Will a Bee Sting You if You Stand Still?

by Derrick | Last Updated: June 7, 2022

Although tiny, bees won’t hesitate to defend themselves (or their hives) if threatened. However, it isn’t uncommon for bees to sting people despite not being attacked or threatened. So, will a bee sting you if you stand still? 

Bee won’t likely sting you if you stand still, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avoid it. Don’t make rapid movements or run away for safety when bees are close to you. Bees often misjudge human movement as a form of attack and will sting in self-defense. Stay calm and walk slowly away from them.

If you’re still reading, then you probably want to know a thing or two about bee stings and how to avoid them. In this article, I’ll highlight some ways to stay safe when in the presence of bees. Let’s get started. 

Why Do Bees Sting?

Bees won’t sting unless they have a reason to do so.

Bees sting as a form of self-defense. However, most of us tend to swat at bees to get them to fly away due to the fear of stings. Doing so isn’t recommended as it’s a sure recipe for an ice-cold sting. 

It’s best to stand still and give the bee enough time to fly away to avoid coming off as a potential threat. Or, stay calm and walk away from the bees as far as you can. Don’t run or do anything that can provoke the bees.

Bees Are Attracted to You for Different Reasons

It’s common for bees to crash outdoor picnics or forcefully escort you as you hit the trails. In this section, I’ll take a closer look at some of the reasons a bee might be compelled to fly close to you. 

You Have a Sweet Flower-Like Scent

It’s no secret that bees are suckers for scent (pun intended). Due to their love for nectar, bees will fly close to anything with a sweet flower-like scent. That means you’re likely to attract some bees if you wear perfume and go outside during the day. 

One of the best ways to keep bees at bay is stepping outside without applying perfumes or any scented products. This is especially important if you plan to go for hikes or picnics. 

You’re Wearing Colorful Outfits

Bees are trichromatic, meaning they have 3 photoreceptors behind their eyes, similar to humans. These tiny insects are sensitive to blue, ultra-violet, and green colors, explaining why you’re likely to be mistaken for a flower if you wear bright colors that appeal to them.

Avoid wearing clothes with bright or dark colors as a rule of thumb. While bright colors might attract bees, darker colors make them relatively hostile as they instinctively view dark items as threats. 

It’s also worth noting that bees view red as black, so you might want to avoid red outfits when heading out in areas where bees are common. 

You Might Have Sugar Around

Bees are naturally attracted to sugars, especially since their primary food source is nectar from flowers. It explains why bees are likely to camp at your picnic area if you have extra-sugary fruits like pineapple and sugary drinks. 

How To Deal With a Bee

So what should you do when surrounded by a bee (or bees) that just can’t seem to go away? First, it’s crucial to note that avoiding bee stings is possible; a bee can still sting you despite observing all the safety precautions. 

The good news, however, is that you can reduce the chances of bee stings by observing the following tips:

Never Swat at the Bee

Any form of aggression towards bees can have serious consequences. That means you should avoid waving, slapping, and swatting at a bee either with your hand or an object. The risk gets even bigger when dealing with a swarm of bees. 

If attracted to you due to scent or clothing, a bee won’t nag for long as it’ll soon realize you aren’t a flower and therefore fly elsewhere in pursuit of nectar. However, as soon as you start swatting at a bee, you transition from a point of attraction to a perceived threat—and it rarely ends well! 

Stay Still if a Bee Lands on You

Standing still might be hard for most people but is usually the best course of action. Staying calm and composed means the bee won’t perceive you as a threat and will soon fly away.  

But what if you genuinely can’t stand firm due to a fear of bees? In such a case, then the best approach is to try blowing gently at the bee to encourage it to fly away. Be warned that aggressive blowing might inadvertently lead to a sting, so watch out for that!

When a bee lands on you, remember that these insects don’t attack unless threatened and are attracted to strong scents and bright colors. Therefore, be patient and allow the bee to do some basic investigation and fly away. 

Move Away Slowly When a Bee Is Close to You

If a bee is yet to land on you but looks likely to do so, you can keep it at bay by moving away slowly. The importance of moving away from the bee as slowly as possible can’t be overstated. 

Any rapid movements might negatively impact your escape plan and leave you stung, and you wouldn’t want that. 

Therefore, no matter how hard or complicated it may seem, try moving a slow step at a time until you’re far away from the bee. Note that the bee might follow you around for a few seconds before flying elsewhere once you’re at a safe distance. 

Avoid Bee Hives or Areas With a Swarm of Bees

If your outdoor adventure takes you to an area with a swarm of bees, then it’s best to take an alternative route or wait patiently until the swarm flies away.

It’s crucial to understand that a swarm isn’t as easily evaded as a single bee and can lead to life-threatening injuries in case of an attack.

Will I Need Medical Attention in Case of a Bee Sting?

You won’t need medical attention in case of a bee sting—home treatment will be enough. But if you experience any allergic reaction, multiple stings, or an attack by a swarm, you should seek emergency treatment.

Emergency treatment is especially required if you stop breathing or exhibit other potentially-fatal symptoms. If the situation isn’t serious, you can just remove the stinger before cleaning the affected area with soap and water. 

Wrapping Up

As established throughout the article, avoiding a bee sting is possible if you stand still and allow it to fly away after a couple of seconds. 

Bees rarely go looking for trouble and are thus deemed as naturally harmless insects. However, if threatened, these insects can become a serious threat and cause severe harm, especially if they attack as swarms. 

Therefore, in case a bee attempts to land on you, try moving away slowly, making small steps until the bee flies away.