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Do All Bees Sting?



Only female bees sting.  Male bees do not even have stingers!


Not all types of bees sting humans. The category of bees known as “solitary,” which live alone rather than in a group, generally only use stinging to subdue small prey such as spiders and insects. This class of bees includes carpenter bees, digger wasps, mud daubers, and cicada killers.

It is the social bee that can cause problems for humans, especially those who wander accidentally into a nested area. Honeybees, paper wasps, and yellow jackets will all attack if they feel the hive is being threatened. Alone, away from the nest, they rarely sting unless provoked. But closer to home, humans can run into great trauma because the mere act of being present in the area may be perceived by a such a species as a natural threat.

Wide Range of Attacks

In the spring, summer, and fall seasons, the news media never seems to be short of brutal tales of humans being swarmed and attacked by bees. In late September 2011, a 62-year-old man in Chicago was found by a neighbor, lying motionless on his front porch. All indications point to him having been stung to death by bees, after dislodging a nest of bees or wasps from his roof overhang. In this case, the man may also have had a previously undiagnosed severe allergy to bee stings.

Earlier in September, golfers in Texas were attacked by tens of thousands of bees while playing in a local tournament, though thankfully no one was seriously injured.(3) It was all because of a storm, which felled a branch near the 18th hole green and sheared off part of a hive attached to the tree. When the pin placement of the 18th hole flag was moved closer to the downed branch and maintenance workers unknowingly came in to move the limb, it agitated the bees into a full-scale attack.



(1) University of Nebraska – Stinging Wasps and Bees, Retrieved September 29, 2011 from

(2) Chicago Sun-Times – “Resident May Have Died from Wasp Stings”, September 28, 2011, Retrieved September 29, 2011 from

(3) Fort Worth Star Telegram – “Bees Sting Golfers, Shut Down Tournament”, September 21, 2011, Retrieved September 29, 2011 from

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