Here's a primary source, a research done on Honey Bees:
The bee's response to the first (alerting) stimulus strengthens her guarding stance; for instance the abdomen is raised, possibly with the sting protruded, and the antennae are waved. In addition, the bee may recruit other bees to guard activity, by entering the colony with her sting chamber open and the sting prodtruded, thus releasing alarm pheromone.
Also, From the Science Daily:
The stinger's injection of apitoxin into the victim is accompanied by the release of alarm pheromones, a process which is accelerated if the bee is fatally injured.
Release of alarm pheromones near a hive or swarm may attract other bees to the location, where they will likewise exhibit defensive behaviors until there is no longer a threat (typically because the victim has either fled or been killed).
These pheromones do not dissipate nor wash off quickly, and if their target enters water, bees will resume their attack as soon as the target leaves
A biology site here tells us there are different types of pheromone released, and the specific one released, is the attack pheromone:
Two main alarm pheromones have been identified in honeybee workers. One is released by the Koschevnikov gland, near the sting shaft, and consists of more than 40 chemical compounds, including isopentyl acetate (IPA), butyl acetate, 1-hexanol, n-butanol, 1-octanol, hexyl acetate, octyl acetate, n-pentyl acetate and 2-nonanol. These chemical compounds have low molecular weights, are highly volatile, and appear to be the least specific of all pheromones. Alarm pheromones are released when a bee stings another animal, and attract other bees to the location and causes the other bees to behave defensively, i.e. sting or charge
So, it is released, but how quickly does it take effect? I looked at a beekeeper's site, because they have the most experience as to the speed with which bees attack after pheromone is released.
Let's look at a beekeeping site:
Immediately and steadily back away from the hives, without swatting at the bee, screaming, convulsing, or otherwise freaking out. When you are away from the hives, kill the bee by slapping it soundly. Kill the bee before it escapes from your hair or clothing, as it will likely sting you when it is free. Discard the dead bee outside the apiary and apply smoke liberally to the area on your body where the bee was killed. Smoking the area will mask the alarm pheromone secreted when the bee was crushed.
The pheromone is produced, but it doesn't reach the hive immediately. It will eventually be detected if you are near enough, but it does take some time. If you are far away from the hive, the bees might not smell it either, as the pheromone will dissipate.
That may be the reason why you could kill a bee with impunity. Note also how the beekeeper instructs to back away from the hives, then kill the bee, and then smoke the area. It's safe to kill the bee in two situations:You're far away.
You smoke the bee after you kill it.
The pheromone takes approximately a few minutes to be detected if you are near enough. You are safe for a few minutes. This can be seen here:
If a bee stings you, don't panic and immediately run, and especially don't make a lot of jerky, sudden movements. This just increases your chances of being stung again. Instead, calmly back away a few feet from the hive and use the edge of your fingernail, the hive tool, or a knife, to scrape the sting sac out from the side. Never grab the stinger and pull it out -- this only injects more venom. After the sting sac is removed and discarded away from your body and the hives, smoke the area of the sting to mask the odor of the alarm pheromone.
You actually have time to remove the sting sac and smoke the area, and this is being done by bee-keepers all the time.
So, pheromone is produced, it's not a house-wives' tale, and it does ignite the hive to attack, but you could mask it, or if you are far away, it won't be detected.