Honeybees can change their mind and unscrew their stingers

Originally published at: Honeybees can change their mind and unscrew their stingers | Boing Boing


Handy little critters…


That’s cool and all but where’s the instruction manual that allows me to convince the little buggers to do so? My hives have gotten pretty aggressive this year and my current approach of swearing and lightly screaming as they sting me just hasn’t resulted in a lot of this kind of unscrewing.


I think you’ll have to carry on with that. For them, it’s a case of keeping the stinger or not, but you have already been stung!


I think you have to give them that bad-ass look that convinces them that their day could still get a lot worse.


The stinger breaking off makes the stings much, much worse though. It comes with the venom gland, which keeps pumping, plus a little packet of pheromones that say “someone thought it was worth dying to take this monster down”.


Are you considering replacing the queen?


I’ve thought about it but I am truly terrible at finding the queen. Plus I’ve such bad luck keeping any colonies alive through a full year that the idea of culling a queen has me nervous enough I’m not sure I’d be willing to try it even if I could find her. My current colonies are doing well enough they might still be there in the spring. If so, and if they’re still hateful little jerks, I may work up the courage to try it.


To be a bee, or to not be a bee…


I don’t know, but mounting a scratch monkey sounds called for. Sheep rentals? Maybe you can have some scarecrows dance like you do somewhere that they gather pollen, or that guard bees like to dork around farthest from the hive, that you can scoot juuust close enough to the hive to get a defense investigation going that might produce a vacillating bee? I mean, early AM projection sounds easier (if that works at all)…

Ideally you could add a hive dancer that interprets woke behavior. Yo I stung something and then I unstung it and I’m not bleeding guts out! This is -clockwise- and key to the thing. If you open your stinger cavity think of moseying like so! Vivit pacem. Guards wouldn’t get it though?

Dang it, where’s the entire organism nervous map? All I see is junk like Smoke Conditions Affect the Release of the Venom Droplet Accompanying Sting Extension in Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) - PMC How I mine for Batman Villain level bee stuff? Oh, with “Entire neural model of honeybee.”

Hm. Definitely don’t smell like banana when you go check hives. Cooperative defence operates by social modulation of biogenic amine levels in the honey bee brain | Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
One small yeet for a bee, one giant attachment problem for the venom sac sitch…or not so much.


I rescued a bee earlier this year. We found a bumble bee on the foundation, sitting there, and the saw that it had fallen off. So I scooped her up and put her in the sun with some honey ( which she ate, but the wind also blew her into the honey and I used water to clean her off.)

It was early fall, and I figured she got worn out and cold and needed to eat some to get back home.

But I came back later and couldn’t find her. Looked around to make sure she wasn’t just in the grass (found a tiny garter snake in the crack of the bricks by the flower bed). She was in the grass. So I decide to make some sugar water this time and put her in a and old Cool Whip tub with some grass and leaves and took her inside. Hoping to release her in the morning. But in an hour or so she was now buzzing around in the dish and we still had a few hours of light, so i took her outside and she flew away. Looks like she just needed to warm up and maybe get some energy via honey or and sugar water.


Wasps have similar capabilities; but it’s considered academic because no wasp has ever repented of stinging something.


I mean, you’re clearly correct about needing a hive dancer translating for me.



Oh, I’m trying and failing to solve the problem of bees stinging their keeper (and -not- doing the undo dance.)


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