Thursday, July 4, 2013

The bee's knees

Suzanna has always had a soft spot for injured or unwell animals... or creatures in danger. She's the one who came to me with a mouse held in her garden gloves, before Chloe, the neighbourhood cat, could catch it as it scampered from leaf pile to leaf pile on the road past our house. If a bird hits our window, Suzanna will put it into a little box and sit nearby until it regains its senses and flies away.

So I wasn't surprised when she called me to the back step the other day, and showed me a bee that wasn't moving very much. "How can I help him?" she asked.

I shook my head. I've been finding more dead bees than I like in our yard lately... done in by exhaustion? Pesticides? Colony collapse disorder? Genetically modified plants? Parasites? Our little pollinator friends have so many enemies... humans and our farming/gardening practices being the worst. I'm heartened by the fact that so many people are starting to realize the importance of bees (if you want to see what your produce department would look like without them, click here). The necessity of reducing pesticides and GMOs is becoming more and more obvious to Joe and Jane Public, but I fear that our actions to fix what's broken may not be enough to save our pollinators from extinction. Just yesterday I heard another report about the decimation of bee colonies in Ontario. I haven't the heart to look for Alberta apiary reports because I suspect I already know what my back yard is telling me.

The bee Suzanna showed me seemed to be on his last legs. Actually, he was missing one. I shrugged and said I didn't think there was much she could do, but she wouldn't give up. She went into the house, warmed a bit of honey, and drizzled it on the step beside him. I took a garden fork and gently pushed him to a droplet, and he began to eat, or at least we think that's what he was doing, his little proboscis sucking up the stickiness. I told my girl that though I didn't think it was enough to restore him to health, at least he'd die happy, with a full belly.

Suzanna kept vigil with him for quite some time, before I picked him up with a trowel and carried him to our lupins, where he clung tightly. When I went to check on him later, he was gone, and I couldn't find any fuzzy bee carcasses on the ground...

Though I have my doubts about his survival, I marvel at my girl and her compassion for all God's creatures. For the bees' sake, her sake, and the sake of all our kids, we need to do everything we can to protect our fuzzy little yellow and black friends. So put away your Raid, and get rid of your Black Flag. Our bees and our future generations are counting on us.

I think Suzanna is the bee's knees. As are our bees, our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren...


  1. Without our bees, we will die. But besides that, we should be fighting for their lives anyway. I love bees! We have a bumble bee nest somewhere along our foundation and they somehow get trapped in our basement. Our entire family has spent many minutes, rescuing bees. This chicky will never use anything to harm our furry little friends.

    1. You're right, Laeli, and we should be fighting for the lives of all endangered species. I'm glad your clan is made of bee rescuers too!


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