Did you ever see a copy of The How & Why Wonder Book of Ants and Bees? We had one at home and it was my only means of exposure to bees... till now. Of course there was National Geographic and other similar television shows, but we had only the standard local channels at home while growing up, and those programs were accessible on cable.
I'm not sure why but I didn't see any bees in our garden during my childhood. It was only months ago that I started spotting those little winged creatures buzzing about the hedge composed of lantana (which draws quite a lot of insects, I just discovered recently). Frankly, I don't really care for bees -- they're not much to look at, and there's the stinging thing going on. No one wants to run the risk of being stung by a bee, and there are many other creatures roaming about our garden that go about their business and don't pay attention to humans.
"They're so ugly!" I told a friend once after snapping a few photos of a bee hopping from one flower to another; the pictures were clear enough to let me zoom in and still see sharp images of the tiny creature, furry portions, bulging eyes and all. After watching an assortment of butterflies and moths make their way around the hedge of colorful blooms several times a day, the drab appearance of bees looked even more drab.
Pretty soon I became accustomed to the presence of the bees and continued photographing them. It probably took a nice picture to help me appreciate them and accept their less-than-charming appearance. Well, capturing an image of a little creature engrossed in its "job" in its little portion of the hedge of pretty blooms can change one's prejudices. While life goes on around them, while political elections take place, airplanes crash, a royal birth is highly anticipated, news of corruption blows up, petty quarrels happen on social media -- while all these take place, the little bees go about quietly doing what they are meant to do. And what a worker each one is: beautiful flowers keep blooming all around because of it. Because of this insect that I found so ugly, there is much beauty to appreciate in the foliage around our home.
I found a video of a segment from the Discovery Channel which shows, in less than 5 minutes, how honey is made. These bees are amazing! But then so is human ingenuity, which is responsible for coming up with new and improved ways to do just about anything -- including making good use of that all-natural gooey fluid from honeybees. I shall never think of these winged creatures as ugly again, and I hope I never get stung!