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Author Topic: Bees die after they sting you...why?  (Read 22111 times)

paul.fr

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« on: 28/03/2007 09:54:09 »
I'm sure we have all heard that bees die after they sting you. Is this true?

if it is, do they know this and why do they die?


 

another_someone

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« Reply #1 on: 28/03/2007 12:51:02 »
Yes, I believe it is true - the sting has a barbs in it, and remains attached to the abdomen of the bee, and it has to tear its abdomen apart to free itself.  I am not sure if this is true is a bee stings something small, and whether it is only big things, like humans, that cause it such agony.

http://pelotes.jea.com/honeybee.htm
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A bee has a poison gland in her abdomen. When she stings another insect (like a wasp), she can pull the stinger out of the waspís body and get away. So if a bee is fighting another insect, she can sting many times. But if a bee stings a person or a large animal (frog, raccoon, etc.) the stinger sticks in the animalís tough skin and keeps pumping poison. The bee flies away, but she gets torn in half and dies. Bees only sting if they think they or their hive are in danger. If one bee is buzzing around you, she may smell perfume, soap, or hair spray and think the smell is nectar (food). She will check you out to see if she can find the nectar, but if you stand very still, she will realize there is no nectar and go away.

As for whether it 'knows' this - the bee has a minute brain, and not something that has anything like comparable processing power to our own.  Whether, within this brain, it is capable of 'knowing' anything is difficult to answer definitively until we can answer what it is to a human to 'know' something, but given the rather limited life experience of a bee, it certainly does not have much opportunity to learn from experience, so most of what it knows is what it was preprogrammed with as instinctive behaviour.
 

Offline moonfire

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« Reply #2 on: 29/03/2007 04:56:19 »
yes and i am glad of it!  I am deathly allergic to bugs with a stinger!  ick!
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« Reply #3 on: 29/03/2007 20:32:28 »
IIRC queen bees can sting repeatedly.
By the way, am I the only one who read the title of this thread and thought the answer was
 "because it would be silly if they died before they stung you"
 

another_someone

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« Reply #4 on: 29/03/2007 21:22:10 »
IIRC queen bees can sting repeatedly.

Given that a queen bee never leaves the hive, why would it even have the opportunity to sting you once.  If something has got into the hive, and already got past all of the defences of the hive, and got to the queen - the hive is already lost.

By the way, am I the only one who read the title of this thread and thought the answer was
 "because it would be silly if they died before they stung you"

I have only ever been stung by a bee once, and during all of those years, many bees have died - thus one might conclude that they died before having any opportunity to sting me, and thus died before they stung me. ;D
 

Offline Ben6789

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« Reply #5 on: 04/04/2007 16:21:47 »
I am not allergic to bees, but I am still deathly afraid of them. The thought of a sharp stinger penatrating, and the pain..I have never been stung by a bee. Also another question, Killer bees are lab created, do they leave their stinger in after they sting you, or does their genetically enhanced state help them survive.
 

another_someone

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« Reply #6 on: 04/04/2007 18:00:58 »
I am not allergic to bees, but I am still deathly afraid of them. The thought of a sharp stinger penatrating, and the pain..

As others have mentioned, the pain of a single sting is no worse than a splinter under the skin.

The risk with bees (aside from allergies) is if they swarm, and attack you en mass (when you can have hundreds of stings).  If you don't antagonise them (e.g. flay your arms around), are are not extremely close to their hive, this is a highly unlikely event.

Killer bees are lab created, do they leave their stinger in after they sting you, or does their genetically enhanced state help them survive.

There are no such things as lab created 'killer bees'.

There is the Africanised bee (sometimes colloquially known as 'killer bees'), that is not lab created, but still dies after stinging you (it is more aggressive, and crucially, has a greater tendency to swarm, but a single sting will no more kill you than is the case of the European bee).

In fact, from what I read, it is not that the 'lab created killer bees' are more dangerous, but that the Africanized bees are behaving more naturally, and the European bees have been selectively changed to European bee growers to be more mild mannered - thus, although the milder mannered European bee can be more accurately regarded as 'lab created'.

Wasps will retract their stinger, and will fly off to live another day, but I am not aware of any species of bee that will do that.
 

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Bees die after they sting you...why?
« Reply #6 on: 04/04/2007 18:00:58 »

 

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