Consider The Humble Bee [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Consider The Humble Bee

11-21-2004, 11:53 AM

Did you realize that the Bee, Ant and Wasp were related? Well The Bug Doc is here to tell you everything you ever wondered about these little baby's!!!!
The Order is Hymenoptera (Hi-men-op-tera) and it's BIG! 108,000 species worldwide, 17,000+ in North America alone!
You might find them in the shed, up-side down on the floor, I ran into some last week while removing some siding at my second job. I moonlight as a carpenter ( The Bug Doc thing never paid real good, I do it mostly for the .......Honey, not the Money!)This time of the year is a good time to talk about them, cause, well they get upset easy when they see a guy running around in a Lab coat.

They are for the most part a hardbody order and quite animated!. Two distinct pairs of wings are common, but some have no wings at all. Adults have "Chewing" mouthparts, and some Bee's and Wasp's have.....Tongues! And they use them to drink! (2 Bees sat down at a bar, one ordered 13 beers and.....) Oh, sorry I'm getting sidetracked.

Bees, Ants and Wasps have "Waists" called Pedicels. It's between the Thorax and Abdomen. (You remember, 7th grade Science class?) Females of most species have well developed Ovipositers (Easy Doc, this is a family show!) Which in some is modified into a Stinger!!!!
There nests, or Hives, can be above or below ground, simple or complex made of mud or paper. Most often they are solitary, not social! But some have complex social structures.

Bees - Family Apoidea - 3500 species in North America. They are specialized for feeding on flowers for Pollen and Honey. All have Branched, or a kind of body hair to some degree. Females visit Flowers and collect Pollen, Males and some Parasitic Bees cannot do this! The females have a "Sack" on the hind legs that allows this collection.
Honey Bees and Bumble Bees are the only ones to produce Honey! Most species of Bees CAN STING!

Wasps - Family Vespidse - Medium to large size, dull brown or black, with yellow or white stripes or "Bands" on the body. Some are solitary, others have small social structures and include Paper Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Hornets!
Most are viscious repeating stingers if disturbed !
Spider Wasps and Sphecid Wasps are lone "Hunting" Wasps and include Cricket Hunters, Mud Daubers and the Great Golden Digger Wasp!

Ants - Family Formicidae - A most common insect with a most complex social structure! They differ from Wasps in having Elbowed Antennae! (and for the most wings) Most are either Predators or Scavengers (be carefull of pets, small children and lunch) But some are "Farmers" harvesting seeds, raising Aphids, or growing Fungus, amongus! They will bite or sting if disturbed!

Of course, this begs the musical question...ARE THEY FISH FOOD???????
Yes! Studies of stomach contents of Trout and other gamefish species concludes, Hymenoptera IS on the dinner menu!

1 - Bees have on the order of 12,000 Tactile hairs, and 5000 "Smell Hollows" on their antennae!
2 - Adult "Cow Killer" ants are ferocious fighters with a sting so painfull, it is said to be able to kill a Cow!!!
3 - Sawflies (yes there are Sawflies) cannot "Saw" anything, and they are not even Flys, but a type of Wasp!
4 - Horntails (yes) have a slender ovipositor for "drilling" into plants and soft wood to deposit eggs!

This concludes this "Stinging" account :eek:
class dismissed

The Bug Doctor

12-16-2004, 08:16 AM
One of the streams that I visit has some nearby beekeepers. Often the bees stray out to the stream and buzz around me as I fish. To see a guy waving around a fly rod and trying not to get stung by a bee is an odd sight.

As for being fish food (at least on my stream), they seem to get passed up since I often see their corpses floating by in the current. But who knows--perhaps I'm only seeing the 10% uneaten ones drifting by and the others are getting gobbled down. Nevertheless, I still cast my funky bee pattern out there now and then and so far I've had no takers.

Interesting post.

salt dog
12-17-2004, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the elucidation on bee esoteria. Indeed bees are good fish food. Their patterns ride high on the water and easier to see than ants, at least ones with lots of yellow. Good terrestrial to use when its too early for grasshoppers, especially on small/medium size woodland streams.