Has the common Honey Bee evolved a stinger designed for penetrating human skin so it will cause as much damage possible even if it means death? A honey bee can sting other insects and mammals more than just once, but that is not the case when inserted in the skin of a human it will be the bee's first and last sting. http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/04/differences-bees-wasps-hornets/

The current form of the honey bee's stinger has evolved barbs. These barbs will cause the bee to lose its stinger in human skin giving the stinger more time to eject the apitoxin and apis virus into the nervous system causing extreme pain and for some anaphylaxis a severe allergic reaction.

Question- With the information and references I have provided, is there evidence that the Honey Bee's stinger has evolved specifically to be more effective against humans?

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    $\begingroup$ [citation needed] what is your evidence that a honeybee's stinger is most efficient in penetrating human skin? Also remember that evolution works both ways; human skin may not have great evolutionary pressure to ward off bee stings, whereas something like bear's fur may be under a stronger pressure $\endgroup$ – Luigi Jul 4 '16 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ Bees sting all sorts of animals to defend their hive/territory - birds, dogs, rodents, bears, moose, etc. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Jul 4 '16 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ @MattDMo-can you name a animal allergic to bee stings? $\endgroup$ – user5434678 Jul 4 '16 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ I thought they were really awful at stinging us, no? Their stinger get's lodged in our gooey skin and they rip their guts out trying to escape! I imagine they're more aimed at damaging insects and just so happens that a swarm can even deter larger animals if needs bee. tehe! $\endgroup$ – James Jul 4 '16 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @user5434678 - a five second google search shows that dogs can be allergic to bee stings. Your premise seems flawed. $\endgroup$ – iayork Jul 5 '16 at 12:16

The answer to the question "has evolution designed the common Honey Bee's stinger solely for stinging man-kind?" is no.

A honey bee's barbed stinger remains in the skin of any mammal afterwards due to its elasticity (skin closes back around the base after penetration) but can be retracted after stinging another insect. It isn't a human-specific thing. Presumably this is because it takes more toxin to dissuade a mammalian predator than an insect given their size. A little dose of toxin is released straight away but in order to deliver a dose large enough to irritate a large predator the venom sac needs to remain attached. The resultant damage kills a sterile worker bee but removes an attacking predator that could do much more damage; it is a strategy that confers a selective advantage.

The reference you cited doesn't appear to say anything about other mammals, just other animals, so this doesn't actually contradict your other source. Insects are animals too!


"Stingers in bees evolved from ovipositors", here is a good reference of how bee stinger have evolved. http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=4021


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