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Honey bee myth: bees don’t sting at night

A worker honey bee can sting whenever she wants—including the wee hours of night. Nevertheless, the rumor that bees can’t sting at night persists, and I hear it frequently.

It is probably true that not many people get stung at night. But the reason is simple: bees are home at night and so are you. The chance of a human/bee interaction is small when all parties are home watching television and drinking beer.

If you decide to bother your bees at night, they will not hesitate to defend their hive. However, in areas with cool evening temperatures, the honey bees will often stay in their cluster and not fly out at you. But it is the temperature—not the darkness—that is keeping them docile and you sting-free.

Queens, too, sting in the dark. An established queen will often sting a developing virgin queen before she can hatch—or just after. All this stinging and fighting takes place in the deep dark recesses of the hive with no candles, light bulbs, flashlights, or LEDs—not even any bioluminescence.

So there you have it. Although you might like it to be otherwise, the business end of a female honey bee is never compromised by the cover of darkness.

Rusty
Honey Bee Suite

Comments

jess
Reply

I’ve been stung at night often enough that I can’t imagine ever believing this myth.

Tony
Reply

Yes, but they can’t see well at night.

John
Reply

I was sitting in living room. I sat nite Sunday morning noticed a shadow. In closer inspection I noticed it was a queen bee. I caught her set her free. Is there any chance she’ll return?

Rusty
Reply

Not likely. The bee was probably lost.

Swa..
Reply

At specific time every night a honey bee comes in my room …..even all window door r shut….is that normal sign that bee at night wander in mah room.

Rusty
Reply

Are you sure it’s a honey bee?

Diane
Reply

One morning I found about 8 dead bees on my patio, it was a couple days later and we were still finding dead bees outside the house. Since that time I have had a single bee in my house after dark on 3 separate occasions. I’m concerned, my husband is in the process of getting bee shots for his allergy to bee stings. I wonder how they are getting into our house when all the doors and windows are closed and have been closed, it’s just all of a sudden a bee is flying around the lights in the kitchen. I have never had this happen to us before, could there be a hive in the fireplace, I don’t see or hear any sign that this could be true. Can someone out there help me to understand all this. Could there be a logical explanation?

Rusty
Reply

Diane,

Sometimes native bees nest in the window frames and get in that way. I have vinyl-framed windows which you would think could keep out the bees, but they come in anyway. Dozens come in for a few weeks in the spring, and then it stops.

Diane
Reply

Thank you Rusty!

Gabriela Amsler
Reply

Hello,

I have a smaller hive in my window store box on the 1st floor for the 2nd year. They are sometimes dead bees
in front of the window and now there is a plenty of pollen balls. I have bought a little box built special for bees
with wax frames and I would like to transfer them to this box. I thought I would do it when dark outside.
Do you know if it is possible? Does anyone know the answer? Thank you.

Rusty
Reply

Gabriela,

You could do it in the dark, I think, but I don’t see why.

Steve
Reply

Gabriela Amsler,

The only advantage to moving bees at night is they are all home. The biggest disadvantage to moving bees at night is THEY ARE ALL HOME!!!!

It is FAR better to cut the hive out in the morning after they have begun to forage. Place as much of the comb in frames using rubber bands. Find the queen and catch her so she can’t get out of her new hive. Leave the new hive very close to the old location at least over night. A full day after you cut it out is even better. The foragers will find the new hive because they can smell their queen. The will rob the old location and bring it into the hive with the queen. They will spend the day cleaning up the mess and will almost all move into the hive with the queen for overnight. You can use a BeeVac to catch any who huddle in the old location the second night.

You should close the hive door with a breathable mesh of some kind (do not plug it completely as the bees have to breathe) then move it at least 3 miles away. More than 5 miles would be better.

They will recognize that they have been moved when they start leaving the hive the next morning.

Steve
Reply

I cut a hive out last night. Trust me, they can sting in the dark.

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