Question: Do all bees sting?

Answered by Jess Mullins, a PhD student at the University of California San Diego 

Why do bees sting?

  • Bees sting when they feel threatened or when their nest is threatened.
  • Only female bees can sting you because the stinger is also the body part that lays eggs, something only female bees can do.

Do all species of bees sting?

The females of most species of bees can sting you, but only if you bother them! There are some species of bees called “stingless bees” that live in the tropics of Central and South America – instead of stinging, they bite!

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Bee resources

Virtual bee exhibit from Museum of the Earth: Bees: diversity, evolution, conservation

Excellent resource on bee biology from Museum of the Earth : Bee-Ology

Macro photographs from the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab:

Megachile otomita, f, side, costa rica_PMax UDR 01 copy

Comprehensive resource on honey bees from ASU Ask a Biologist: Bee Bonanza

Bee activity book about bees of Oregon and how they help make food, from, OSU, and other partners

Graphics: designed by Megan Strauss via

Editors: Megan Strauss, David Brown for Mongabay Kids

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