a couple of bees sitting on top of a white flower

Do Bumble Bees Sting?


Bumble bees are fascinating creatures that play an important role in our ecosystem. They are known for their distinctive appearance and gentle nature. However, many people wonder if bumble bees sting. In this article, we will explore the truth behind bumble bee stings and provide some insights into their behavior.

The Bumble Bee Sting

Yes, bumble bees do have the ability to sting. However, they are generally not aggressive and will only sting if they feel threatened or provoked. Unlike other species of bees, such as honey bees, bumble bees do not lose their stinger after stinging. This means that they can sting multiple times, although they are unlikely to do so unless their life is in danger.

Why Do Bumble Bees Sting?

Bumble bees are not naturally aggressive creatures. They are more interested in gathering nectar and pollinating flowers than in stinging humans. However, they may sting if they perceive a threat to their hive or if they are directly handled or squeezed. Bumble bees are protective of their nests and will defend them if they feel that they or their colony are in danger.

How Does a Bumble Bee Sting?

When a bumble bee stings, it injects venom into the skin. The venom contains a mixture of chemicals that can cause pain, swelling, and redness. Some people may have an allergic reaction to the venom, which can result in more severe symptoms. It is important to note that bumble bee stings are generally not life-threatening, unless the person stung has a severe allergy.

Preventing Bumble Bee Stings

If you want to avoid getting stung by a bumble bee, there are a few precautions you can take:

  1. Avoid wearing bright colors and floral patterns, as these can attract bees.
  2. Stay calm and still if a bumble bee is flying near you. Sudden movements or swatting at the bee may provoke it.
  3. Avoid wearing strong perfumes or scented lotions, as these can attract bees.
  4. Keep food and drinks covered when eating outdoors, as sweet smells can attract bees.
  5. If you encounter a bumble bee nest, keep a safe distance and do not disturb it.

What to Do If You Get Stung

If you do get stung by a bumble bee, here are some steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms:

  1. Remove the stinger as quickly as possible. Use a credit card or your fingernail to scrape it off the skin.
  2. Wash the affected area with soap and water to prevent infection.
  3. Apply a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling and pain.
  4. Take over-the-counter pain relievers or antihistamines to help with any discomfort or allergic reactions.
  5. If you experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, or other severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.


Bumble bees do have the ability to sting, but they are generally not aggressive and will only sting in self-defense. It is important to respect their space and avoid provoking them. By taking simple precautions and knowing what to do if you get stung, you can coexist peacefully with these important pollinators.

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Bumble Bee vs Carpenter Bee

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