When pests become pets with portraits
Every now and again something happens here at Honey Bee Suite that makes all the time and effort worthwhile. I now have a new-found hero in the UK and, with his permission, I’m sharing the sequence of events.
It started with an e-mail like a zillion others:
Think I’ve just made a big mistake. I’ve just paid for someone to come out and get rid of (kill) the mining bees we have nesting in our front lawn. We have two small children and did not do our homework on [the bees]. And I now feel terrible about what I have just committed to have done to them. I paid by credit card over the phone just tonight, and guys are coming out Friday morning…OMG what should I do? I can’t live with the thought of killing thousands of living, harmless little creatures.
I immediately wrote back the first thing that came to mind: “Call them back and cancel.” Never for a moment did I think he would actually cancel, and with advice like that, I didn’t expect to hear from him again. But a few days later, more e-mail:
Did not get rid of them, you may be glad to hear. I will try and get a photo to send to you. But we have rain. Hopefully that has not affected them too much.
This made me smile. Last week he paid an exterminator. This week, he’s worried the bees are getting wet. Sounds like major progress to me. I’m patting myself on the back.The next message contained a photo he found on the web:
This is definitely what we have or had in our garden. Very small, very dark. This is s Google image.
I wrote back and told him it looked like an Andrena. Then, finally, I received this:
Hi, just got some real good photos of our pet bees 🙂 Hope these pics would clarify exactly what kind of mining bees our garden is home to. Many thanks.
Pet bees? I’m bowled over. And not only are they now pets, but they have portraits. Un-bee-lievable.
I wanted to share this story because I have noticed time and again that it is easy to kill something that is nameless and faceless. But once a person learns the name of a creature and learns to identify it by sight, it takes on a personality and a value. This is why I encourage photographs, and this is why I spend so much time trying to help people with bee identifications.
I am grateful to Edward Traill, not only for saving the bees, but for allowing me to use his story. To me, Edward is bee guardian of the year. He deserves it.
Honey Bee Suite