Bee Fear (Melissophobia): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment (2023)

Melissophobia, or apiphobia, is when you have an intense fear of bees. This fear may be overwhelming and cause a great deal of anxiety.

Melissophobia is one of many specific phobias. Specific phobias are a type of anxiety disorder. People with a specific phobia have a deep, irrational fear of an animal, object, or situation.

Specific phobias are common. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 12.5 percent of adults will experience a specific phobia during their lifetime. Read on to learn more about melissophobia, what causes it, and how it’s treated.

Insect-related phobias like melissophobia are a common type of specific phobia. However, it’s still unknown what exactly causes phobias to develop. The following factors are believed to contribute:

(Video) Watch this if you have a fear of bees 🙃

  • Negative experiences. A phobia may be linked to a distressing or unpleasant experience. For example, feeling the pain associated with a bee sting or having a bad reaction to a bee sting could lead to a fear of bees.
  • Learned behavior. You may learn to fear something based off of information you receive from other sources. This could include things like observing a parent’s fear of bees or hearing news stories or warnings about “killer bees.”
  • Individual factors. Everyone processes fear and anxiety in different ways. Some people may naturally have a more anxious temperament than others.

Symptoms of a specific phobia can be both psychological and physical. If you have melissophobia, you may experience psychological symptoms, such as:

  • feeling an immediate intense fear or anxiety when you think about or see bees
  • knowing that the anxiety you’re feeling is unreasonable, but being unable to control it
  • going out of your way to avoid locations or situations that may bring you into contact with bees

Physical symptoms can also occur when you’re exposed to bees. They can include:

  • increased heart rate
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • tightness in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • nausea

Additionally, a child with melissophobia may do the following in response to bees:

  • cry
  • cling or refuse to leave your side
  • freeze up
  • throw a tantrum

How to deal with a fear of bees

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If you find that you have a fear of bees, there are some things you can do to help manage it.

  • Aim to reframe the situation. While there are several very valid reasons to be afraid of them, bees are also very important. As pollinators, they’re vital for our ecosystems — and their numbers are in decline.
  • Be prepared at home. Avoid having bees in your home by doing an inspection during winter for any areas that could potentially house a bee colony. If you find a hive or colony, contact a local beekeeper.
  • Take steps not to attract bees. Bees are more drawn to dark colors, perfumes, and colognes. If you’re going to be in an area where bees are present, avoid wearing these things.
  • Resist the urge to totally avoid bees. Take small steps to feel more comfortable around bees. This could be something like going to a park where bees may be around or a bigger step such as watching beekeepers at work. This is known as exposure therapy.
  • Try to relax. Practice relaxation techniques to help lower your anxiety levels. These can include things like breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
  • Join a support group. Sometimes talking to others that have shared similar experiences can help you to cope. Consider looking into an anxiety support group near you.
  • Stay healthy. Taking care of yourself is important. Try to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, and get enough sleep.
  • Carry your EpiPen. If your fear of bees is due to an allergy, be sure to carry your EpiPen on you at all times.

How to help a child with a fear of bees

In addition to the suggestions above, you can take additional steps to help a child afraid of bees.

  • Be open and receptive. Allow your child to talk about their feelings and fears with you. Let them know that you’re there to listen and help them if they need it.
  • Demonstrate positive behaviors. Children often learn by watching others. If you encounter a bee, try to stay calm and avoid behaviors such as swatting at it or running away.
  • Avoid reinforcement. Try to have a normal routine and don’t go out of your way to avoid bees. Not only does this reinforce the idea that bees may be dangerous, but it also eliminates opportunities for exposure.
  • Give praise. It can be difficult for anyone to face their fears. If your child does this, whether it’s looking at a picture of a bee or being in an area where bees are present, be sure to recognize them for it.

While many people may have a fear of bees and try to avoid them, speak with a doctor if you feel that your fear is causing a significant amount of distress or is negatively impacting your daily life, including your time:

  • at home
  • at work
  • at school
  • socially

Many phobias can be effectively treated with therapy. Additionally, therapy can be more effective when it’s started earlier.

How is a fear of bees diagnosed?

(Video) Melissophobia - Medical Meaning and Pronunciation

There are no lab tests that can diagnose a specific phobia such as melissophobia. A doctor will begin by taking your medical and psychiatric history.

Next, the doctor will interview you about your condition. They’ll ask you for more details about your fears, how long you’ve had them, and the symptoms you’re experiencing.

They may also use diagnostic criteria to help them make a diagnosis. One example is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

The treatment for melissophobia involves therapy provided by a mental health professional. There are several possible treatment options.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

The goal of CBT is to change the way you think and behave regarding the object of your fear. A mental health professional will work closely with you on techniques to help you understand and manage your feelings of anxiety.

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Throughout the therapy process, they’ll reinforce the idea that the cause of your fear — in this case, bees — is generally safe. You may also learn breathing and relaxation exercises to help you cope.

Exposure therapy

True to its name, exposure therapy involves gradual exposure to the object of your fear. The goal is to change your response over time, helping you to better manage your feelings of anxiety. It’s often combined with CBT.

