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By Alex Malkin

TOO MANY BEES!

A book filled with cool and creepy facts to help me over come my fear of bees

What would you do if you saw a bee: 

a. Give it a big hug

b. Slowly back away in a calm matter

c. Find the closest item and smack it

d. Run away screaming and lock yourself in your room until further notice

 

 

 

       If you picked b-d, then this is the book for you! 

 

     If you picked a, then there is obviously something wrong  with you.

 

Before you read this book, you must take:

THE OFFICIAL BEE TEST

(Pick one answer)

The Mason Bee

(All females are fertile. That means more and more bees!)

Yellow Jacket Wasp

(Are predators to all pests)

The Bumble bee

(It can be from 3/4 inches all the way to 1 1/2 inches long!)

Hornet

(Can sting multiple times!)

Honey bees

(They pollinate flowers so they can make honey to eat!)

 

This book is dedicated to Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Mancuso, my parents, and all the people out there that are as terrified of bees as I am.

Disgusting

 TOO MANY BEES!

By Alex Malkin

Gross

Eww

A lot of people have apiphobia; the fear of bees. Many people have been stung or know someone who has been stung by a bee or one of its relatives. This can lead to apiphobia because the thought of being stung for the first time, or again, is scary. Someone with apiphobia may breathe too quickly, sweat, scream, cry or even faint when they see a bee nearby. However, bees usually only sting when they feel that they or their hive are in danger. It can help people with a fear of bees to learn more about these important insects.

Bees are insects that have a big responsibility in this world. They have lived on earth for millions of years. They have some amazing and some disturbing features. Bees are beneficial to our planet, but can also be dangerous and scary. They pollinate most of the plants we see every day and make sweet, delicious honey. Some bees can sting and to some people this can be deadly. Their relatives include many well known insects such as wasps, ants and hornets.

 

 

 

Who here is scared of bees? I can tell you someone who is. ME! I keep saying to myself, “If you don’t hurt them, they won’t hurt you,” and, “you are much bigger than them!” But, the problem is THEY STING!!! 

Trust me, I know, I have been stung before. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a sunny day at summer camp. I was walking back from the pool to get changed. All of the sudden, I felt something crawl into my sandal. A bee had snuck its way into my shoe like a tiny ninja! When I saw it, I started screaming. Then, it stung me. It felt like a blast of pain shooting through my foot and up my leg.

  I know I sound dramatic, but it did happen...I know, I was there! But believe it or not, there are benefits from their sting. It is pretty cool that the venom in the stinger can fight off the evil HIV virus by using its nanoparticles.  I guess this is kind of helping me overcome my fear of... AHHHHH! A bee! I’m out of here!!!!!

 

Bees are even talked about in some of the oldest myths. For instance, there is a myth that states that bees were the bridge from the real world to the underworld. So bees are like the the George Washington Bridge that allows you to go from Manhattan to Fort Lee, New Jersey? I guess that is a question that will be answered AFTER I overcome my fear.

 

Hi guys, sorry I had to, um… do something. I need to focus. Bees do have an amazing history. It is true that they have been on earth for a really long time. People say they were around 100 million years ago! 

For all of you social studies lovers out there, bees have been reported to have been living in beehives all the way back in Mesopotamia! And it is said that bees first appeared during the Cretaceous period. 

But there is some disagreement about bees being native to North America. Some scientists think that bees were native to North America 14 million years ago, while others think that bees were brought to North America by the colonists. 

It’s weird that there are so many cool things about the history of bees, yet I am still terrified of them. Wait! I see another bee, maybe if I just stay still… AHHHHH! It is flying right towards me. Oh, I think I hear my name…I’m coming mom! It’s probably family stuff, bye.

I’m back, let's try this again. First, what if I imagine life without bees? There will be no more plants because there are no bees to pollinate them. Then, animals will have nothing to eat so they can’t survive, which means we have no plants OR animals to eat. Wait! Doesn’t that mean we can’t survive?  They are a part of the food chain like no other animal. 

And it is true that bees pollinate ⅙ of the entire plant sp Aecies. Plus, they do pollinate a total of 15 billion dollars worth of crops a year in the United States. Why does this have to be so difficult? Maybe if I just think about more of the benefits… AHHHHH! another bee, oh look at the time, got to go.

 

I wish bees were things I like:

I am confident I will love bees. There are various types of bees that have different features. One species of bee that causes problems is called the carpenter bee. The name describes exactly the bad thing it can do - damage wood. In order to make a hive a carpenter bee will destroy all of the wood in its way. Talk about selfish! 

However, a bumble bee is a fascinating species. Bumble bees are so big that their tiny wings aren’t strong enough to fly. Oh the poor bees! But wait, their adaptation kicks in and they make their wings turn around in a circular motion. They are like little mini helicopters, but you see them at picnics. 

It is pretty amazing that bees make a buzzing noise because they flap their wings at 11,400 times a minute. Don’t they get tired? I guess this is helping… AHHHHH! I see something black and yellow coming my way! Wait, I think I’m late for school, Adios!

