Our world is filled with lots of different fascinating creatures and if you’re a quite curious observer like me, I’m sure you’ve also been wondering, do bees sting birds? Well, we all know that birds are free to just fly around, sit on roofs, perch on plants, and roam from one area to another. And at the same time, birds are also classified as omnivores. This means that they tend to prey on smaller animals and insects such as worms, fruits, and sometimes, even bees.
But hey, we all know that bees are equally fast and quick creatures, right? So it’s just correct to assume that birds usually have a much harder time preying on bees successfully. However, what exactly happens when birds decide to prey on bees? Do they get stung?
A bird is only usually stung by a bee when it decides to come close and threaten the nest. A single sting may not have a significant effect because of the thickness of a bird’s plumage. However, multiple stings from a swarm of bees all at the same time can be extremely fatal and sometimes deadly.
Why do bees tend to sting other creatures?
Contrary to popular belief, bees are not aggressive creatures. Their fatal sting is just a natural defense mechanism in order to protect their nests and themselves from predators. If a swarm of bees is threatened or provoked by a predator, that’s the only instance they decide to sting in order to stay alive.
On the other hand, if a single bee is threatened by a predator, chances are it will only try to fly quickly and escape. So yes, bees do sting birds! But only if they are threatened and currently in a swarm. Hence, lone bees are much more vulnerable and are usually the ones being preyed on by birds.
What are the birds that eat bees?
Bees are high sources of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that’s why a lot of animals like lizards, frogs, and birds choose bees as their staple food. Some of the bird species that usually prey on bees are woodpeckers, mockingbirds, kingbirds, swifts, thrushes, martins, and many more.
These are the so-called “bee-eaters” because they have the unique abilities to chase and grab bees when they are mid-air or vulnerable on the ground. They especially like to feast on the larvae of bees that are much easier to capture.
However, it’s highly unlikely that birds will go on an all-out chase while in mid-air just to catch a bee. Aside from the quick nature of bees to fly around, these predators also have to dodge their stings!
How about chickens? Do they get stung by bees?
Unlike most species of birds, chickens are less agile and unable to intrude on the hives and nests of bees. So it’s highly unlikely that a swarm of bees gets bothered by a hungry chicken because they are more domesticated and usually feed on other insects that are easier to capture.
The only instance that bees stumble upon chickens is when they swarm on chicken feed. Why? Well, bees are protein hungry, it’s what they need especially when the queen is in the season of laying eggs again. And guess what? Chicken feeds are very high in protein.
When a bee buzzes around chicken feed, especially when a backyard chicken is just nearby, chances are it will only be gobbled up. Remember, bees are much easier to capture when they are on the ground or stationary.
Well, will the bee sting the chicken? Of course. But the effect will only be minimal because chickens, like most birds, have thick plumages or feathers. A single sting wouldn’t affect them that much especially if it’s only a common species of bees like honey bees or carpenter bees. It’s actually a tasty snack for them!
Can birds die because of a bee sting?
We’ve mentioned earlier that because birds have thick plumages, their feathers protect them from the lethal effects of a single bee sting. However, the scenario drastically changes when a swarm of bees or wasps causes multiple stings on a single bird all at the same time.
Now, this can be extremely lethal, especially if the stingers are adult wasps or bees. Their stings are the most powerful and deadly of all. This only happens when a bird decides to invade the nest of bees and wasps. Due to the natural instinct of bees, they become highly aggressive when a predator goes near their hives and threatens them.
In a swarm of bees, there are what we call worker bees. These are the type of bees that don’t reproduce because their main responsibility is to protect the reproductive bees. When a predator threatens the safety of the nest, the worker bees are the ones that fight back. There are also cases when a worker bee isn’t able to pull back its sting after it attacks a creature, and when that happens, it dies off.
This is exactly the reason why only a handful of species of birds have the ability to prey on and hunt bees altogether. They are equally dangerous creatures and are ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the group.
Are humans in danger because of bee stings?
I’m sure that you’ve also heard of the news about people’s deaths due to bee stings, right? Yes, there are several cases of bee stings around the world but the mortality isn’t that high when we’re only talking about a single bee sting because it will usually only cause an allergic reaction which can be treated easily
However, the scenario changes when we’re talking about multiple stings! It is estimated that around 60 people die each year due to bee stings. And there was also a case where a man died after being stung 1,000 times by a swarm of bees.
Bees indeed sting birds! But only due to their natural protective behavior of keeping their group safe from possible harm. When a swarm of bees is threatened and aggravated by a predator bird, they tend to become extremely aggressive and there are cases when multiple stings of bees become lethal and deadly to any other creature.