For melissophobia, a mental health professional may begin by just talking about bees or asking you to think about bees. They may then move on to showing you a picture of a bee, eventually building up to a situation where you’re around bees.


Medications aren’t typically used to treat specific phobias. However, in some cases, they may be used on a short-term basis to help to reduce symptoms of anxiety while you’re undergoing treatment.

Medications that you may be prescribed can include:

  • benzodiazepines, a type of sedative that can help you relax and calm down
  • beta-blockers, which can reduce some physical symptoms like elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate

A specific phobia is an intense fear of an animal, object, or situation. This fear is exaggerated when compared to the threat that the thing poses. Insect-related phobias, such as the fear of bees, also called melissophobia, are common.

(Video) Probability Comparison: Phobias and Fears

Several treatments can be used to treat melissophobia, including cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and medications. Treatment can be more effective when started early.

If you experience a fear of bees that’s regularly disruptive to your day-to-day life, speak with a mental health professional. They’ll work with you to evaluate your symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


How do you treat melissophobia? ›

Several treatments can be used to treat melissophobia, including cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and medications. Treatment can be more effective when started early. If you experience a fear of bees that's regularly disruptive to your day-to-day life, speak with a mental health professional.

How do you know if you have melissophobia? ›

Signs of glossophobia may include avoiding speaking in public at all costs, over-preparing for social interactions, fearing judgement, experiencing extreme stress during a presentation, and only engaging in activities that do not require public speaking.

How rare is the phobia of bees? ›

“A fear of bees is quite common. In some of our studies, as many as 20% of children will express this fear, says Thomas H. Ollendick, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus for Virginia Tech's Department of Psychology.

What kind of phobia is fear of bees? ›

A bee phobia can also be called apiphobia or melissophobia. It's a specific phobia, which means it involves an intense, irrational fear of an object or situation that's unlikely to be harmful or dangerous.

How do I stop being scared of bees? ›

Similar to many other phobias, experts also recommend exposure therapy as a way to help people confront their fears. This could include taking a walk outside while bees are present, not swatting away a bee when it lands near you, deciding to speak with a local beekeeper, or even hosting a hive in your own backyard.

How do I get rid of Insectophobia? ›

What are entomophobia treatments? Exposure therapy is one of the main treatments for entomophobia. During exposure therapy, a mental health professional introduces you to situations and images that may trigger your symptoms. They gradually help you manage your response.

How do I get rid of fear in my mind and heart? ›

10 ways to fight your fears
  1. Take time out. It's impossible to think clearly when you're flooded with fear or anxiety. ...
  2. Breathe through panic. ...
  3. Face your fears. ...
  4. Imagine the worst. ...
  5. Look at the evidence. ...
  6. Don't try to be perfect. ...
  7. Visualise a happy place. ...
  8. Talk about it.
Jan 4, 2023

What are some facts about melissophobia? ›

The fear of bees, also known as melissophobia or apiphobia, is a severe and intense terror brought on by not only bees themselves but images of them and even the mere thought of the flying, stinging creatures. Melissophobia causes extreme emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms.

Why am I feeling a bit scared? ›

When you're feeling anxious or stressed, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These cause the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. Physical symptoms can include: a pounding heartbeat.

Is it OK to be scared of bees? ›

Being attacked by numerous bees simultaneously may increase the risk of developing a phobia. By definition, a phobia is irrational. For those who are allergic to bee stings, however, the fear is perfectly rational. If you are allergic to bees, then a fear of them is not necessarily considered a phobia.

How many people are affected by melissophobia? ›

Around 15 million people deal with glossophobia (fear of public speaking) on a daily basis. 75% of the population has a fear of public speaking. That means more than 200 million people feel nervous about talking to others.

Is it normal to be afraid of bees? ›

To an extent, the fear of bees is absolutely normal and healthy. Many people feel apprehension at the sight of bees, since no one wants to get stung. But in case of Apiphobia, even the mention of bees (or pictures of bees) can trigger an anxiety response that is akin to that of actually being stung.

Is there a treatment for Megalophobia? ›

There is currently no cure for megalophobia, but exposure therapy, a form of psychological therapy, is successful in treating it. Exposure therapy is considered the first-line treatment for specific phobias in general.

What is the rarest phobia? ›

1. Arachibutyrophobia (Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth) Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. While the phenomenon has happened to everyone at one point or another, people with arachibutyrophobia are extremely afraid of it.

Can you self treat phobia? ›

Use self-help resources

Some people use self-help books or online programmes to help cope with phobias. These are often based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). They will help you develop your own programme to reduce anxiety and make it easier to deal with your phobia triggers.


1. Fear of bees - Medical Definition and Pronunciation
(Medical Dictionary)
2. How to use exposure therapy to overcome phobias
(Doctor Ali Mattu)
3. Apiphobia - Medical Definition
(Medical Dictionary)
4. What You Need to Know About Coping with a Fear of Bees | Tita TV
(Tita TV)
5. How Do Bee Stingers Work? Stated Clearly
(Stated Clearly)
6. What Is The Definition Of Apiphobia Medical Dictionary Free Online
(Medical Dictionary Online)


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