How agressive are bumblebees? How powerful do they sting?

First it was only one. Now there are three of those big, black and yellow things that insist on hovering around the stairway to my apartment. These are more black than yellow, but they are big bees.

At first I would very cautiously wor my way down the stairs, but My new strategy is to move deliberately through them, not stopping at all. Nothing has happened yet. They seem to just go about their business.

I have been stung by honeybees. I know well that yellowjackets and wasps may chase you down to sting you. What about these creatures?:eek:

My experience with them suggests that they are not very aggressive at all. Like you I just walk past them trying to look cool. I’ve never been stung by one so I can’t comment on that.

Used to trek in and out of a large clover field out in Madison, WI a few summers back. Not only impressed with the size of the patch, but the enormous amount of bumblers buzzing about. Never got bothered by them.

OTOH, I did get one caught in my Tevas once. Walking through some tallish grass it was swept up in the space between my toes and the strap. Tried to shake it out :rolleyes: but it was caught and ended up stinging me. Didn’t hurt too bad, but it was my only bee-sting so I don’t know how it compares. I was also at a Dead show at the time, so use your imagination as to why I decided to shake it out and why the pain might’ve been a bit numbed :slight_smile:

Sorry for the IMHOish of this post.


There’s a good chance you’re dealing with carpenter bees rather than bumblebees.


I find them in my bed now & then. They are on a path to their nest & they fly through
the open front door. Im rather allergic to them but when one stung me it was nothing
special, which kinda surprised me as I got up ready to call someone but it just felt like
a pin prick.

I agree with dqa that if the bees are hovering about your stairway, they are almost certainly male carpenter bees rather than bumble bees, and therefore stingless. Look around to see if there are some small holes excavated in the wood of the house near where they are hovering.

Carpenter bees they are. I live in an older, wooden apartment, and did see small holes. Although they may be where nails used to be. Under the stairs there is some greenery and plants. The bees have that big, black, round end on them. Just like in the picture. Cool! Now I know not to worry.

FWIW bumble bees are about the least agressive bee there is. I got stung repeatedly by them as a youth, but as I was attempting to imprison them for study in a cricket cage at the time, you could hardly blame them.