 

 

Carpenter Bee

This is getting harder by the minute! There are many words that I can use to describe bees: gross, creepy, and just down right ewwww. Bees also have many bad things about them.  They look so scary!!! They have six legs and if things couldn’t get worse, they have FIVE eyes!!!!!!!!!!! Why do they have to have five eyes? 

That doesn’t really help me at all. And if you are allergic to a bee sting and don’t get treatment, well, I think you know what could happen. I don’t really get how this is helpful but, I will keep going… AHHHHHH! Bee! Wait, I just realized, I have to bee… Whoops, wrong word! See you tomorrow.

 

The worker bees, who do most of the stinging, die after they release their stinger. The poor drone bees usually die after they mate with the queen!  It is harder to be afraid of bees when they don’t even live that long.

 

Oh, I almost forgot another thing that I actually think is kind of sad. The lifespan of bees. Humans have an average lifespan of about 71 years.  

On the other hand, the average life-span of a bee can be summarized in one word. Short. Those powerful queen bees live an average of three to four years. The worker bees only live for a few weeks in the summer! They can live a little longer if they are in a cold climate.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to love bees. I think I know something that won’t help. Learning about their relatives!! I personally think their relatives are just as awful as any bee. A wasp! A wasp’s sting hurts even more than a bee’s sting. It’s like a flu shot, but ten times worse. But I have to admit they do have some good qualities. For starters, they keep away other pests (and I’m scared of them all).  

And if they couldn’t get any more gross, they make their nests out of chewed wood and saliva. Wasps  don’t seem to know anything about personal hygiene. Who would want to live in that?            

 They feed their young by bringing them insects to eat. That helps reduce the insect population. But they look just as disgusting as bees! With a jointed antennae and compound eyes with tiny eyes surrounding them, they look like aliens.

I’m getting too negative. Let’s start thinking more positively about wasps. Just like bees, wasps pollinate plants. Also, it is cool that wasps have a professional rugby team named after them. I feel like I can walk over to any bee now without being scared. You know what? I’m going to do it; I’m going to walk up to a bee. Oh I see one right now. Hi little bee. Why are you looking at me like that? AHHHHH! It looks angry! Ummm… I forgot to do my homework. See ya.

I finished my homework. Sorry it took so long. UGGGGHHHH!! I wish I wouldn’t be so scared anymore! I guess I have to keep talking about the relatives of bees. Ants. Not as terrifying but still, they are related to bees.

 

 

 

 

Even though ants aren’t as scary, most of them do sting. Maybe that is why they are related to those wicked bees! And for some reason, scientists say that they were first wasp-like insects that evolved into the stinging creatures they are today. Not like that does anything for me. In fact, that makes me even more scared. Thanks a lot internet!

Anyway, there are some really interesting things about ants. For instance, they can carry an object that is twenty times their own weight. That means they have to be working out at the gym, right?

 

 

 

 

Think about it. You walk into the gym and you see ants with huge muscles that are lifting twenty pound weights. Crazy right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Just like bees, they choose a queen for each colony. And scientists have discovered 12,500 kinds of species of ants out of an estimated 22,000. Just like the wasps, they also have a team named after them. A basketball team called The Mad Ants from Fort Wayne. Ok, I’m ready to test my fear. I will watch a bee through the window. Oh, I see one now! Ok, nothing new, they still look scary. Wait the window isn’t closed! AHHHHH!...it is flying inside! Bye I have to, ummmm… I don’t know anymore excuses. Just, bye.  

I am going to take a break from relatives and keep talking about the great things bees do. Bees are the only bugs that can make edible food. Oh! I almost forgot...HONEY! Who doesn’t like a sweet food that tastes good on almost anything?

And honey can help you lose weight, prevents cancer and keeps your blood sugar even! But, am I supposed to feel better knowing that bees have existed for millions of years? Wait, what’s that noise? AHHHH! Why are there so many bees buzzing around today? See you guys later.

 

 

Just so you know, I did NOT lock myself in my room all night. OK, maybe I did. So I guess the ants and wasps didn’t help. Maybe I can learn about their last relative. Hornets! In my mind, the hornets are the scariest. They are so big! 2.2 inches long. It’s hard to believe that researchers say that hornets are actually peaceful creatures. But when they are threatened and they sting someone it hurts even more than being stung by a bee!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, there is a basketball team named after them. The Charlotte Hornets. What is it with people naming teams after gross bugs? Anyway learning about hornets was a bad choice. I will change the subject. I am going to start talking about some of the special features about bees… AHHHHH! BEEEEEEEE! RUN!

 

That proves I do not like bees yet. Did you know that there is a humongous  bee and a tiny little bee? There is one bee that surprisingly doesn’t scare me at all. It is called the Perdita Minima, and is less than 2 mm long. The word mini is even in the name! That proves to me that some bees are A LOT smaller than me. That may have gotten me one step closer to liking bees! 

