by Elizabeth Ann (San Antonio, Texas)
The Patron Saint of Bee Rescue?
I have an odd bee encounter I would like to share with you. It happened on a hot summer day, when I was a little kid. I was just walking along in our yard, looking for something to do, when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, moving above me. I turned to look, and there was a huge bumblebee, suspended in the air like a flying saucer. I mean it looked like it was the size of a golf ball!
I started to walk away, but it seemed to follow me. So, I started walking around a large shrub that was way taller than me to see if that bee was really following me. And yes indeed! That bee followed me all the way around! Now being confronted by a bee was certainly scary to me, but by the bigfoot of all bees? He made me rather nervous. So, I started walking away from him, but he continued to follow. I started to walk faster, but he flew faster. So naturally, I ran.
As I was running, trying to out think that bee, I passed the neighbor’s house. They had left the side entrance into their garage wide open. So I ran into their garage and hid behind the open door. That giant bee followed me in! So, as he headed in, I ran out, closing the door behind me.
Over the years I have often thought of that bee. Why was he following me? It’s not often an insect actively seeks interaction with a human, other than to sting, or bite, or to latch on for a few sips. Nonetheless, I had sealed him in a huge oven. I imagine he quickly succumbed to the conditions of his prison, and his desiccated carapace lay hollow on the floor, an empty monument of his former mighty self, and at some point, and probably unnoticeable, rendered into unrecognizable shards. A sad fate for such a mighty bee.
I confess, I do feel a bit guilty, but I have learned to deal with the guilt. I save bees (and other insects) who have been trapped in windows, weak after relentlessly slamming their heads against the invisible wall. I bring them a small bit of sugar water, set them outside, and when they are rested, off they fly.
My hope is that my actions will spare me from any bee-here-after that might be out there, lurking in the darkness.
You’re doing great work!