I read a post below by someone who got on this board because a bee got in the apartment, and he/she was afraid of it. It was met with a lot of sarcasm and a little hostility, and it occured to me that this is not the first time I've seen this kind of reaction on the Bee Forum. Why not give this person the benifit of the doubt? I agree that his/her response is silly, but I sometimes think that we as beekeepers tend to get our noses out of joint too easily, and that we need to get down off of our "high horse".
Most people I know don't realize how imporant honey bees are to our agriculture... that doesn't make them dumb, just uninformed. I've explained this to very smart people, and they had no idea. Use the California almond business as an example, and you'll see folks eye widen appreciably. And in most cases, they'll come to appreciate and admire the honey bee.
As for the fear, I don't think uninformed people who are afraid of stinging insects are foolish. After all, it's a natural tendancy. How many of you would be nervous to hold a scorpion or tarantula in your hand, even though the propensity for a strike in most species is very low? You might do it if an expert told you it was okay, but would you do it on your own? Answer honestly...
Most uninformed folks make no distinction between honey bees and wasp and hornets. They all buzz, they all fly and they all sting. For most people, that's as much as they feel they need to know. It's kind of like snakes. Some people are afraid of all snakes, even though there are far more that are harmless. It's just a reaction brought upon by years of conditioning.
I've read a lot of messages on this board where people sort of hold in contempt those who are afraid of honey bees. They make comments like "...don't they know how few people are really alergic?" Or, "... don't they know that wasps and hornets are carvinorous?" The reality is that most people don't know. It's our job to re-orient thier thinking, not to mock them for their fear.
I know most beekeepers are eager to reach out to the community, and to educate others about honey bees. That is why I find the sarcasm and derision so odd.
Okay, I've said my piece. As I open my virtual umbrella to deflect all of the virtual rotten fruit I expect to be hurled at me from some of you, I ask that you at least consider what I've said.
You may commence flaming me...