Animals

How Bees Sting

by Marcia Malory

A bee stings in to defend itself or to fight rival bees.

The bee's stinger, which is made of a smooth, hard sheath that contains two hollow darts, is located at the very end of its abdomen.

The sheath and darts are barbed.

Next to each barb is a small hole, which leads to a central duct.

A bag of toxin is connected to the duct.

The stinger is connected to a group of strong muscles.

When a bee stings, the bee forces the sheath into the animal or person that it is stinging.

Once a hole is made in the animal's or person's flesh, the darts move up and down, traveling deeper into the flesh.

At the same time, the bee's muscles force the toxin down the central duct to the darts.

The toxin then enters the wound.

The barbs hold the stinger so tightly that if the victim attempts to brush the bee away, the stinger is torn from the bee's body, along with the bee's inner organs, and the bee dies.

If the bee is left alone however, it can extract the stinger safely.

The stinger of a worker bee is straight, while a queen bee's stinger o is curved

Workers sometimes sting bees from other hives. A queen will only sting a rival queen. A drone does not have a sting.