[LEPS-L:7911] Re: Wild is as wild does

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Sat Nov 18 12:56:06 EST 2000

I can not determine from Michael's post if his encounters with wasps,
hornets, and bees while butterflying are with or without a net. So I'll add
this. As skippers are one of my favorites and I am a collector, I often end
up with wasps/bees in the net too. Sometimes 5 to 15. In 45 years of
collecting, I may have been stung once or twice. Obviously, I am careful.
But their only focus is to get out.

I think we will all attest to the fact that it is the proximity to the
hive/nest that triggers the attack mode. locally, I have found Yellowjackets
the most aggressive. Yellowjackets attack anything that gets within about
10 -25 feet of their burrow. On the other hand I don't think Mud Daubers
know their stingers can be used as a weapon. You can put your hand on their
tube and they ignore you. (At least that is my experience.)

However, in dealing with any wild creature, a reliance on assumptions and
personal experience inevitably only leads to overconfidence, mishandling,
and attack. Wildlife officials are never surprised when wild animal "pets"
maim their "masters" or eat the family dog (or kid) for lunch. Wild is as
wild does. No one can ever be 100% sure 100% of the time how a creature may
react or what it will do. (This is especially true with humans during
transit hours, or while they are waiting in line.)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Gochfeld" <gochfeld at EOHSI.RUTGERS.EDU>
To: <pollinator at aol.comnospam>; <leps-l at lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Saturday, November 18, 2000 6:22 AM
Subject: [LEPS-L:7910] Nice account: An encounter with honeybees

> Dave Green gave us a nice (and affectionate account) of Honey Bees.
> Every time I wander through a field of flowers searching for skippers, I
> am intrigued by the fact that I never get stung by any of the
> Hymenopteran creatures I disturb from their nectaring.  What's even more
> intriguing is the specificity that emerges when one looks closely at the
> nectaring bees and wasps. Polistes (Paper Wasps) for example, I only see
> on Goldenrod, even when Black Knapweed (Centaurea) is abundantly
> blooming, while conversely Honeybees seem to favor Knapweed over
> Goldenrod (though not to the complete exclusion of the latter.
> A decade ago in Costa Rica, when the Africanized bees made up about half
> the numbers seen "drinking" at various water sources at Palo Verde, I
> couldn't detect any difference in behavior, aggressiveness, or
> disturbance distance between the Africanized (="Killer") and the
> "wild-type" non-native Honeybees which I presume were (Europeanized),
> and thought it would be a really nice thing to study.  This was far from
> the hive.  However, this was the same station where a student was killed
> for inadvertently getting too close to a hive.
> Bee stinging is not a random event, but is linked to threats.
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