Do All Species of Bees Sting?

There are about 20,000 species of bees worldwide, and 4,000 of them are in the United States. They come in many different colors and sizes and are known to pollinate about 75 percent of the crops grown in the United States.

Bees are an essential part of our ecosystems. However, many people fear them because of their stingers. Something that may not be common knowledge, though, is that not all bee species sting. Here are some of the most common bee species in Tennessee and whether or not they sting.

Carpenter Bee

The carpenter bee is a common species found in Middle Tennessee. It is fairly large, as its length can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches.

The females can be identified by their black, shiny abdomens. Male bees are orange and black. They are solitary insects and are often mistaken for bumblebees.

While the female coounterparts are capable of stinging, they rarely do. On the other hand, their male counterparts are unable to sting. But they are highly aggressive and will fly around your head if you are in close proximity to their nest.


Bumblebees have fuzzy abdomens with black and yellow stripes. They are large and can range from 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches in size.

Bumblebees are extremely social and live in large families. Only the female bees have a stinger and are capable of stinging more than once. The bee’s stinger does not have barbs, so it can pull back and sting several times.

Bumblebees will usually avoid human contact. They are focused on collecting pollen and protecting their nests. Nonetheless, they will sting if they are under duress or feel the need to protect their nest.

Honey Bee

The honeybee is arguably the most well-known bee to humans. They are about 1/2 inch and are a golden yellow color with brown bands.

Honey bees are extremely social insects. They live in large hives consisting of worker bees, drones and the queen bee. The queen bee and worker bees are all female and have stingers. While the queen has a smooth stinger, worker bees’ stingers are barbed.

These bees will sting when they are defending their hive or itself from a perceived threat. Due to a worker bee’s barbed stinger, the stinger and venom sack will be left attached to whatever it stings which causes its death when it pulls away.

Mason Bee

Mason bees are fairly common throughout the United States. They are smaller than a honeybee and can be identified by their blue-black or metallic blue color.

Mason bees are solitary bees that get their name from their nest-building habit of sealing off egg-filled cells with mud.

Male mason bees do not have stingers while female bees do. Although females are capable of stinging, they do not do so unless they are being squeezed or trapped. Due to the low threat of stinging, they make great, friendly pollinators to have in your garden.


There are a vast amount of bee species around the world. While they share many similarities, they can also be quite different. To find out more information about bees and other pests you might come across in Tennessee, contact Dayton’s Pest Control today.