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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Yellowstone, Montana, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Why don't queens sting??

    I'm a new beekeeper, three years, 15 hives. I'm allergic to bees, have to carry an epi pen everywhere, but I love doing this and I am really carefull.

    I have heard and read that you can handle queens without being stung, but yet I know queens have a stinger. I have read it is not barbed like the workers which allows her to sting without dieing, (killing other queens).

    Can anyone out there give me insight into why when you handle queens you don't get stung? Is it when they are laying they can't sting?

    I actually hand caught one of my queens about two weeks ago and could not do it with gloves, so I took my gloves off and used my hands, didn't get stung, but I was really nervous.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    291

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    Queens very rarely sting because if they always put themselves in danger trying to sting everything that it would put the colony at risk of losing its queen far more often than normal.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Yellowstone, Montana, USA
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    Has anyone ever heard of a beekeeper being stung by a queen??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Limstone county, Alabama
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    Quote Originally Posted by losloboid View Post
    Has anyone ever heard of a beekeeper being stung by a queen??
    Yes. This Spring our association did a group purchase of queens. When I arrived to pick up my queens a couple of the beeks were talking about one of the guys getting stung by a queen while holding her cage.
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work" -- Thomas A. Edison

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,448

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    They can and do sting, though I haven't been stung by one yet. What would be the benefit for the reproductive part of a hive to defend the colony? Seems like putting the whole colony in danger, if queens responded by stinging as easily as workers do.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Clarkson, KY. USA
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    When you mark a lot of queens you will be stung by a queen and repeatedly. The difference is there is no barb on the queens stinger so she can sting you many times without her guts ripping out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Leetonia, Ohio
    Posts
    389

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    Does the venom still enter without the barbs? I wouldn't think it would have enough time. When you get stung by a worker and the stinger gets left behind it keeps pumping venom. So if the stinger doesn't get left behind does the venom , if any, enter your system?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Limstone county, Alabama
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    Lots of stinging insects (wasps, bumblebees, yellowjackets, hornets, etc.) sting and inject a good dose of venom without a barb on their stinger. You might not get as much from a queen as you would from a worker, but I bet a queen could give you enough to get your attention.
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 06-22-2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: UNQ
    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work" -- Thomas A. Edison

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,453

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    stung during artificial insemination, real surprise!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,630

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    >Has anyone ever heard of a beekeeper being stung by a queen??

    Jay Smith sold thousands of queens a year for many decades. He says he only got stung once by a queen:

    "The queen will never sting a human being, while if you think the workers will not, you come with me. As stated, a queen will never sting anything but a rival queen. I might qualify that statement by saying a queen never stings anything but a queen, or what she thinks is a queen. I was stung by a queen once but I insist it was a case of mistaken identity, for she thought I was a queen. It happened thus: I had been requeening some colonies and in removing the old queens I killed them by pinching them between my thumb and finger. I had wiped my thumb and finger on my trouser leg. A virgin queen circled me a few times probably to adjust her bomb sights then made a pin-point landing on the spot where I had wiped my thumb and finger, and planted her sting in my leg. Yes, she thought I was a queen. While greatly appreciating the compliment, I would much prefer she would show her appreciation in a less militant manner. "--Jay Smith, Better Queens

    http://bushfarms.com/beesbetterqueen...%20the%20Queen

    I have seen them go through the motions as if they were going to sting me, but have never been stung by one.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,597

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    stung during artificial insemination, real surprise!
    I bet she was thinking the same thing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington USA
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: Why don't queens sting??

    It is much like swollowing an air mattress and then inflating it...trying to tie ones shoe is a hard trick as are eggs to a laying queen.

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