Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in egg. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Turn out dough, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold but not hard, about 30 minutes.
Divide dough in half. Roll out each half between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment to 1/4 inch thick. Chill in freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Using a 3-inch bee cutter, cut out shapes. Gather together scraps; reroll, and cut out. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.
Bake cookies until firm and pale golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool.
Brush water on wings of bees, and immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar, shaking off excess. Decorate bodies with royal icing, and immediately sprinkle icing with sanding sugar, shaking off excess. Let cookies set, at least 2 hours. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 1 week.