Etymology: < dog n.1 + bee n.1 With sense 1 compare dog n.1 2. In sense 2 apparently partly with allusion to a dog as something large and coarse, and partly with the intended meaning ‘fly that bites dogs’; compare dogfly n.
1. A male honeybee or drone.
1530 J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 214/2 Doggebee, bourdon.
1847 J. O. Halliwell Dict. Archaic & Provinc. Words, Dog-bee, a drone, or male bee.
1880 All Year Round 5 June 91/1 A dog-bee, for instance, is a drone—a coarse, common, inferior bee that makes no honey.
2. A fly, as a horsefly or a fly that bites dogs. Cf. dogfly n. 1. rare.
1838 J. Bosworth Dict. Anglo-Saxon Lang at Hund, Hundes-beo, dog-bee, dog or horse-fly.
1882 Ogilvie's Imperial Dict. (new ed.) II., Dog-bee, a fly troublesome to dogs.