For a few weeks now I have noted the stories that people have told about finding bees. Bees in their kitchens, living rooms and even a class room.  This is the time of year when people are shocked at the massive size of the bees they find.  These are more than likely the queen bumble bees.  The queen is the only bumble bee that survives the winter.  She hibernates in warm places that she can find such as kitchens, living rooms or classrooms.  These bees should now have some worker daughters that can be found buzzing about with deep base notes.  They bumble about everywhere but are usually quite gentle creatures, although contrary to popular belief, they can sting more than once.

Wasps are also beginning to be seen out and about.  They are usually the most common stinger that people come across.  They can sting again and again and again as they ae not a creature interested in flowers and nectar, wasps are carnivores and pure hunter killers.  Their sting is a weapon to bring down spiders and flies.

I am lucky enough to have obtained some bees to try and care for.  These are honey bees and number in their thousands in the hive.  The honey bee is not a creature that people often recognise.  When people do recognise it they usually see this….

..The Italian honey bee, or this…

…the Buckfast honey bee named after Buckfast Abbey where it was bred by Brother Adam.  These are not my bees.  My bees are a strange little creature being slowly brought back from the edge of existence.  They are the Native Irish Black Bee.

This little bee comes from a breeding program by dedicated bee keepers in the Galtee area of Ireland.  It is just smaller than the average wasp and has very little in the way of any sort of yellow banding.  It is said to be a hardy little beast that is better adapted to life in the dampness of Ireland.  It does sting and may not be as gentle as the Italian or Buckfast bee but it is not in its best interest to sting as it will die as a result.  Tonight I read that the bee also releases an alert chemical as it stings and the chemical is the same molecule that is the smell of ripe bananas.  This is a little fact worth remembering as it is just like me to take a summer evening stroll in the garden while munching a banana which is overripe; the best kind of bananas.

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