First, a little background information. Bees are not wasps, yellow jackets, or hornets. It seems obvious enough, but there are several cases of mistaken identity especially when it comes to stinging. I understand some of the confusion: many bees and wasps have black and yellow stripes and they are in the same animal order (Hymenoptera). Incidentally, Ants are in the same order. Now, if you were mistaken for your hot-tempered cousin (9 times out of 10) you may be rather insulted.
So, maybe put yourself in the lovable bee’s shoes: some female wasps have a modified ovipositior (part for laying eggs) that is used as a defensive weapon equipped with venom–the so-called “stinger.” Wasps are a great asset to the ecological picture as well, so don’t go hating on all of them, either! Yes, female bees also have ovipositors that could be used as a “stinger,” BUT bees are much less likely to actually use their stinger. Why? They are the non-confrontational peacekeepers of the family! Plus, it may end their happy-go-lucky life.
Okay, that was maybe more than a little information, but the major take away:
Don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you… Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting…Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.” –from The Secret Life of Bees
Bees love flowers, but bees also love TREES! Now that you know all the bees would like is a little respect, you can invite them to your backyard. There are many wonderful, native bees that enjoy pollinating. As habitat decreases, populations of native bees also decline. Every little bit we can do will help from more bees being placed on the Endangered Species List.
“Trees for Bees” Workshop will be held at the Missaukee Conservation District, Community Room (at the Health Dept. entrance) from 6-8pm on Thursday April 13. Please RSVP by Wednesday April 12! Call, visit our office, or RSVP at our online store under the “Tree Sale” tab. Workshop fee is $5 per Missaukee County resident household, or $10 per person for out-of-county attendees.