The question is a running gag in To Have And Have Not. I gather that having been bitten by a dead bee is bad luck. Is this an actual superstition? Or was it made up?
The movie made it clear what was meant. Lauren Bacall explained that a bee can die and land on the ground, but his stinger remains and can still sting you if you step on it.
The information was presented as truth and I see some sites confirm it’s possible.
Walter Brennan means “stung by a dead bee.” The point was that he was asking about a rare but possible event, but that it confounded most people. Slim understands the question, which shows that she’s a smart woman.
‘Eddie’ liked to ask it of people who seem to have had a run of bad luck, which led to my assumption.