Tomato - Tomato? Potato - Potato? Isn't it all in the same?
That's what I thought when it came to the word honeybee/honey bee.
In my research, I came across both terms and figured it was the writer's preference. Either way, it didn't distract me from my studying though it did leave me curious.
Which one is right? Is there one that is truly right? Is it maybe something that differs from culture? Like colour or color? I set out to find the truth and settle it once for all.
After a bit of digging, it turns out there is a term that is more "pollen-itically" correct.
Drum roll, please... "Honey Bee"!
The dyad takes the cake. And the reason why is actually quite interesting. As I searched for my answer a few articles quoted a book by Robert E. Snodgrass called Anatomy of the Honey Bee written way back in 1956!
The preface to the book is quoted here:
"First, it must be explained why the name of the bee appears in the title as two words, though "honeybee" is the customary form in the literature of apiculture. Regardless of dictionaries, we have in entomology a rule for insect common names that can be followed.
It says: If the insect is what its name implies, write the two words separately; otherwise run them together. Thus we have such names as house fly, blow fly and robber fly contrasted with dragonfly, caddicefly and butterfly, because the latter are not flies, just as an aphislion is not a lion and a silverfish is not a fish. The honey bee is an insect and is pre-eminently a bee; "honeybee" is equivalent to "Johnsmith"." -Ananatomy of the Honey Bee by Robert E. Snodgrass (1956)
Now though that may be a bit hard to understand. My gathering from it is: if the second word is what it actually is, they go separately. Like his examples of house fly versus butterfly. A house fly is, in fact, a fly, where a butterfly is not. Makes sense when you think about all the examples.
Although Miriam-Webster's Dictionary states "honeybee" as the spelling with "honey bee" as a variant, I still think the science trumps everything.
Therefore, I am going to stick with Robert on this one and keep things scientific.
From now on (and I am going back to edit and make sure I am consistent) I will keep to the phrase "honey bee".
Now I am not saying anyone using the compound word as a whole is wrong. To each their own of course. I have just decided to make an educated choice considering I am starting out my journey in the beekeeping world, and want to be as informed as possible.