Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bee Stings

Different animals and habitats call for different and specialized defense mechanisms. Some animals bite, others scratch, some use poisons, and others sting. Honeybees sting and have specialized their stinging method to target mammals. Bees, ants, wasps, and sawflies are all part of the order of Hymenoptera. Honeybees are the only insect in the order to have a barbed stinger. The original use of the stinger was for "bee to bee combat". Over time the bees evolved so that barbs grew on the stingers and would be stuck into a mammal or bird's flesh. Honeybees will only sting if they fell their hive is being threatened. After stinging their victim the stinger may detach from the bee's abdomen; this leads to the bee's death within minutes. When stung by a bee the victim is injected with apitoxin. This honeybee venom acts as an anticoagulant and causes inflammation at the site of the sting. When a bee stings, it releases pheremones which are picked up by other bees in the hive and this may lead to numerous other bees joining in on attacking the "predator". No matter how large or small, all organisms have a specialized defense mechanism.

Bee Sting <-- link to original article

i thought it was interesting to compare the bee "attack" to mobbing. i would say it is a form, i too thought it was interesting that pheromones were released that "called" the other bees to attack as well.... who knew bees were so complex!?

thank you for the awesome comments!!!

Posted by Jennifer McGrath (7)


At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Chris Kennedy said...

The Bee's stinging mechanism is a really interesting thing. It is interesting that when stung there are pheromones that are released so that all the other bees of the hive will go after what got stung. I enjoyed the article.

Posted by Chris Kennedy

At 7:49 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Do you have any links or sources for this blog? I have heard about bees sensing the pheromone and swarming on a victim, but I thought that was only in the African "killer bees".

Posted by Doug Zelisko (7)

At 7:53 PM, Blogger PWH said...

I think this article is really stimulating. Since the bees die within minutes, and the stinger has evolved to have barbs and detach, it would be interesting to look at the trade off more closely. Since pheremones are released and other bees join in the attack, could this be considered a mobbing behavior?

Posted by: Katie Ensor

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the stinger first evolved as a weapon for bee-on-bee combat, I never knew that. I also didn't know that honeybees were the only ones with barbs. I too thought that it was only the "killer bees" that had the pheromone that attracts others from the colony to a predator, I will have to research that a little further. Good work.

Posted By: Ben Tummino (7)

At 12:05 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Very interesting article. I never knew exactly what venom was released after being stung and now I know. I'd like to read more about this. Are there any links to where you got this information?

posted by Kayla Carrero.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This a very interesting and informative article, I learned a lot from reading it. It would be better if I can look in to the original article.

Posted by Kyle Chiang (7)

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this article is very interesting. I think it is really weird how a bee will die in order to save its hive. It is a very loyal characteristic. It would make sense for the bee to just fly away, instead of sting the predator and die. I think it is also really cool that when the stinger is detatched it released the pheromones that alert the other bees. Very interesting!

Posted By Katie Berthiaume


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