Bee Stings: How often do you Get Stung as a Beekeeper?

Close up of bee sting in the hand of a beekeeper.

The adage goes, no pain no gain. And it seems honeybees have taken this to an entirely different level. They will produce the sweet honey, but sometimes you may have to bear with painful bee stings to get it. Humans have been stung by bees more than enough, hence why beekeeping suits were invented. As the beekeeper, you must accept the fact that the bees, no matter how friendly they may look, may at some point sting you aggressively. Fortunately, bee stings do not really translate to fatality for most people. There are some exceptions to this however, especially for those that are allergic to bee venom, but most people will not die from bee stings.  The sting usually causes a little pain and swelling shall soon disappear.

How Badly do Bee Stings Hurt?

Bee stings generally hurt but different individuals will respond to it differently. The reactions however tend to be mild, moderate, or severe. These are explained below:

1. Mild reaction to bee stings

This is where majority of individuals fall under. The stings tend to elicit some mild reactions that do not need medical intervention. The pain and the effect will be limited to the site of the sting. Mild reactions include some slight swelling, a sharp and burning pain that disappears after a while, and the affected area turns red and raised.

2. Moderate reaction to bee stings

This is a little bit more serious response unlike the mild reaction to the bee sting. These are ideally individuals that have a strong response to bee venom. They tend to take up to a week for the symptoms to disappear. The pain tend to be more and the reddening of the affected area more severe. The swelling will also be large in size, about 10 cm in diameter. Such an individual has a greater chance of developing an allergic reaction to bee stings later.

3. Severe reaction to bee stings

Individuals that fall on this category tend to experience severe pain because of bee stings, and will require immediate medical attention. The symptoms of a severe reaction to bee stings include loss of consciousness, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, swelling of the throat or tongue, nausea or vomiting, struggling to breathe, pain in the abdomen, and in extreme cases – even death.

Can I Die From Bee Stings?

Different people respond uniquely to bee stings. The reaction tends to range from mild to severe in nature. The response can be noted on the specific area stung by the honeybee. Those that have severe response to bee stings might experience some effects on other parts of their body.

The response to bee stings will vary on individuals, with some experiencing minor reactions such as swelling of the area affected every time they are stung. The symptoms of the bee stings are diverse since it depends on the individuals’ allergies. It thus ranges from mild, moderate, to severe.

A bee has a sharp and barbed stinger that normally remains lodged into the victim’s skin after getting stung. This stinger will release its venom for up to one minute after the stinging. This venom comes with protein substances that the person’s immune system and the skin. It induces pain and swelling on the affected area. The itchy area also tends to be uncomfortable even to those that do not experience an allergic response to bee stings. Those with an allergy to the stings will experience an adverse immune reaction to the bee venom. The bee sting can therefore be life threatening to this small group of people. That means immediate or emergency medical attention should be sought for me otherwise they can lose their life because of the bee sting.

The first thing you need to do after getting stung is to remove the stinger, since the more it stays the more it releases venom into your system. You should then run away from the area of attack and wash the area with soap and water. Over-the-counter medication for pain relief will also help. If your response to the bee sting is severe, then you have to get emergency medical attention.

Do Bees Actually Die after Stinging a Person?

Honeybees are armed with their stinger as a means of their defense against predators and intruders. The worker bees have the stinger and are therefore the guard bees of the honeybee colony.

The bee stinger is a barbed needle-shaped organ found on the end of the abdomen of bees. It links up with the bee’s digestive tract where a venom sac is located. When a honeybee stings, all the components of the stinger are ejected from the body with all its contents. That means all parts of the stinger and venom sac come out, resulting in the death of the bee.

The bee dies immediately after stinging and the stinger does its work immediately, as it is lodged on the victim’s body. The symptoms of the sting will advance as the venom sac continues to pump the venom into the victim. The barbed design of the stinger holds it tightly in place as the deadly effect progresses. A signature smell or pheromone is also released by the stinging bee after inflicting the injection into the victim. This is a signal to the other bees that there has been an invasion and they should respond accordingly. This will only mean things shall get worse as the rest of the honeybee colony show up to attack the victim.


Bee stings are extremely painful, but its effects vary immensely depending on individual’s allergic nature to bee venom. The first response to bee sting is generally the pain, followed by swelling and itching. Other signs of bee stinging include the reddening of the skin. People with an allergy to bee venom will however experience more serious symptoms that could even result in death. It is worth mentioning that the severity of the reaction to bee sting will also depend on the number of stings. An increase in the number of stings will lead to a more severe response. It is therefore wise to go far away as possible from the area of attack after the first sting. Remember as mentioned earlier, that more worker bees will be signalled to show up after the sting, therefore it is wise to move away as early as possible.

About Michael Simmonds

Michael Simmonds is a beekeeper from the United States, with over 20 years of experience in the field. He developed a passion for beekeeping at a young age and started his own apiary when he was just 15 years old. Over the years, he honed his skills and gained extensive knowledge about honeybee biology and behavior.
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