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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Stockton, CA

    Default Stinging Question

    My wife was watering her cherry tree a few feet from one of my hives yesterday. A bee landed on her arm and she said it was vibrating its tail. She said that she thought it was planning on stinging her, so she brushed it off. It came back, she brushed it off, and then the third time did sting her. this happened within 3 seconds. the question is... before she brushed the bee off, did the vibrating rear end really mean the bee intended to sting her? Of course, she knows that brushing and swatting is just asking for it. Do they telegraph intent to sting by vibrating? Also (she is reading over my shoulder) can they sense if she is in a bad mood and react to that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Evansville, IN

    Default Re: Stinging Question

    Typically when a bee lands on me it's either weary and needs a bit of rest to get to the hive or is looking for salt -- every summer I get one or two who won't leave me alone until they get a full belly of sweat off my arm. Usually they fly in front of me and zig-zag back and forth until I relent and let them land.

    Ones that want to sting always bash off my face a couple times and then head for my ears, without fail. Never been stung by a bee that I didn't squish or was headbanging first, but that's just my experience.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: Stinging Question

    Quote Originally Posted by tristan36 View Post
    ... did the vibrating rear end really mean the bee intended to sting her?

    Perhaps the bee was simply "breathing" hard. More here:
    Q: Do bees breathe oxygen like humans and other animals?

    A: Yes, bees do breathe oxygen and expel carbon dioxide; however, they do not have lungs for respiration. "Rather they have a system of tubes which carry oxygen to and carbon dioxide away from cells. This system of breathing tubes, or tracheae, is connected to the outside world by a series of holes ... called spiracles. When the bee is inactive gas exchange can operate simply by diffusion, but during periods of increased activity bees pump their abdomens to increase gas exchange, using expanded sacs of the trachea as bellows." (
    Biology of the honey bee, by Mark L. Winston. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1987, p. 34.)

    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 06-04-2013 at 05:22 AM. Reason: fix formatting
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Knox, Pa. USA

    Default Re: Stinging Question

    Another thing to consider is that woman like perfume. soaps, lotions, washes and out right perfume. so they often smell flowery to bees the girl may simply been investigating her for foraging. it took me years to get my wife not to use her sweet smelling soap and such when working with bees or hunting. Her success has increased in both areas.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA

    Default Re: Stinging Question

    Brushing them off doesn't make them happy... I agree it was probably just resting while breathing hard. Originally, anyway...
    Michael Bush "Everything works if you let it." 42y 40h 39yTF


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