The fear of bees is a common phobia and has its roots in many diverse sources. The more common name for this fear is Apiphobia although Melissophobia is an equally acceptable term. Either term can express the disabling fear of the Apis mellifera Linnaeus (honey bee) or any other type of stinging bee.
There are some who intentionally place themselves in the vicinity of bees. This could be common beekeepers or bee farmers who must work among bees in order to harvest honey. It can also be those who attempt to set records for things like the largest bee beard or number of stings within a certain period of time.
The thought of either of these as a suitable pastime makes little sense to the apiphobe.
My daughter has such a fear of bees that when she was very young she was nearly successful in exiting a moving vehicle when she spotted a bee in the back window.
Why are you afraid of bees?
In order to understand the fear of bees we might need to touch on a separate fear known as Spheksophobi. This phobia is the fear of wasps. It may likely be the fear of wasps and hornets that have contributed to the fear of bees.
While wasps can be aggressive, bees tend only to sting when their hive is threatened or when they are being squashed.
Since almost everyone has either been stung by a wasp or has heard from others who have it becomes natural to fear any insect that is yellow and black and can sting.
The fear is projected generally because the individual is afraid of the actual sting itself. The fear can be magnified when the individual is aware they are allergic to the sting. These issues make it difficult for the Apiphobe to enjoy the outdoors if they perceive bees to be in the vicinity.
Bee Fear Observed
A person who suffers from a fear of bees can be engaged in a meaningful conversation, but be so disturbed by the presence of the bee they cannot concentrate on the conversation and may in fact express an extreme sense of panic or even dread.
Other symptoms include…
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sense of terror
- Short breath
- Incredible need to escape
Overcoming Your Fear of Bees
One of the ways many Apiphobes learn to cope with their fear is understand the unique role bees’ play in the ecology of other things they may love.
Understanding the bee’s role in the manufacture of honey or the pollenization of flowers they may enjoy can help alleviate some of the distaste for bees. It may not remove the fear, but it can be a crucial first step.
When an Apiphobe learns that bees are not aggressive they can learn to grudgingly accept the bee. It may even be possible to learn to resist fleeing from bees or acting on the urge to destroy every bee encountered.
Some individuals have even been helped by following a step-by-step process that allows them to touch a dead bee and ultimately wear protective clothing and visiting a bee farm. This may be a more radical step than you are willing to take, but by taking a few steps in overcoming your fear you may find that it is possible to view the bee in a more positive light.
Even though bees are only insects they can hold a great power over those with fear. Do you avoid going outdoors because you fear bees? Do you believe that all bees should be killed? Have you overcome your fear? Tell us your story.