounts of honey inside the nest only to be used for raising young. They do not make large surpluses of honey like honey bees, making raising them for honey pointless.

Are bumblebees and carpenter bees the same thing?

Bumble bees and carpenter bees are two totally different species, although they look very similar when buzzing around. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their abdomens. A bumble bee has a yellow and black fuzzy abdomen while a carpenter bee has a solid black shiny abdomen. Bumble bees are usually a bit fatter too.

Do bumble bees die in the winter?

Drones and worker bumble bees die each year in the fall. Bumble bee queens will hibernate underground in the winter and wake up in the spring to create a new colony.

Do bumble bees migrate?

Bumble bees do not migrate because their lifecycle is too short, they simply die off each season aside from the queen that hibernates.

How long do bumble bees live?

Drones and workers will only live on season which may be approximately 6-9 months. The queen bumble be can live for about one year.

Do bumble bees lay eggs?

Yes. A bumble bee queen lays 2 types of eggs; fertilized and unfertilized. Fertilized eggs are all female, meaning workers or queens. Unfertilized eggs are all drones, or males.