I like bees. They really don’t bother me that much. It’s not like I want to get stung, but they tend to leave me alone, maybe because I don’t freak out when they fly near me. I understand those who are allergic or just don’t want to get stung, though.
I remember vividly the first time I got stung by a bee. It was at our house on 5th Ave in Gloversville, and I was already strapped into my car seat in the back. Mom was locking up the house or grabbing something from inside, and when I shifted in my car seat, the bee stung me right on the butt. I don’t know if I started screaming and I don’t remember the aftermath, but the sting itself is clear as day.
At work there is a window air conditioner. I was mowing the lawn and noticed a lot of bees around the a/c unit. I stopped to watch, mainly to see if there was a ground nest nearby. Watching the bees for a minute, I realized that they were going to the ground under the a/c to drink, not because their hive was down there.
With the ridiculous drought going on, I’m not surprised that the bees are hanging around a reliable source of water. It’s fun to sit a few feet away and not really be in any danger of getting stung. As long as I don’t get too close or let Pico run through them, I figure it’s safe to hang out and watch. I won’t bother them if they don’t bother me, and the feeling so far seems to be mutual.
As an entomologist and hobby beekeeper, I like to see anything published in defense of bees. They are wonderful, beneficial companions here on spaceship earth, and, as Justin points out, people’s fear or dislike of bees is largely unjustified.
I would point out, however, that there are many, many different species of bees, each with its own interesting ecology. It is also important to differentiate between bees and wasps. In particular, certain wasps, especially those we call yellow jackets, are often the culprits that annoy us and which we unjustly identify as “bees”.