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Most people generally know bees as insects that provide honey and sting people occasionally.  Although bee attacks are not very rampant in Nigeria, it is still important to know why bees sting and attack people with or without provocation. Normally, bees mind their own business and are not actually interested in harming people until they have been disturbed or threatened. There are also different types of bees. Honeybees are the most common because they produce honey, other examples are bumblebees, solitary bees and stingless bees which do not sting on any occasion. The following are other interesting things to know about bees:


1. They die if they sting you: Female honey worker bees can die if they sting you because they have barbed stings that cause the stinger to get lodged in the skin of mammals and when they try to pull away, it proves fatal to them and they usually die. However, male honey bees can neither sting humans nor predators. Generally, bees do not venture out to sting people if they are not threatened, they carry out their individual duty without disturbing others.

2. They work throughout their lifetime: Each bee has its own job to do; scout bees search for new sources of food, soldier bees work as security guards throughout their lifetime. Regular honeybees which perform multiple jobs in their lifetime usually change their brain chemistry before taking up another job. During cold seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But when the environment is hot, they rarely last longer than six weeks.

3. They improve agriculture: Research has shown that bees contribute a lot to agriculture by helping in pollination of crops and serving a source of income for specialized bee farmers. It is estimated that Americans consume about 285 million pounds of honey each year and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that honeybees pollinate 80 percent of the country’s insect crops, which means that bees pollinate over $20 billion worth of crops each year.

4. Their sting is beneficial: Bee stings usually contain toxins, some of which can be quite harmful to the body system if present in large quantities, however, a certain toxin in bee venom called melittin has is used in medicine  in making certain drugs. Bee stings may also ease pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis and proffers otherbenefits too. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo found that molecules in bee venom increase your body’s level of anti-inflammatory hormone known as glucocorticoid.

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This article was first published on 17th November 2016


Opoola Jelifat is a young and passionate writer. She holds a B.Sc degree in Microbiology and enjoys reading, cooking and writing on real life issues. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Ibadan. Contact her on, and via Twitter and facebook by clicking the icons below.

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