A Misunderstood Ally

With the countless benefits bees provide with their simple means of survival, it’s not very fitting that they’re so misunderstood throughout modern society. Bees are often treated as pests and in this case carpenter bee trap can be very helpful. But with their docile tendencies and myriad positive side effects, why is it that they are feared by so many?

14687327449_e53860b485_zIt’s common knowledge that the venom contained in a bee’s stinger can be quite deadly if the recipient of the sting has a strong allergic reaction. But outside of attempting to harm a bee or stepping on one accidentally, the chances of being stung are quite low.
The most obvious cause for any unease directed at bees would be their similarities to their enormously aggressive cousins, wasps and hornets. With the same distinctive color patterns (typically black and yellow) and the continuity of four wings and dangling legs, the resemblance is uncanny between bees and more aggressive species of insects. In the United States, wasps are very numerous both in abundance and variety (over 100,000 species worldwide). While their visual appearance has a stark resemblance to the benevolent bee, the similarities end there. Wasps are carnivores, feeding on other insects or carrion and bringing live prey (stunned by their toxin) back to their nest in order to provide a fresh bounty to their young. While wasps have one of the most diverse ranges of prey, making them essential to agricultural pest control, their tendency to be hostile to creatures much larger than themselves leaves the bee in an unfortunate predicament.

An ironic fact about bees is that the stinger of a honey bee is their primary defense against wasps and hornets, who frequently raid beehives in an effort to feed on the young. So while humans may see bees as a mere nuisance with a potentially deadly effect on anybody with a severe allergy,23764566_65bc1779ce_z the true hazard to most people is the wasp, who will attack without hesitation, regardless of size. When a clumsy bumblebee approaches a human out of curiosity (or miscalculation) it’s not with a hostile motive, but with the simple drive to help with the survival of their species at the expense of no other living creature.

Over thousands of years, bees have evolved and flourished beside human beings. As countless civilizations have risen and fallen, many more colonies of our fuzzy, flying friends have done the same. In an effort to simply gather pollen and nectar while reproducing, bees have unwittingly helped spread forests and pastures, groves and gardens over six of the seven major landmasses of our planet. By producing essential materials for preserving food, filling cavities and creating works of art and literature, they have helped us grow our society into what it is today. The bee is truly an astounding creature and will hopefully remain as such for many years to come.