Bumble bees are not just for killing
When you run a website like mine you get to see a daily report of what people typed in the little search box that landed them on your site. This is anonymous—it’s just a list of phrases—but it’s fascinating. Every day I get dozens of these entries—misspellings and all—that show what was on someone’s mind when they landed here at Honey Bee Suite.
I mention this because every day my list features five or six people who want to know how to kill bumble bees. Bumble bees! This amazes me. Bumble bees seem so innocuous, so friendly, so unlikely to cause anyone distress. Quite frankly, I can understand someone wanting to kill honey bees, but bumble bees? Not in my wildest dreams.
That anyone would want to kill a hardworking creature that’s out minding its own business is puzzling. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to get stung by a bumble bee, and they don’t chase people—so what is it? Even little kids are taught that bumble bees are friendly—cartoon bees are always smiling, very yellow, and annoyingly good-natured.
Perhaps it’s a case of mistaken identity. Something like a wasp is chasing them—or going for their ham sandwich—and they assume it’s a bumble bee. Or maybe our all-encompassing love affair with insecticides makes us think that the only good bug is a dead bug. Or maybe it’s movies and television that show impossibly large man-eating insects doing just that.
It’s probably a good thing my search terms are anonymous because I’d like to ask each of these people why they want to kill bumble bees. Actually I’d like to grab them by the collar and shake them, but I try to stay within the law for the most part.
My best guess is that we are dealing with a total lack of awareness of the “good bugs”—of pollinators, decomposers, natural enemies of agricultural pests, and insects that become food for birds and lizards and frogs. Short of shaking some sense into people, the best we can do is to keep educating those around us—every single chance we get.