When you hear bees buzzing, it is normal to get scared. You don’t have to be scared unless you are bothering them. If you don’t bother them, they will leave you alone. However, if you bother bees, they can attack you. Their sting can be lethal, which brings us to the question, “Can bees kill you?” Essentially, when stung by many bees, an anaphylactic shock may be induced, which might kill you.

However, other than that, bees are very beneficial. Raising bees is a rewarding agricultural enterprise. Many people are now interested in keeping bees to produce backyard honey and gaining an extra source of income. This article highlights how bees help us, the basics of beekeeping, and provides an adequate answer to the question, “Can bees kill you?”

How Bees Help Us

Pollination

pollination

Bees facilitate pollination, which is the movement of pollen from the anthers (the male parts of a flower) to the stigma (the female part of a flower). The pollen then fertilizes the eggs of the plant, which then produce a seed that forms a new pant. Honey bees and bumble bees, among other pollinators, pollinate 75% of the world's food crops and about 90% of the wild plants. Once the plants grow, they absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, which we need to breathe.


Bees Are Important To A Healthy Environment

bee collecting nectar

Bees are a good symbol of nature. If they are in trouble, it is a sign that our environment is deteriorating. They help keep the cycle of life and boost the color and beauty of the countryside. This is mainly via pollination, which allows the growth of new plants. This then provides food and habitat for a range of other animals. Therefore, the health of our ecosystem depends on the health of bees and other pollinators.


Biodiversity

bee on purple flower

Bees play a significant role in protecting our biodiversity. While some bees are generalist pollinators, other bees pollinate specific plants. Sometimes, certain plants are only pollinated by single species of pollinators known as pollinator specialists. The plants may be located in areas where pollen is difficult to reach, but specialist bees have what it takes to pollinate them which enhances biodiversity. Plant and animal diversity would not exist without bees. This is because pollination promotes strong and healthy plants, but also helps keep omnivores and herbivores alive by providing them with food.


Honey

a jar of honey

Bees help make honey. Each honey bee typically carries a nectar back to the hive in a special stomach known as the crop. The bee leaves a mixture of regurgitated saliva and nectar in the cell. The bees then work hard in evaporating most of the water from the mixture, which turns into thick honey and then they cover the top of the cell with wax. Without bees, we wouldn’t have honey.


The Basics Of Beekeeping

smoker

The first step of becoming a successful beekeeper is learning as much as you can about the bees themselves. Honey bees are the only insects that store food in excess. They are mainly involved in the production of honey and wax. They have the most impact on pollination. Each hive has a queen bee. It is the only reproductive bee in a colony and leaves the hive under two circumstances – as a virgin queen to mate or as an experienced queen with a swarm. The queen mates with drones and lays all the eggs in the colony and decides when to lay drones or workers.

The drones are unfertilized eggs while the workers are fertilized. Worker bees are sterile females who do all the feeding to the young bees, foraging, honey production, storage, cleaning, wax production, and defending the hive against intruders. The drones are the only male bees in a colony. They spread the genetics of the colony by mating with queens from other colonies. Once they mate, they die as successful bees. However, for the unsuccessful bees, they return to the hive to eat pollen and honey. Once swarm season is over, they drain resources in the hive and are typically evicted by workers.

Before you start keeping bees, you should remember the following:

  • Study all about bees to learn when they arrive and how to manage them
  • Learn how bees make honey - bees typically make nests, fly to flowers to extract nectar, and then bring it back to the hive and comb, where it slowly becomes honey
  • Connect with your local beekeeping organizations as they may be valuable in helping you during your first season
  • Learn how to set up your beehive; as a backyard beekeeper, you need to provide a man-made hive for your bees so you can maintain the colony and easily harvest the honey
  • Learn about beekeeping tasks, including what is involved in taking care of your bees
  • Get the necessary supplies; you can purchase them in person or online
  • Order honey bees; we recommend that you go for “nuc colony” which has bees and a queen that has already begun laying eggs

