Our Gentle Bees, Friends not Foes!

I bring this up because I know our bees have been horrified by the actions of their stinging insect cousins the wasps and hornets of late. Our friend and resident bee expert reminds us that these stinging insects who are often labeled bees are in fact not bees at all.  And often, their aggressive actions give bees a bad name.  Getting stung by a bee is actually quite preventable, as bees are generally timid and do not sting unless they are protecting their hive, swatted at, or, most commonly, stepped on. Our bees at school are so friendly that I visit their hive without wearing gear!

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BULLET POINTS and Q&A with OUR RESIDENT BEE EXPERT

  • Bees are not hornets and wasps.
  • Some hornets and wasps, most commonly the Yellow -Jacket, may be aggressive.   Bees are timid and only sting when threatened.
  • What is usually found in the garden, bees or wasps? Answer: Bees
  • Where would I find a wasp (e.g. yellow jacket)? Answer: In nest in ground, around food, but not around flowers.
  • When and where is it more likely to be stung by a bee? Answer: When bees are collected in a huge (10,000 +) swarm, when you enter their hive, when you swat at them.
  • What is the chance of being stung by a bee in a garden? Answer: Very small,  so small that no one keeps statistics of bee stings
  • When might I get stung? Answer: If you step on a bee in the grass without shoes. If you swat at a bee.
  • Do I need to be more careful if I have a bee sting allergy? Answer:  If you wear shoes in the garden and do not swat at bees, you will not be stung.
  • Are bee stings dangerous?: Answer:  For most people the answer is that they are annoying, not dangerous and do not hurt very much.  About 0.5 per cent of children have bee allergies.  However, if you do not go after the bees, they will not go after you.

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