By the time a bee or anything we think might be a bee gets close enough to identify, most of us are already 50 yards away screaming like maniacs.
So it's hard to identify the difference between the different kinds of little yellow stingers.
Fortunately, an anonymous Reddit user—account deleted—recently posted a very helpful guide to "Yellow Stripey Things" that should help anyone who's ever been alarmed by the sound of buzzing.
Here's the chart for all your yellow stripe-related needs:
But not everything with yellow stripes is a bee. Nor can they all hurt you.
The post describes a Carpenter Bee as:
- acts like it's hot s**t but can't actually hurt you
- has no concept of what class is
- lives in your fence
- flies aggressively to try and scare you away
This is important information!
- is the bee that needs help the most
- excellent pollenator
- very friendly
- can only sting once
If they're not actively flying right next to you, bees are fun to learn about!
- also pollenates stuff very well
- so fat it shouldn't be able to fly
- will let you pet it without getting agitated
- actually a flying panda
And people have noticed they have really cute tuchuses.
And the next one is not even a bee and does not have a stinger. It is just a fly in a cool disguise.
I bet you never heard of the hoverfly:
- wears yellow stripey uniform to scare you
- actually can't do anything to you
- hangs out in fields
- follows you if it likes you
If you ever have trouble staying awake, just remember the world contains multiple kinds of wasps: the stuff of nightmares.
There's the paper wasp:
- looks scary, but will only attack if provoked
- sting hurts like hell
- will chase you if you swat at it
- has no concept of personal space
But here is the one we all dread...
...everyone's favorite (read: archenemy), the yellow jacket:
- wants your food and will fight you for it
- never leaves you alone
- will sting you just for the hell of it
- is just an a**hole
They are basically evil. But they do serve a role in the ecosystem, so we still should let them live...really far away.
If the handy chart is to be trusted...
...the cicada killers aren't nearly as scary as they look:
- looks like Satan's nightmares
- exclusively eats cicadas
- can sting you, but usually won't
- still pretty terrifying
...plus they have a really cool name.
But this last guy looks like something out of science fiction.
Finally, the dirt, or mud, dauber acts as the post's final "stinger:"
- almost never stings anything except spiders
- builds nest in the ground
- hoards spiders in said nest
- coolest looking of the wasps
Reddit users appreciated the information, but were still afraid and still HATED bees. Snessrek commented:
I would really love to make bumble bee friends, problem is I start panicking whenever I see smol yellow bugs because I don't want to get stung so I just run away lol :(
On the other hand, umuntu_ngumuntu is incredibly brave:
I LOVE hoverflies! I always let them land on me.
gingerquery was also unafraid:
To add to this, a sting from a Cicada Killer is about the same as someone poking you with pushpin. Not pleasant, but not worth getting worked up over. It's hard to get one to sting you anyway; you have to be messing with their burrow or trying to take a cicada nymph from them.
Source: I work in a natural science exhibit and collect cicada exuviae.
n.b. these's also a chance the yellow pattern on their tail will be in the shape of a crown which is pretty neat imho.
In fact, some dirt daubers are actually fighting on our side, according to Animal-Kingdom:
Dirt daubers are awesome. I came home one time and my wife tells me a yellow jacket stung her and she left it in the bathroom with the door closed. I go in with some wasp spray ready to kill it, when I see a dirt dauber standing over a dead, decapitated yellow jacket on the sink. The dirt dauber killed the b*****d. Ha!
Of course, everyone loves bumblebees, including skelekey:
I usually freak out long before they come close enough to be able to identify them. Except those big black bumblebees. Those things are cute af
And legbet guesses some other kinds of bees are cool too:
the first time i met a mud dauber i was starstruck. it was like seeing a fairy irl
Ok fine, all kinds of bees and wasps are cool. We admit it!