Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Defense of Bees

A great slander is frequently committed in our great nation and I'm here to do my part in clearing the name of an unfairly maligned species.
Namely, whenever anyone is stung by an insect and said insect is yellow & black, it is almost invariably said that the victim was stung by "a bee".
Most of the time, this is the result of mistaken identity and the poor bee is innocent. I would wager that in most cases, the offending insect is a yellow jacket. (Pictured below.)

Although I'm not exactly a master of the apiary sciences, I feel I can speak with a degree of authority on this subject since my father raised honeybees for years. I was surrounded by beehives and their residents flew around me constantly. Honey bees are relatively docile (unless you threaten the queen, in which case all bets are off). In all those years, I was stung by bees precisely ZERO times. Yellow jackets, however, have probably stung me about a dozen times.
(See below for a picture of a honeybee for comparison.)

Please note the duller coloration and somewhat "fuzzy" look to the thorax.

So next time you get stung, please don't unfairly blame a bee. Chances are a bee is not to blame.

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