Their secret was in their sauce.
The biggest baddest murder wasp was still no match for an unrelenting mutated ant colony of nearly any tribe. The show of force was staggering. From bottomless tunnels, the ant-formations raided the vulnerable nests of wasps and hornets. I recall a time during the war, I found a hornet the size of my thumb. Surely it wasn’t really that large. I polished the marble and granite monument as I did every day; I observed it slowly dying as a swarm of fire ants dissected it. I initially observed out of fascination at the size of the yellow beast. As my routine around the cenotaph carried; the swarm of ants grew larger. They were so small in comparison but their numbers, my goodness. Piece by piece and in single-file they carried the bits of the dying hornet back to their home.
This efficient productive ant-instinct didn’t change when they did. While the adult hornets could escape upward and attack downward before pulling away; the ants raided their nests and ate their young. Many species of hornet lay eggs in their prey; a stinky treat for a merciless hunter ant.
The bees too, grew larger. Meanwhile the honey made by the bees; as delicious and enticing as it was; caused the ants to stick to themselves and die. They very quickly learned to avoid bees. The heightened instincts caused by the mutations allowed them to sniff out and avoid bee hives altogether. As the ants grew larger; their instinct to avoid the pollinators remained.
There was a pocket of humans in the New-Northern Territory that learned this in time to build apiaries to surround their village. As the endless summer turned into an even longer winter; so too did the bee-village fall.
The bee species, though, thrived globally.