Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 4:54 EDT


Melissophobia or the fear of bees, from Greek melissa, meaning honey bee and phobos, meaning fear, and sometimes misspelled as melissaphobia and known also as apiphobia, is one of the most common fears among people and is kind of a specific phobia.

The majority of the population have been stung by a bee or had friends or family members stung. A child may fall victim to a bee sting while playing outside. The sting can be rather painful and in some individuals results in swelling which might last for several days, and can also stimulate allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, so the development of the fear of bees is quite natural.

Usually, fear of bees in adults is generally associated with lack of knowledge. The general public isn’t aware that bees attack in defense of their hive, or when accidentally squished and the occasional bee in a field presents no danger. Furthermore, the majority of insect stings within the United States are attributed to yellow jackets, which are often mistaken for a honey bee.

Unreasonable fear of bees in humans might also have a detrimental effect on ecology. Bees are significant pollinators, and when, in their fear, people destroy colonies of bees, they contribute to environmental damage and might also be the cause of the disappearing bees.

The renting of bee colonies for pollination of crops is the key source of income for beekeepers in the US, but as the fears of bees spread, it becomes difficult to find a location for the colonies due to the growing objections of local population.

A widespread fear of bees has been triggered by rumors regarding “killer bees”. Particularly, the Africanized bee is widely feared by the American public, a reaction that has been amplified by sensationalist movies and some of the reports in media. Stings from Africanized bees kill 1 to 2 people per year within the US, a rate that makes them less dangerous then venomous snakes, especially since, unlike venomous snakes, they are found in only a small portion of the country.

This phobia is one of the zoophobias common in young children and might prevent them from participating in any outdoor activities. Older people control the natural fear of bees with ease. However, some adults have difficulty controlling their fear of bees.

A recommended method of overcoming a child’s fear of bees is training to face fears.

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