Fiona Presly was gardening outside her Scotland home when she noticed a fuzzy bumblebee at her feet. In fear of stepping on it, she leaned down to get a better look and realized she wasn’t your typical bee.
“I picked her up and noticed there was something peculiar,” Presly told The Dodo. “She had no wings.”
Unlike many of the other bumblebees she was used to seeing, this particular be happened to be the queen. Queen bees do have wings; however, this particular insect seemed to not only be missing theirs, but they were confused and disoriented as well.
Presly wasn’t exactly sure how to help the seemingly injured queen bee, so she decided to try setting out some sugar water.
The compassionate woman went out to check on the bee a while later but was saddened to see that it hadn’t moved. Adding to Presly’s worry about the bee was the fact that there was a heavy storm that was set to hit the area soon.
“I took her inside that night, kept her warm and fed her more,” she decided. “I thought I would put her out the next day, but the weather was bad then too. So I kept her inside.”
Since she isn’t a bumblebee expert, Presly called the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for ideas on how to help.
After some discussion, it was determined that the sick bee most likely was suffering from a virus that causes issues with wing development. Queen bees have a very slim chance of survival if they are unable to fly.
Presly wasn’t comfortable with the fact that she would die if left outside, and since the bee was otherwise healthy, she decided to give her a chance to survive. So – she made a garden for her new insect friend.
The queen bumblebee, fittingly named ‘Bee,’ had her very own private flower garden enclosed with netting. A pollen buffet!
Every day, Presly would check on her little furry bee and would bring her sugar water. When the weather would turn bad, she would bring Bee back inside. Soon – it was clear that these two were beginning to form quite the bond.
Presly and Bee developed a daily routine, and it was so amazing to see the endangered insect thriving despite her horrible odds. But soon – something even more incredible began to happen.
To the surprise of Presly – Bee started to emerge from the foliage as soon as she noticed her nearby. As if to run and greet her.
“She’d walk toward me and crawl on my hand,” Presly said. “She seemed so happy to see me. It made me stop and think — there’s something going on here.”
It was really a touching moment for Presly; it was clear that the bee was exhibiting signs of actual joy and happiness.
“It was like her whole being came to life. I think she liked the fact that she wasn’t alone,” Presly said. “I think she thrived on company, even from another species. They are naturally sociable creatures. That would be in their instinct.”
Bee and Presly were absolutely smitten with one another – becoming close, dear friends.
Queen bees don’t have a very long lifespan. Normally, their springs and summers would be spent building a nest; then they would mate, start a colony, then die during the fall. Thanks to Presly, Bee outlasted all of the queen bees that year. But soon, her time came to an end.
After five incredible months of love and bonding with Presly, Bee went to sleep in the palm of Presly’s hand and never woke up.
“I was sad when she died, but I knew it was going to happen. She was already older than she should have been,” Presley stated. “It had been very special to stay with a wee creature, like Bee. The fact that she lived more than just a few weeks amazed me. That was rewarding in itself.”
Bee was buried in the garden next to her favorite flower, and Presly will never forget the friendship and bond that they forged. It has completely changed her outlook on insects and her view of them.
“Now I view all insects in a different light. It’s changed my perception of what insects are like,” she said. “I think there’s an awful lot we don’t know.”
Although Presly isn’t entirely sure what Bee felt during those wonderful five months, she’d like to think that it was really something special.
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Source: The Dodo