I am definitely not an expert when it comes to insects. I know very little, in fact, except for what I have observed and experienced since moving here 18 years ago. Georgia has a lot of bugs and I just see yellow and black and I know there is a stinger there somewhere! It is spring here in Georgia and George and I, my companion of the canine sort, have been getting out and walking around the neighborhood. In doing so we have seen our fair share of bees and wasps or wasps and bees. Whichever. You know, things with stingers! Everything is blooming and it is beautiful but that means bees, wasps and other biting insects are buzzing around. So far we have experienced no stings, despite George’s nosy behavior, (must smell, all things, everywhere) but I am keeping my eyes open none the less. My husband has had the painful and unfortunate experience of being stung, a few years in a row now, by a yellow jacket, a kind of a vicious wasp like creature that lives in the dirt here. So I am diligent to keep my eyes on the ground when we take our walks. The bites he received caused his leg to swell up twice it’s size and it was very painful. 😦
For a good part of my life I have been a bit of a trusting person and a fairly open book to those that get to know me well. I have tended to believe that people wouldn’t cross certain lines or do certain things because I wouldn’t. That has been painful at times. And it is child like “magical thinking”. Like a dear friend says, “we see people how we are.” It is a fairly egocentric way to look at people and we are all egocentric to some degree. We believe people believe like us, think like us, react like us and so on. We tend to develop an attachment to these ideas or expectations. That being said I have been caught off guard by the behavior of many people at times for that very reason. Shocked really. When that happens I never really see it coming, and some things that have occurred still really puzzle me to this day. I guess my intuition was on the fritz or something and I just didn’t expect it because I thought I had a firm understanding of who that person was. Maybe it was more about who I wanted them to be. None the less, that is a mistake I have made consistently and I’d really like to prevent it in the future. Walking makes a person think and ponder things and I wondered why people sometimes “sting you” when you least expect it and this week bees and wasps came to mind.
Bees are funny little creatures. They are really methodical, organized and all about family. They just want to do their jobs and go home. They don’t have much of a social life outside of the hive and they thrive on togetherness with loved ones. They just want to build and maintain their hive, take care of the kids and make their honey. They really are not very conscious of others that are not bees and often see those that are different than them as a bit of threat. And quite honestly, sometimes, others are a bit of a threat to them. History has proven this to the bee and that is all he really has to go on, being a bee and all. It seems others like his honey and do try to take it at great expense to him and the hive. This kind of pisses the little bee off, quite frankly. It can cause the bee to become a little hypersensitive at times and very reactive to anyone that crosses his path or especially gets near the hive. People and animals often get stung, erroneously, because of the flawed perception of the bee, when they accidentally cross his path. But can you blame the bee, really? He doesn’t have the capacity to make observations or ask questions, he just sees a possible threat. All he has is his experience to go by and a deep desire to protect those whom he loves. The little bee will die to protect his loved ones and the hive and once he stings someone it will mean certain death for him. The bee has no regard for his own life. He is about his family. He is about the hive. You truly have to respect bees. They have very important jobs and without them we would be in serious trouble. Their shrinking population is having terrible consequences for our agriculture. Their presence is very crucial and we really, really need them. Bees don’t have the ability or the luxury to be objective as they are not conscious beings. They will sting when they perceive a threat, period, right or wrong, and always in the interest of protecting what is dear to them. Most people that “sting” are like the bee. They have lost objectivity, unable to see the whole picture and are just trying to protect what they perceive is being threatened. When you get stung by this type of person try to understand his or her perspective and understand that it is likely very limited because of painful, past experiences and history. This kind of individual is not “bad”. They are just very unaware. You might do the same thing in his or her shoes and most likely have at one point or another. We are all bees sometimes. But, do be wise and protect yourself.
Wasps are different in my opinion and very likely in the opinion of those who have had the unfortunate experience of accidentally crossing them. I truly don’t understand the reason for wasps if I am honest. I quite dislike them. I have been known to use some very unsavory vocabulary regarding them. Let’s get something straight. Wasps are not nice! Wasps do not sacrifice themselves when they sting you, for them it isn’t about that! If they can manage it they do not bite you just once. They keep coming! Wasps seem to enjoy hurting people and animals and bite over and over until you can get away from them. (again, I am not a insect expert, just drawing a comparison). Wasps are self serving, vicious, calculating and vindictive! (In my opinion) If you have ever experienced being stung by one you know how relentless they can be. The aftermath is extremely painful and it can take a while to heal after being attacked by a wasp! It is the gift that keeps on giving! While I think most people can be bees, from time to time, I do believe there are a small minority that fit into the wasp category. If you have ever met one, and experienced their wrath, you will understand what I mean. If you are under the impression they don’t exist or are really just misunderstood then I can guarantee you will experience one, one day. Sorry, I used to think that way too and that kind of thinking tends to draw them to you. Bees just want to be left alone. Wasps clearly want a fight and they look for the most vulnerable, trusting and unsuspecting person or animal to attack. I guess by now you know I am not really writing about insects.
It is not really my job, nor should it be, to label who is a bee and who is wasp and honestly they can be difficult to tell apart. If I can help it, I won’t be getting that close. I will leave that to my Creator. He is the Judge. What I do need to do is be wise either way. Both sting but I need to stop assuming I understand a person, one way or another, and just be aware, awake and vigilant. Just like long sleeves, a hat and a nice pair of thick Levis make one less vulnerable to being stung, appropriate boundaries in my own life are probably the best way to protect myself and those whom I care about from stings. Aggressive behavior on my part, stinging back, will stir up and anger both the bee and the wasp, so the important thing is to give them their space and carefully observe them from a good distance. There might also be a time to be defensive and take action but only if necessary. In time maybe I will figure out which is which but safety comes first. The important thing is to not put myself or others in a position to be injured. That is wisdom and love in tandem and I am hopeful the next time I happen upon something with a stinger I will see it before it sees me.