Stings from flying insects can be scary. It can be hard to tell the difference between docile bees and wasps. And if you are allergic, then you can risk your life by misidentifying an insect. Bumble bees are a common species of bee, and their big size can make them intimidating.
They may be so intimidating that you find yourself wondering, “do bumble bees sting”. Find out the answer to that, and get some fun facts about bumble bees as well by reading further into this article.
About Bumble Bees
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The term bumble bee doesn’t stand for one bee. There are over 255 species classified as bumble bees. These species are classified under the Bombus genus. These bees all share some commonalities. For one, most, if not all of them are bigger than the common honeybee.
Because they are bigger than honeybees, they can stay warmer and can inhabit areas that get colder, and stay active longer than honeybees can. Some of the biggest bumble bees, though, live in South America.
They also don’t generally produce that much honey and aren’t used for this purpose. They are considered very important pollinators. All bees are necessary for pollination, even more so than other pollinators like bats, butterflies, and birds, but bumble bees are some of the most important.
One of the reasons they are so good at pollinating is because their wings beat at 130 beats per minute. This makes them vibrate. With their large size able to hold a lot of pollen and their vibration, they can release a lot of pollen to nearby plants and flowers.
Bumble bees are found all over the world, including Argentina, the United States, New Zealand, and Tasmania, though they are most often found in the northern hemisphere.
Though most bumble bees aren’t endangered like other bees, they are declining and their habitats, food sources, and populations are changing rather dramatically. There are some species, like the variable cuckoo bumble bee that are listed as critically endangered, and there are some that are just declining or threatened.
Do Bumble Bees Sting?
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Bumble bees, like most common bees, do have a stinger. Specifically, it is the worker bees and the queen that have stingers. The drones, which are the males that stay inside the nest, do not have stingers.
This means that the ones you will mostly find flying around, or protecting their hive are the ones that have the stingers and are the ones you have to be worried about.
Though they do have stingers, they aren’t likely to sting unless they have to. They have no desire to be aggressive and save their venom until they need to. So though they can sting, it is very rare they will unless the bee feels that they or their hive is in danger.
However, if they do sting, then they aren’t just going to sting once. Unlike honeybees, they don’t have stingers that have barbs. This means that they won’t die or lose their stinger if they do sting you and they can sting again. They only have a small storage of venom at a time, so their future stings might not be as painful.
Both bumble bees and honey bees are graded on the Schmidt Pain Index as a two out of four, which is higher than many bees.