Why do wasp and bee stings hurt so much? © Getty Images

Why do wasp and bee stings hurt so much?

There's always a sting in the tail.

Asked by: Sophie Elliott, Aberdeen


Wasp and bee venom are quite different chemically, but they both contain peptides (amino acid chains) that have evolved specifically to cause pain in other animals. The social bees and wasps use this to defend their nests; the solitary ones, just to discourage predators from eating them. Honeybee venom contains a peptide called melittin that directly activates the pain receptors in your skin.

Could you neutralise a bee sting with a wasp sting? © iStock


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