Honey Bees usually die when they sting humans. But there is a shocking discovery contradicting this belief. While on a visit to a temple in his native Rajasthan village, Devendra Jani saw a huge Beehive of Florea bee species. These bees are small and known as Dwarf Bees. Usually, Apis florea makes a little hive inside bushes. But this one was exceptionally huge. Devendra went close to examine what’s happening in the hive. It looked like too many Drones (Males Bees) at the Honey stock of the hive. This was an unseen episode unveiling in front of his eyes. So, he went too close to film it on his mobile. The alert soldier bees from the hive saw him as predator and Stung him to get him off. With his experience and love for bees, he knew that when Bee stings we should not panic, else a swift movement will invite other Bees too. He slowly moved away and continued to film them sting. It’s only Female worker bees who take the security / soldier duty and only sting for safety of the hive. For the first time in India, it was filmed that Bees can safely escape after stinging humans. The instagram video is reaching hundreds of viewers.
Usually, when a honeybee stings, it dies a gruesome death. The bee’s stinger is structured in such a way that once it punctures human elastic skin, the bee cannot pull it out without self-amputating. It’s like a spiral screw which gets stuck. When the honeybee tries to pull out the stinger in full force, it ruptures its lower abdomen, leaving the stinger along with digestive material, glands and a venom sack. But all this was not happening when Bees stung him. Bees have an innate understanding that stinging can cause their death. So stinging is the last thing they want to do. Since Devendra was calm, the bees tried to go round and round, helping unscrew their sting from his skin within 30 seconds. “This shows that Bees are not aggressive. Bees only sting when they feel threatened. Unlike Whaps, who can sting anytime and multiple times.”
Devendra Jani is a Pune based IT employee and founder of Bee The Lead initiative. He is a proud Bee Parent taking care of Trigona Bee colony at home. He is changing human behavior towards native Bees, converting Bee fearing citizens to Bee loving, Training farmers on Bee-centric farming and inspiring youths to envision sustainable urban habitat.
Devendra is a Climate Reality Leader running projects called ‘Plant-a-Bag’ and ‘Tree Friend’ for the underserved students at his village school. He provides them with bee-friendly sapplings to be taken care of for a period of six months. If the sapling survives, then the student will get a school bag as a gift.
“As a successful pilot, ten students of Dodua village school got school bags for nurturing the Bee friendly sapling. Next, we want all 300 students of the school to get bags in return for their care for trees. This will motivate the school children to continue schooling and believe that they have potential to create a fruit forest for Bees and themselves.”, he shares.
It is alarming that the Bee population is decreasing at a rate, which will have devastating effects on the Honey industry, farm yield, agriculture-based economy, and risks global food security. Such lifesaving discoveries about Bees will go a long way in Bee conservation movement.