Honey bee myth: bees don’t sting at night

A worker honey bee can sting anytime she wants—including the wee hours of night. Nevertheless, this rumor 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 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

Comments

jess
Reply

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

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