Not sure when it was first drawn (I'm guessing it is a syndicated strip), but it was in the Metro today - as you say, if the timing is intentional, it would really suggest that either he does keep bees, or he knows someone that does.
Err, no, not necessarily 'for sure'. There are a lot out there that don't know the difference between the two species. How many times do beeks get a call about a swarm or nest in a wall and it is a wasp nest? Same with Joe Public and 'bumbles or honeybees'?