Study all about bees to learn when they arrive, and how to manage them.

bee close up

Learn how bees make honey. Bees typically make nests, fly to flowers to extract nectar, and then bring it back to the hive and comb, where it slowly becomes honey.

bee on top of a flower

Connect with your local beekeeping organizations as they may be valuable in helping  you during your first season.

beehive

Learn how to set up your beehive. As a backyard beekeeper, you need to provide a man-made hive for your bees so you can maintain the colony and easily harvest the honey.

beehive on a frame

Learn about beekeeping tasks, including what is involved in taking care of your bees.

beekeeping

Get the necessary supplies. You can purchase them in person or online  .

check necessary supplies

Order honey bees. We recommend that you go for “nuc colony” which has bees and a queen that has already begun laying eggs.

bee colony

Can Bees Kill You? 


How Bee Sting Allergies Work                 

bee on hand

Can bees kill you? Well, when a honey bee stings, the stinger is detached from the bee and has a sac of venom. The venom is then injected into the skin and alerts your immune system, which causes an allergic reaction. The allergy is typically classified as either local or systemic. The local allergic reaction causes the area to become red and swollen but is not life-threatening; however, a systemic allergic reaction is. This is because it affects the entire body.

The venom typically has two substances - phospholipase A2 and melatin. Melatin causes pain while phospholipase A2 damages the tissues it comes in contact with. If you receive a high dose of venom, even if you don’t experience an allergic reaction, you are at a high risk of kidney failure as the body tries to eliminate phospholipase A2.

Anaphylaxis poses an immediate threat to those undergoing a severe systemic reaction and is the primary reason why a bee sting can kill you. The anaphylactic reaction typically occurs when the immune system mistakes an allergen for a pathogen which sends the immune system into overdrive. Symptoms include inflammation and rashes, a drop in blood pressure, and an upset stomach. Low blood pressure can cause the inability to breathe, hence a person can lose consciousness and potentially die. So the answer to the question, “Can bees kill you?” is yes, bees can actually kill you.

How To Survive

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Can bees kill you?” you need to know how to survive. To survive an anaphylactic reaction, immediate medical attention is necessary. You need to be injected with an EpiPen, which contains epinephrine (also referred to as adrenaline), as it counteracts the immune system response by opening the airways. A person treated with an EpiPen should still need medical attention.

People who have experienced a severe systemic reaction to bee stings should receive long-term treatment to reduce the likelihood of repeating the experience. This entails exposure to a small amount of bee venom so that it desensitizes the immune system to the bee venom.

What To Do If Bees Attack You

bees on hive
  • Don’t swat at the bees as it will only irritate them further and may get someone nearby stung; swatting hurts the bee which makes it release a scent that signals others to join
  • Don’t jump into a pool as the bees will wait above water to sting you once you resurface
  • Always run away and make it to a shelter as soon as possible, such as a car or a house.
  • After reaching safety, look for stingers and venom sacs that may have been left behind
  • After reaching safety, look for stingers and venom sacs that may have been left behind

Conclusion

Bees are very helpful as they help with pollination. This allows plants to fruit, set seed, and breed and contributes to the health of our ecosystem. Bees play a significant role in protecting our biodiversity and help make honey. The basics of beekeeping include learning as much as you can about the bees and how to manage them. You will also need to connect with your local beekeeping organizations, learn how to set up your beehive, learn about beekeeping tasks, get the necessary supplies, and then order honey bees.

The answer to the question, “Can bees kill you?” is yes. This is because bees cause an anaphylactic shock. However, you only have to be concerned if you have an allergy to bee stings. When a honey bee stings, the stinger is detached from the bee and has a sac of venom. The venom is then injected into the skin and alerts your immune system, which causes an allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis poses an immediate threat to those undergoing a severe systemic reaction and is the primary reason why a bee sting can kill you. We hope this article has adequately addressed how bees help us, the basics of beekeeping, and provided an adequate answer to the question, “Can bees kill you?”

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