Why do bees die when they sting you?

Honeybees sting when they perceive a threat to their hive – but they pay a high price for this act of self-defence. That’s because a honeybee’s stinger is composed of two spiked hooks. When it stings, these hooks pierce the unlucky victim’s skin. But the bee is unable to pull its stinger back out: part of its digestive tract, muscles and abdomen are ripped from its body as it attempts to fly away. It’s an injury that no bee can survive – fatal abdominal rupture. Honeybees are the only species of bee or wasp to suffer this grisly fate: they sacrifice themselves to save their hive.

Quick fact

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