Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by jaylen. jaylen Wonders, “How come bee stings hurt?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, jaylen!
Wonder Friends probably already know how important bees are to pollination. Thanks to bees, our plants and flowers grow and reproduce from year to year. However, bees are best observed from a distance. If you get too close, you could get hurt!
When you see a bee, keep your distance. You should also be careful not to scare a bee or step on one. Otherwise, you could have the painful experience of a bee sting. Have you ever been stung by a bee? They can hurt a lot and turn a nice summer day into a day you’ll remember for all the wrong reasons!
When most people think of bee stings, they picture a honey bee. Honey bees that are out and about, away from their hive, usually won‘t sting anyone. They‘re just searching for nectar or pollen and don‘t want anything to do with people. Honey bees at home protecting their hive, however, are another matter entirely.
Do you lock your front door? Does your home have a security system? Honey bees defend their homes just like people do. If they perceive a threat to their hive, they will react. If you stumble upon a honey bee hive, the bees may think you’re a threat. In that case, they will attack and try to sting you.
When honey bees sting, they release pheromones that stir up nearby bees. Often, those other bees join the attack. One stinging bee can turn into hundreds or even thousands of stinging bees in just a short time. That’s one party we don‘t want an invitation to!
Have you ever WONDERed whether all bees sting? In a hive, the female worker bees are the ones that sting. The larger male drone bees don’t even have stingers! Queen bees do have stingers. However, they rarely leave the hive to use them.
When a honey bee stings you, its sharp, barbed stinger pierces the skin. This stinger injects a venom called apitoxin. In most cases, the stinger gets stuck in the victim’s skin and tears loose from the bee. In most cases, this is a massive injury to the honey bee. Other parts of its body rip off with the stinger, killing the bee. The stinger then continues to pump venom into the victim for up to 10 minutes or until it is removed.
Honey bees are the only bee species that die after stinging. However, honey bees sometimes survive after stinging if the victim’s skin is thin and doesn’t hold the barbed end of the stinger. This doesn’t happen often, though, because honey bee stingers are designed to stick in the skin of the victim to release as much venom as possible.
Bee stings can be quite painful. For some people, though, they can actually be deadly. Some people are allergic to the venom in bee stings. For these people, a sting can trigger a dangerous allergic reaction. If you‘re outside with a person who’s allergic to bees, make sure you know where to find help if they are stung.
Despite their painful stings, bees are an important part of their world. Without them, we wouldn‘t have all the beautiful flowers that bloom during spring and summer. Avoiding bees when you see them will protect the bees as well as yourself.
Standards: NGSS.LS1.A, NGSS.LS2.D, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2