Just How Fast Can Bees Fly?

honeybee in flight

If you have ever had a bee chase you, or if you are worried about the possibility of this happening, then you might be wondering how fast can bees fly? You’ll will want to be sure that you can outrun it, after all.

Can You Outrun a Bee?

Bees do not generally chase people, but they might if they are worried that you are a danger to their hive. There are some bees though, such as the Africanized honey bee, that are quite aggressive and will chase people for up to a quarter of a mile!

So, just how fast can bees fly and if one is chasing you, will you have a chance of outrunning it?

If a bee has just left a hive and is heading out to forage, it can reach speeds of up to 20 mph. Once it has collected nectar and pollen, its top speed is more likely to be around 12 mph.

What To Do if a Bee is Chasing You?

If a bee, or a swarm of bees, is chasing you, it can be very scary. Angry bees tend to give people a warning by butting them in the head or face a few times. If you do not move away slowly, and the bees believe you are a threat, they may then attack. The absolute worst thing to do when faced with an angry bee is to try to swat it away or run about screaming with your hands in the air. These jerky movements may be interpreted by the bee as a form of attack and will make it become more defensive.

Back away slowly, but if the bees continue to come at you, then the best thing to do is to turn and run as fast as you can. Run in a straight line and if you have something to cover your head and face with, such as a scarf or even your shirt, then do so. Bees will target the head and face first.

If you are being attacked by one bee, you might assume that you can just kill it and then the danger will pass. Unfortunately, killing a bee will likely make things worse. A dying bee will release what is known as an ‘alarm pheromone’. This pheromone alerts the other bees in the vicinity to danger, and they will gather forces and head out to protect their hive.

You have probably seen cartoons where characters jump into water to avoid being stung by a swarm of bees. This is a bad idea as bees will just hover above the water waiting for you to emerge again. The best thing to do is to seek shelter as soon as possible. Try to get inside, be it a building or a car. Preferably get into a dark space and leave a small crack in the door. Any bees that have managed to get inside will then seek to get back out to the light.

What To Do if You Are Stung?

If you are stung it is important to remove the stinger as soon as possible, by any means. You do not have to wait until you have a hard flat utensil such as a credit card or the back of a knife to scrape the stinger away, contrary to what you might have been told when you were younger. In fact, it is best to pull the stinger out as soon as you can because the longer it is in your skin, the more venom will be released into your body.

For most people, a bee sting is nothing more than a mild irritation. However, if you are allergic to bee stings, you will need emergency treatment. If you have been stung by a number of bees, you should also seek help as soon as possible.


Bees can fly amazingly fast for their size. Those that are laden down with nectar and pollen after foraging can typically reach speeds of up to 12 mph, but bees that are flying out to forage can fly at up to speeds of 20 mph.

Most bees are docile creatures and will only attack if threatened. However, the Africanized honey bee is an aggressive bee and is quick to attack. This species of bee has been known to chase for up to a quarter of a mile.

If you are being chased by a swarm of bees, it is best to run as fast as you can in a straight line and seek shelter as soon as possible. If you are stung a number of times, seek medical help immediately.


Anthony is a content creator by profession but beekeeping is one of his great passions.

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