ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Save the Bees

I Saved a Bee’s Life Today — Here’s How

Photo by Severnjc via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Disclaimer: Bees can sting you. If you know that you are allergic to bees then please don’t try to catch them. Protect yourself. Avoid them, stay safe, and carry an EpiPen (an epinephrine auto-injector) after consulting with a doctor for emergencies if you know that you’re allergic and are going to be in an area exposed to bees.

It was a day like almost any other. I made my way to one of my favorite coffee shops, ordered an espresso, and sat down across from a large storefront window to watch the world go by and write. And there, struggling on the glass-like some lost, floundering spider, was a wayward lost little bumblebee.

Many people may know that bees serve a crucial role in the ecological system of the world. They are cross-pollinators, meaning that they actively seek out the male pollen from plants and flowers and then spread them to the female part of flowers and plants, allowing fertilization of crops, flowers, and fruits.

And here I had a little bee right in front of me, fighting to escape the confines of a building so that he could go out and be a bee — flying around doing the job that only a bumblebee can do. My own grandfather raised honeybees, so I freely admit that I may be biased in my respect for the crucial role they play in our lives.

So how can people help? How can you, dear readers, save a bee?

Step 1. Remain calm. Contrary to popular misconceptions, bees don’t want to sting people. They generally aren’t aggressive unless they, the hive, or their queen are threatened. Don’t start swatting at them, swinging your arms wildly about, agitating the air around the bee, or running around scared. If you are allergic to them slowly back away, putting distance between the two of you, and just leave the bee alone. It will leave you alone. Remember, the bee wants to go outside to pollinate plants and return to its hive — not sting you.

Step 2. If possible, open a nearby window or door for the bee to fly away on its own. Sometimes they really do just need a little help. Once they realize they can fly away, they do.

Step 3. If unable to open a window or nearby doorway, try to find a small cup or glass, preferably with a thin outer edge. Why? You’re going to delicately place the glass over the bee as it is crawling along, cupping it and trapping it in place. With a thick outer-edged glass you run the risk of accidentally smashing the bee, damaging or disfiguring it.

Step 4. Use a thin piece of paper — like an envelope, card, or page of the newspaper — and very slowly lift up the edge of the glass just a tiny bit — then carefully slide the piece of paper over the opening of the glass. The bee will usually be crawling around the inside of the cup and won’t be smashed by the piece of paper. Remember, their wings and feet are delicate! Just remain calm. You’re almost there!

Step 5. Carefully use your hand to keep the piece of paper in place, covering the opening of the glass. This will enable you to transport the temporarily trapped bee outside without possibly being stung.

Step 6. Release the bee! Walk outside with the trapped bee and set them free! Remove the piece of paper and hold the cup from you at about an arm’s distance away. The bee will sense the wind and outside air and will spread its wings to fly away to help pollinate plants and feed people. Be sure you release the bee away from any doorways or open windows so that it doesn’t inadvertently go back inside — and be doubly sure that you release the bee away from any pedestrians or people passing by.

Remember, some people are very afraid or bees or could be allergic — you don’t want to injure anyone or get the bee agitated by releasing it near people.

Hopefully, the following article has helped you to save a wayward bee if you happen to come across one while indoors. While honeybees are not technically endangered, many species of bee are on endangered lists or are close to being placed on one. They serve a vital ecological role in our world as pollinators of fruits, flowers, and plants — and they also make honey. Whether you enjoy it in your oatmeal, on toast, in desserts, or to sweeten your tea, without bees we wouldn’t be able to enjoy honey. Remember, every bee life is precious.

Photo by Jon Sullivan via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

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Lyndon Moore

Lyndon Moore

is a military veteran, nurse, martial artist, writer, and world traveler. He has been published in the O-Dark-Thirty Review, a literary journal for veterans.