I think people are confusing bees with wasps. Bees only attack when they feel threatened but wasps (vespa) are those psycho sting-happy, you-dare-venture-near-me?! Literally good-for-NOTHING insects that just live to serve their Queen and terrorise everyone and everything near them in her name. Bees, however, help with pollination, environment and make honey.
"Lo" is used as the definite article when preceding a masculine noun that begins with z (such as 'lo zoo'), s + consonant (such as 'lo specchio'), and/or p + consonant (such as 'lo psicologo'), though p + consonant is rather uncommon and typically not taught when learning basic Italian.
This applies to SINGULAR form - you contract an article whenever the noun starts with a vowel, regardless of the gender. So yes - la ape -- l' ape. A masculine singular one would be..il uomo -- l' uomo. But ape also ends with -e and so it's not that easy to tell which gender it has (usually a SINGULAR feminine noun ends with -a, a masucline noun ends with -o). We kind of have to learn that :)!
Why can't I say "The bee eats sugar" instead of "The bee eats the sugar"? Being german-speaking I don't have the problem with translating ape to bee :) But to remember it just think of the well-known vespa as the two-wheel motorcycle and ape as the little three-wheel transporter.