The Gentle Bees that don’t sting

Blue Orchard Bee on my Daughter’s Finger

I know it sounds weird, a bee that does not sting.  Well, Mason Bees are very gentle bees, the males do not have stingers.  The females do but you have to really manhandle them to get them to sting.  Dave Hunter of Crown Bees has been working with these bees on a large scale for years and has only been stung twice.  He accidentally pinched a couple in between his fingers.  He said the sting felt less than a mosquito bite and by the time he made it to his camera he could not even see where the sting was.

Honey bees, Wasps and Yellow jackets often sting because they are protecting their hives.  Most of us at one point have been stung by one of these “bees”.  I have handled a good many of these bees and feel absolutely safe and comfortable with them.  I have even let my kids hold them after they have just emerged.

I have found that most people have a real fear of bees (bees being honey, wasps and anything else with a stinger).  I have found that beyond their Hive when you encounter honey bees in the yard, if you don’t mess with them and keep your movements simple and controlled they will barely even notice you.  When you swat at them, accidentally step on them or mess with their hive you can typically expect a sting.

When you first are around Mason Bees your first instinct is fear, fear of being stung, but there is no need.  Stay calm and enjoy them, I love watching them come and go from their nesting holes.  They fly right around you with zero aggression, you are just an obstacle to fly around.  I have even had my face up in front of their nest box, they have flown up and found me in the way and kinda circle away till they can access their hole.

Next time you see bees in your yard, calmly enjoy watching them fly from blossom to blossom.

Click on the Bee Partners link above to learn how you can have some of these gentle pollinators in your yard.


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