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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!

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