A Guide To Local Bees (And Whether They Sting)

Bees have stingers, and sometimes they use those stingers. And sometimes people who are allergic to bee stings can have pretty serious reactions, which has more or less made bees a scary insect.

But we’re here to tell you bees have a bad rap! Well. Most of them, that is. You probably know already that there’s actually a bee shortage in the world, which is scary. Bees help flowers and crops grow, pollinating 80 percent of what grows all around the world.

So don’t be afraid of bees! Some will probably never ever sting you, and some are a little more easily provoked. Here’s an overview of bees in our region, ranked from gentlest to those most to be avoided.

Squash bee

(Wiki photo)


These sweet little squash pollinators don’t even have stingers, so they won’t sting you. Enjoy them with peace.

Blueberry bee

("Habropoda laboriosa female" by Jerry A. Payne is licensed under CC BY 3.0)

DOES IT STING? Very rarely.

Unless you squash a squash bee, you’re very unlikely to be stung.

Carpenter bee


Carpenter bees look a bit like bumble bees, but they’re more interested in burrowing into your porch than ruining your party. They will sting if you stick your fingers in their nest or otherwise cause trouble, but otherwise they keep to themselves.

Long-horned bee

(Wiki photo)


Long-horned bees look like honey bees but they don’t produce honey. Males don’t have stingers, but females do. If you’re aggressive with them, they could sting you. But they’re likely to leave you alone if you leave them alone.

Honey bee

Honey bee covered in pollen

DOES IT STING? Not often.

Honeybees are very common, and you might recognize them by the way they slowly and driftily fly around. They’re not very scared of us, but if they do get scared or if they’re mistreated, they will sting you. (And die.)


DOES IT STING? Not often.

According to UGA entomologist Dan Suiter, bumble bees can be just as aggressive as wasps and other bees if you get too close to their nest. “Social bees and wasps are always more aggressive and will sting when we get close because they are protecting the queen,” he says. So don’t mess with the nest!

Cuckoo bee

("Cuckoo Bee" by Giles Gonthier is licensed by CC BY 2.0)

DOES IT STING? Sometimes.

These bees are a little more ornery and may sting you if provoked. But the other danger is they look a bit like wasps (which are way more likely to sting). So it’s best to keep your distance.

Many bees here in Georgia or North Florida are docile and won’t hurt you. The stingers to look out for are hornets, wasps, and provoked yellow jackets and bumble bees. Wondering if you’ve got a stinging pest problem? Dixon Pest Services can help.