Dear Crabby, Are Bees Our Friends or Foes?

Dear Crabby,

The only thing more annoying than construction in the summertime is all the bees! I’ve always loathed those pesky things and yet they seem to be everywhere. And I’m not just talking physically everywhere, but also in the news and on social media. Recently there was even a National Honeybee Day. So, my question is when did bees become so popular and why should I care?

Bea Pollen

Dear Bea Pollen,

To bee quite honest (get it?) the only bee I care for is the one found on my box of Honey Nut Cheerios. Aside from that, I don’t have much use for them. However, our ecosystem relies on them quite a bit, which is probably why you’re seeing and hearing so much about them in the news. I guess the first thing we should talk about is the fact there are honeybees and bumblebees. Just keep in mind I’m no bee scholar so if you want more in-depth information, I suggest you harness the power of the Google. OK. Here we go!

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

Now like most people who encounter any type of bee you probably don’t stop and look hard enough to notice details. But if you are that sort you should know that bumblebees tend to have large, round bodies that are yellow or orange and black, while honeybees are usually smaller and thinner with yellow and brown stripes. Interestingly, both types of bees gather pollen and produce honey, but bumblebees have a shorter lifespan and don’t make as much. Probably because out of the two, bumblebees can (and will) sting you multiple times, which is why I’m sure they get killed more often. I’ll never forget the time we took our kids camping. They weren’t very old, but we thought it would be a fun and inexpensive way to spend time as a family. It was all going so well until my daughter had a bee land on her sucker. Instead of trying to brush it off or throw the sucker away, my daughter put the sucker and the bee in her mouth!! Of course, it stung her and that’s when our idyllic family vacation came to an abrupt end. After my daughter calmed down and the pimply-faced First-Aid ranger made sure the stinger was gone and gave her ice for the swelling I asked her what on earth had possessed her to put a bee in her mouth. Her reply? She thought if the bee saw it was headed towards her mouth it would get scared and fly away. Kid logic. Sometimes there’s no explaining it.

But to answer your question as to why you’re hearing so much about bees in the news lately, the answer is simple – these guys do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to pollinating the food we eat every day. Meaning if they go away, then so does the food, the farmers, the grocers and markets… you get the idea. So right now there’s a big push for ordinary folks like you and me to help out. One way of doing that is putting beehives on the top of roofs in Detroit. They call it ‘Bees in the D,’ a nonprofit aimed at educating the public on the importance of bees and helping colonies thrive. So far, they’ve placed over 80 some honeybee hives in 30 locations in Detroit and Canada. And regular folks are being encouraged to plant any size garden with native flowers that bloom year-round, so the bees don’t go hungry. If you don’t have a green thumb you could always put out a bee bath. Don’t worry. You won’t have to wash them or anything. Just leave out a small amount of water in a shallow container to help them stay cool. And the dirtier the water the better. Apparently, it has more nutrients in it. Go figure. The bottom line is bees are important, we need them, and people should help out however they can. That being said, I’m still not a fan, but I’ll do my best to leave them alone if they’ll show me the same courtesy. If not, then all bets are off.

Hope that answers your question. Try not to get stung out there.
Dear Crabby


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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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