To Bee or Not to Bee?

Large Carpenter Bee I have noticed something about the bees here in Cleveland. They are not normal bees. They seem to be bees on steroids. Though I bet if you asked them, they never have, to the best of their knowledge, used steroids, Senator sir. But they are still damn big bees.

When I was a kid, there seemed to be millions of honey bees wandering about our clover filled back yard. As a matter of fact, I have a very amusing, off-color story about my brother when he was six, a honey bee, his desire to kill it by sitting on it and a subsequent visit to the doctor with explanations about grapefruit sized male body parts. But, as we are all gentlepersons here, I’ll leave the details up to your imagination.

I don’t think I have ever seen a honey bee, as I remember them, since I moved to Cleveland. All I have seen is what I would have called a bumble bee. Huge, quarter size bees. Even the bumble bees here seem to be different than the bumbles of my youth. I remember a whole lot more yellow. But these bees are much more beatnik so I must assume that they are a cooler kind of bee.

A little bit of research tells me that the bee pictured is a Large Carpenter Bee. I think I won’t mention that to my husband, lest he decide they are a danger to the house. They may be highly aggressive and prone to property damage, but they are the only bees I’ve got. A gardener needs bees, at least if they want to have any kind of reproducing garden.

Other than this, I have a whole lot of bee impostors. Yellowjackets, to be specific. These, I hate. They look like cartoon versions of bees or a flying caution sign. They are brutal and aggressive does not even begin to describe their behavior. What is worse, is that while they look like a bee, they don’t sting like a bee. A bee will sting once and die. A wasp will sting until you kill it.

Yellowjackets are also lazy. You won’t find them happily ambling through your flower beds working to coax out a bit of nectar. No, you are much more likely to find them in your soda, hopefully before you take a sip of it. Nasty, filthy jacketes.

I wonder what has happened to the bees in Cleveland. Is it just an indicator or the bee crisis that the entire United States faces? Or is this just another casualty of the erratic and cold Cleveland winters? I do not know. I just kind of miss the little bees from my childhood. I don’t think my brother misses them, but I do.

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