 The biggest bee in the world (the Megachile Pluto)is… 39 mm long! Plus, their wingspan is 63 mm long! I bet you are thinking, that is not really that long at all. But the average length of a bumble bee is only 14 mm. And you won’t believe me when I tell you that the Megachile Pluto’s head is 13 mm long. Not their body, their head! Which I do not understand because a bee’s brain is 20 times smaller than a human’s brain. 

But even though they are big, they still are not as big as humans. That really helped! Should I test it again? Why Not? I will watch a bee from a distance. Oh, I see one now. All it is doing is hopping from flower to flower. How sweet. Wait!! That’s it I will… AHHHHHH! The bee just stopped hopping! That can’t be good. I think I’m just going to head inside.

 

As I was saying before I had to go inside because of the bee...I mean because of allergies...is that I want to tell you about how bees pollinate flowers. Let’s just say, it is really simple but at the same time, really confusing. I’m just warning you. So here I go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, the bee collects some pollen from the male part of the flower, the stamen. Then it goes to another flower and drops it onto the female side, the stigma. I didn’t even know flowers had a gender at all. But now I learn they have two genders! Wow! I think that actually calmed me down a little.

Well now that I have started, I guess I have to keep going.  But what next? I know! I can talk about everything I know about what goes on inside the bee’s hive. I think of it as a business office. The queen bee is the boss of everyone, the worker bees are, well, the workers. And the drones are the interns that do whatever is asked of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The workers are the bees that collect the pollen. The drone bees listen to the queen but instead of getting coffee like interns they, ummm… how do I put this? They mate with the queen. Well things just got a tiny bit awkward.

 

 

But, it feels like this knowledge has also helped. Since every test I have tried to see if I have overcome the fear has backfired, I should make it easier on myself. I will look at a picture  of a bee. That shouldn’t be scary. I hope. I will look on the internet. Ok, I found one. AHHHHH! It  looks too realistic! I didn’t realize how late it is. Time for bed.

 

 

Hey guys. I guess this is harder than I thought. Now back to what I was talking about. What happens in the beehive. It seems like the Women's Rights Movement helped the bees more than humans. The reason I am saying this is because the most important bee in the hive is the FEMALE queen. 

       Queen bees are much more powerful than any of those male bees. They probably say that because they lead the entire colony and because they lay ALL the eggs for the colony. Those are some busy queens.

We now know a lot more about queen bees. Next, I should talk more about the worker bees. They have two jobs. One is to protect the hive. And remember how bees pollinate flowers? Well, that is exactly the other thing worker bees do daily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are the only bees that collect nectar. Worker bees are females that don’t have the right qualities to be a queen. That just made me feel bad for the little guys. Wait! Did I just say I feel BAD for bees. That must mean I’m getting closer to overcoming my fear! Hey, there is a bee on my food! I will stay still and remember everything I just said. Ok, I’m doing it! I am not running away…AHHHHH! I heard it buzz! I just realized, ummm…I don’t like…mayo. Yeah! I hate mayo. Peace everybody.

I made myself a new lunch with NO mayo. Now where were we? Oh right! I finished the responsibility of the worker bees, and now I will talk about the last bee found in the beehive. The drone bee. Like I said before they mate with the queen. What a great job?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        Anyway, that means they have a big responsibility in                fertilizing eggs. Without them, no more bees can be produced. Is that a bad thing or a good thing? I will figure it out soon. In my opinion, the best part about drone bees is that they don’t sting! So if only one kind of bee in the beehive actually stings, shouldn’t I be less scared? Maybe I’m not so scared anymore. Yes, I feel like I am one step closer to loving bees. Wait, is that bee on the wall? Just ignore it. I am doing it! I am watching without…AHHHHH! Where did it go? I need to get out of here!

 

No stinger!!!!

 

     This is it.  I am facing my fear. I have waited too long for this moment! But first, let’s review everything I have learned about bees:

 

 1.They have an amazing history dating back millions of years.

 2.Yes their sting does hurt, but most bees don’t actually sting.    3.There are more positives to bees then there are negatives.

 4.They make honey which is delicious and good for you.

 5.Bees provide food for animals and humans by pollinating most plants.

 6.They have some pretty cool relatives.

 

Wait, is that it? I guess it’s time. I am going to walk past a bee. I just have to find one! AAAAHHHHH!! What was that? I felt something on my arm! Was that a bee sting? It was, and you know what? It actually didn’t hurt that much. All this time I have been terrified of bees and the thought of getting stung, when really I was making it seem much worse than it was! Maybe I should start looking into bee-keeping as a hobby... AHHHHH! SPIDER!! Looks like I found a new fear.

 

A man-made beehive

The Beehive

 

A natural beehive

A Bee's Lifecycle

Becomes an adult bee and leaves the cell

The larva reaches full growth

The queen lays the egg in a blood cell

 The larva spins a cacoon around itself and becomes a pupa

The worker bee feeds the hatched larva

The worker bee caps the cell with the larva in it