Who Can Sting?

who can sting

Although they all look a little menacing, only one of the insects above can actually sting. Do you have a guess on which one it is? Read on to find out!


Drone Honeybee

   Honeybee

Even though Honeybees can sting,  this insect is NOT the correct answer. A lot of emphasis is put into the females of this species- the workers and queen bee, but not a lot is usually mentioned of the males. Male Honeybees are called Drones, they are much larger than worker bees, and do not posses a stinger. Without a stinger, they cannot defend themselves or the hive they call home. In fact, drone bees do no work at all in a beehive, their only job is to find and mate with a queen bee from a different hive.


 

flower fly
Flower Fly

Flower Fly (Hoverfly)

Is this a bee or is it a fly? At first glance, this insect may be a little confusing! Flies cannot sting, and this Flower Fly’s main defense is mimicry. By resembling other insects that can sting, this fly may gain some protection and be left alone by predators. There are over 900 species of Flower Fly in North America.  Many of these mimics have yellow and black stripes, which resembles a  bee or wasp.

 

 


robber fly
Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Here is yet another fly that resembles something a little more threatening. This Robber Fly cannot sting, but are well known for their predatory behavior. Also known as the Assassin Fly, they have an unquenchable appetite- feeding on an array of other insects. They are known to prey on dragonflies, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, spiders and even other flies.


Spiny Oak Slug

spiny oak
Spiny Oak Slug

Don’t touch! This is the only insect shown above that can actually sting! The Spiny Oak Slug caterpillar is covered with hollow spines, or hairs, that are connected to venom sacks. When the hairs are touched, they pierce the skin, releasing venom. Reactions can range from mild irritation to swelling, blisters or even a rash. Normally, most caterpillars encountered are harmless.  The Io, Buck Moth, Saddleback, and Stinging Rose are just some, among many others, that also use stinging hairs as defense.

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