Bees vs. horrid insects

We have helped our neighbor over the years by pruning her overgrown Asian pear tree, and by picking up the fruit that drops throughout the summer months. Recently she did some of this work herself, and put fifty or so pears into a plastic bag and left it under the tree for a week or two. After a while Mr. Glad couldn’t stand it, and he tried to put the whole lot into the trash, but he found it also contained scads of bees, one of which stung him.

[Correction years later: Those probably were not bees, but syrphid flies; I can’t see any of the images clearly enough to know, this much removed from the event. I didn’t know about syrphids at the time, and even after learning how flies differ from bees, I get them mixed up. But this article has some good information still, so I will leave it up. And maybe it is not a yellow jacket, either, but it is a wasp.]

I saw one of those fruits on the sidewalk with 60% of the inside gone, in the process of being excavated by six honeybees. I was so surprised — I didn’t know they would eat fruit. Another day I took pictures of some of the pears lying on the grass, full of bees, and wasps too.

yellow-jacket wasp on left

The few wasps were spending as much time acting aggressively toward the bees as they were drinking pear juice, trying to be king of the mountain. I thought of what I’d read from The Bee Lady, who recently instructed us about the difference in species. She also let us in on the fact that yellow jackets are carnivores, and they will eat bees. I think that is horrid – as if bees didn’t have enough problems already.

Wasps aren’t bees. Pest removal companies perpetuate the confusion by saying they do “bee removal” when they are talking about both insects. Why can’t they say “Bee and Wasp Removal”? This one has a good chart showing many wasps and bees, even though the company name is not entomologically precise.

To be fair, even wasps do serve a purpose on the earth, as this page points out. I read that one kind of wasp eats black widows, for which I’m sure I must thank the Lord.

wasp and bee getting along in Australia by C. Frank Starmer via Creative Commons

I liked this page, too, that delineates some differences between bumblebees and honeybees. Ants, wasps and bees are related species, but they are different species. I am with The Bee Lady on this one — bees should not have to bear the reproach of their cousins.

Ever since I reviewed all those pictures of the blessing of bees and honey, while telling about the Feast of Transfiguration, my love for bees has grown as has my wonderment at honey and the miracle of it all. I’m even eating more honey, such a beautiful food. Wasps haven’t a clue how to make it.

6 thoughts on “Bees vs. horrid insects

  1. Very interesting stuff! Adam says that the reason yellow jacket stings hurt so much is BECAUSE they are carnivores. Thus, when they “sting” you, what they're actually doing is trying to eat you – ugh! Thank you for supporting the honey bees!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok, I understand that wasps do have a purpose, but I have mostly seen them ruining good, ripe fruit this fall. Peaches, plums, and apples — all chewed up by wasps.

    Bees I love. Working, pollinating, making honey — they are so useful.

    I'll swat a wasp every time, but not so the bee. I love my local honey and my local bee keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We had bees, Times have changed so much. Until we had bees I wasn't aware of how many predators we have out here. I live now in a veritable horror house where wild bees and wild wasps and these bees that live in the ground attacked my hive daily. My bees finally just packed up and left. The whole hive. When I finally checked the hive, after seeing no movement, it was as clean as the day we bought the hive. Nothing not even brood was left. It remains a mystery to us as where they went. I will check out the bee lady maybe she will know what kind of bees we have that live in the ground and are so aggressive. In the fall I have watched after they paralyzed a grass hopper, then dug the hole and took it in and buried it in the hole. I didn't know that bees would eat fruit but I am sure they would for the sugar. It is a fantastic world to observe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also struggle to understand the place of some insects and critters in the world. The wasps and bees might take a long time to clean up all the pears, but I suppose what they leave behind would eventually compost back into to the ground but it sure wouldn't be any place for a people picnic. I suppose I many be returning to a carpet of fallen apples myself.
    Bees are astounding and their gifts wonderful…how fun to take special note of them and learn about them. They do need friends and advocates, don't they? Their health can tell us about the health of the land and air and plants about them. Bees and ants are mentioned in our favored book…are wasps in there too?

    Liked by 1 person

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