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Do Bees Attack & Sting at Night?

Some people are under the false belief that bees don’t sting at night. This is, as just stated, incorrect.

If bees are threatened, or they in any way need to protect themselves or the hive, they will attack and sting you.

Now, there are some things you can do to protect yourself – and there are some reasons why bees don’t sting as much at night.

These are some of the things we’re going to discuss in this article.

Do Bees Sting at Night?

Yes, bees sting at night. If bees are threatened, they will sting no matter the time of day.

Even though most bees sleep during the night, they will still be alert of any threats. Many bees sleep near the entrance of the hive, to make sure they can get out quickly if anything happens.

The myth of bees not stinging at night is very much incorrect.

The fact is, people, get stung less during the night, because bees are asleep at this time, making stinging less frequent, but not impossible.

Bees not only sting, but also bite.

bee stinger

What to Do if You’re Stung by a Bee

What do you do if a bee stings you? 

First of all, stay calm. There’s no need to panic.

While it hurts to get stung by a bee, the pain will go away, and unless you’re highly allergic, nothing serious will happen to you (in most cases – if the pain continues for an extended period of time, you may want to seek medical help). [1]

However, there’s no reason not to do anything. 

You can do several things, when stung by a bee, for pain relief:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Use an ice pack or a cold compress on the area that was stung for 15 minutes. The coldness will reduce the swelling that is associated with bee stings.
  3. Wash the stung area with soap and water again. This will clean out any poison that may be left behind by the bee sting, which should ease the pain.
  4. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.
  5. Do not pop the blister that is associated with a bee sting.
  6. If you do not feel better after 3 days, see a doctor.

If the sting is near your eyes or on your face, you should seek medical attention, because the swelling could interfere with sensitive areas (such as your eyes).

ant bite

Do Bees Attack at Night?

Most bees are diurnal, meaning they sleep at night. This results in a tendency to avoid attacking at night – but they won’t hesitate if they need to.

If a bee feels threatened and believes it is in danger of being attacked by predators (such as bats), bees will defend themselves and will sting if necessary. 

Some bees are nocturnal as well, meaning they’ll be up at night, making bee attacks and stings more frequent with these species.

bee flying at night

What to Do if You Have to Work With Bees at Night?

If you’re working with bees at night, there are some safety protocols you want to follow:

  • Avoid wearing strong scents
  • Use a smoker
  • Use a red headlamp
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Wear tight fitted clothes (tight openings)
  • Take breaks

Related: How beekeepers avoid getting stung

Avoid wearing strong scents

One of the most important things to do if you have to work with bees at night is to make sure that you don’t approach them wearing any strong scents. 

If possible, avoid perfumes or colognes, avoid smoking cigars or cigarettes, and do not use lotions or deodorant.

The chemicals in these different items may trigger a defensive response in the bees.

smoking cigar

Use a smoker

A smoker is usually used by beekeepers to make sure the bees are relaxed and won’t turn aggressive when they’re handling their hive.

You may want to do the same thing, even when the bees are already asleep at night.

beekeeper wearing gloves and using a smoker on an open beehive to calm honeybees. Collecting honey.

Use a red headlamp

Bees respond to blue and violet light, while they can’t see red colors. At the same time, blue light can send signals to the bees’ brains that it’s time to wake up, as blue light emulates the rays from the sun.

If you use a red headlamp, you won’t have this issue, as red light won’t send the same signals to the bees.

red headlamp

Wear protective clothing

It’s always a good idea to wear protective clothing if you have to work with bees at night. For instance, wear a hat and veil that covers your face and neck, along with gloves and long sleeves.

You also want something that covers your legs all the way down to your boots. 

beekeeper working on beehive

Wear tight clothing (tight openings)

Make sure your clothing isn’t too loose – if it is, there may be room for bees to get inside of it and sting you. 

Tight clothes, or at least tight around the openings,  will help ensure that they cannot crawl under the veil and sting you in the face or neck.

The clothes should also fit snugly around your ankles. If bees get inside your pants, you’re going to have a bad time. 

It is important to cover the entire part of your body that is exposed to avoid getting stung. The best-case scenario is if you have access to a bee suit instead of normal clothes.

Take breaks

If you are working with bees at night for a long period of time, make sure that you take breaks now and then. It can be tiring for both you and the bees if you’re working for an extended period.

What Happens to Bees at Night?

Most bees sleep at night. This is because they’re diurnal, meaning, they do their main activities during the day. A few species of bees are crepuscular or nocturnal, meaning they’re active during dusk and dawn or at night.

Not all bees sleep though. Some of them simply stay motionless, in order to reserve their energy for the daytime.

If it’s cold, the bees will even cluster up to keep each other warm. Most importantly, this keeps the queen warm.

Bees have an internal clock that responds to time (circadian clock). They use this natural mechanism, as well as temperature, to estimate when the time sets and rises. [2]

Also read: Do bees come out at night?

bee drinking water

Do Bees Sleep at Night?

Yes, bees sleep about 5-8 hours every day, mostly during the night.

Nighttime is when hives are usually at their quietest, and bees spend most of the dark hours resting. If a bee is on duty (for example: defending against invaders or feeding hungry baby bees), then they will stay awake as long as needed. 

They most likely will still stay still, completely motionless, to reserve energy.

What Happens if Bees Don’t Sleep?

Bees live in complex social structures and rely on each other for survival. When it’s time to rest, some bees stay awake so they can continue patrolling their hive for threats while others go to sleep. 

This keeps everyone safe. 

If no one is awake, the bees can’t reproduce, and plant life eventually dies out which means there would be no food for the whole bee population.

Additionally, if bees don’t sleep they become very aggressive. Their anger results from sleep deprivation; when you deprive someone of even a few days’ worths of sleep they become agitated and angry.

bee curving mandibles on flight

Are There Nocturnal Bee Species?

With so many different varieties, bees have evolved to fill an array of ecological niches. Although they are often diurnal, some bee species are nocturnal or active at night.

Many different species of bees are active during the night, one of them being the Megalopta.

Beewolves or beelike solitary wasps can also be nocturnal, as they search for their prey during the night before returning to their nests and feeding them to young larvae. 

Female beewolves will build a nest and stock it with hairy caterpillars, which remain alive throughout the winter months.

Some bumblebees also need to collect nectar and pollen from flowers at night to feed their young. Bumblebees don’t produce honey like bees such as honeybees or carpenter bees. The bumblebee nest will only last a year, whereas the other bee species may live for several years in their nests.

bee flying alone at night in a flower

What Do Nocturnal Bees Do at Night?

Diurnal bees live during the day and sleep at night. Nocturnal bees sleep during the day and wake at night to feed and socialize. Nocturnal bees also endeavor to find food all night long. 

The nocturnal bee species do all of the things diurnal bees do – they just do it at night.

This includes foraging, building nests, collecting pollen, and other bee activities. These bees will collect nectar and pollen from flowers that open up at night.

bee at night flying alone

What Do Diurnal Bees Do at Night?

Diurnal bees are typically more active during daylight hours and go into a resting state at night. They restore some energy, while they hide from predators until the morning, where they’ll have regained their strength, ready to do their tasks once again.

Conclusion

Bees sting when they feel threatened, no matter the time of day.  While bees usually sleep at night, they will attack when threatened. That’s why it’s essential to take the necessary precautions when handling bees.

These safety measures include: using a smoker, wearing protective gear, and using a red headlamp.

Related: Do all bees sting?

Some bees are nocturnal, which means they’re active at night.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.