I, like most children, had a serious bee-phobia.
Actually, I was more afraid of wasps, but I didn’t understand the distinction.
I mostly grew out of the fear, but I still sometimes panic when there are a lot of wasps around, even though I haven’t been stung in years. I used to even be slightly afraid of bumblebees and honey bees; I mean, they can still sting you. They just don’t as often, since it’s a suicide mission.
Two years ago, my Dad and little brother started a couple beehives.
I was, as you can imagine, very apprehensive of these harbingers of death that my dearest family were welcoming with open arms to live twenty feet away from our dwelling. Very apprehensive.
I kept a great distance from the hives for the first few weeks.
But then I noticed a few things; the garden was flourishing. NO one had been stung. And…the bees were kind of…cool?
I mean, they were still bees. But they weren’t violent like wasps, and we were getting a LOT of fresh produce from the garden with their help. And there was honey to look forward to.
I started to learn a few things that I didn’t know before.
Bees are in a completely different family from wasps; wasps are, technically, hornets. Bees are much more hesitant to sting, as they die if they do. See, a wasp’s stinger is smooth, allowing it to sting you as many times as it wants without dying. Honey- and bumble bees’ stingers are barbed, and, when they sting you, the stinger (brace yourself, it’s kind of gross,) pulls out their innards and they die. Wasps also inject a lot more poison than bees do; consequently, bee stings hurt a lot less than wasp stings.
Bees are better at pollinating.
Bees give you honey.
Bees actually have an extremely intricate and interesting sort of “community” structure within the hive; different bees have different roles: worker, drones, and the queen. The queen lays both fertile eggs and infertile eggs; the fertile eggs are hatched into workers, and the infertile eggs hatch into drones. Weird, but kinda cool.
Long story short (haha not really), I’m not that afraid of bees any more. I accept them as cool, if slightly weird. Kinda like me… 😉
BUT I still hate wasps.
Nothing will ever possess me to accept them.