You must have seen people getting away from the way of bees. Ever wondered why do they do this? While people whoosh away to defend themselves from the bees, bees, too, sting as an act of self protection. This is because many of the bees, especially the female ones, are infamous for stinging upon contact and in turn, end up causing severe pain and swelling. In effect, bees are not violent creatures and sting only in self-defence i.e. only when they perceive a threat to their hive, or when someone mishandles roughly or steps on them. Most of you must have heard of the fact that a bee dies after it stings you, but do you know why does this happen. If your answer is no, then just read further and know why bees die after stinging a person.
Why Bees Die After Stinging A Person
The answer for the question lies in the structure of a bee’s body. The stinger, at the end of the body, of a bee comprises of two shafts, which are lined with barbs like fishhooks. When a bee stings you, it presses the stinger inside your skin, but is not able to pull it back, mainly because of the barbs, which are trapped by the elastic layers of your skin. Being very weak, the bee has to leave the stinger inside the skin. When this happens, even a part of its digestive tract, muscles and nerves gets left behind. This leads to a massive abdominal rupture in the body of a bee, ultimately resulting in its death. A bee uses 22 different muscles to complete the process of stinging. This process of stinging and dying is known as autotomizing. Interestingly, only certain honey bees are vulnerable to stinging, which do not include honey wasps, yellowjackets, hornets, and honey nut cheerios bees. What is more attention-grabbing, or rather surprising, to know about bees is that if they sting an animal or insect that has a skin thinner than that of a human, it can pull its stinger back and fly off without dying later on. Also unlike worker bees, queen bees have the tendency to attack multiple times, due to their smooth stingers.
After a Bee Stings You
After a bee stings you and you smack it away, it leaves behind the stinger in your skin. The cluster of nerve cells that accompany the stinger coordinate the latter’s muscles. As such, even after the bee has pulled itself from your skin, the barbed shafts continue rubbing back and forth, gradually digging deeper into the skin. Several minutes after the bee has gone, the muscular valves keep on injecting toxins from an attached venom sac through the stylus, the needle-like portion of the sting apparatus, which are then delivered to your wound. This is the reason why the venom continues to irritate you, even after the bee is dead. The stylus lies between a pair of lancets, which are inserted into the skin when the bee stings, thereby pulling the stylus into the flesh. Since the bee dies after its abdomen is ripped apart during the process of stinging, it can sting only once in its lifetime. Therefore, a few seconds’ delay can be very critical for you, since the stinger is still in its process of digging the toxins (venom) deep into the skin.
The bees that are susceptible can sting you and pull themselves out even before you realize and shout “Ouch!” Though removing the stinger from the skin can prevent the toxin from spreading into the body, it is best to avoid getting stung by such venomous insects.