A woman finds a queen bee in trouble ... and creates a bond with her that exceeds all imagination!
In early spring 2017, Fiona Presley was busy gardening in her Scottish home when her eye fell on an insect that was crawling near her feet. It was a queen bumblebee!
To avert the risk of stepping on the queen bumblebee, Fiona picked it up and only then did she realize something strange about the queen bumblebee's appearance --- the hairy insect had no wings.
The woman offered it some sugared water and placed it on a nearby flower, hoping that the queen bumblebee would be able to take care of herself. But when, a few hours later, she went back to check, she found it still there, motionless.
With a storm on the horizon, Fiona decided to do something more to help the queen bumblebee.
via Lars Chittka
Fiona decided to take the unusual queen bumblebee without wings into her house to keep her warm, to feed her with more sugared water and keep her safe from the rain. But the storm continued into the next day, so she was forced to keep the queen bee inside for two consecutive nights.
The compassionate woman contacted the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which is responsible for studying these delicate insects and sensitizing citizens to the problem of their protection. After explaining the situation, she learned that it was probably a virus that was responsible for the mutation that had not allowed the queen bee's wings to develop, and that, abandoned to herself, she had very little chance of survival.
Fiona then had two possible choices: Let the queen bee die alone or try to give her an opportunity to continue to live. She chose the latter and activated all of her creativity.
The queen bee, now officially baptized Bee, needed a garden where she could feed herself, be safe from possible predators, and not suffer the competition from her winged relatives, all much faster than her. So Fiona built for Bee, a small personalized and fenced-in garden, full of lush flowers from which to suck nectar.
Every day Fiona went to check and make sure that she was fine, bringing her sugared water as a reinforcement to her diet and moving her back into the house when the weather became more capricious. At this point, something surprising started to happen.
Whenever Fiona stopped near Bee's garden and opened the cover, the queen bee came out from her hiding place to greet her. The insect climbed up on the flower stems until she reached the woman's hand, demonstrating a feeling that looked very much like "joy".
The woman began to admire this behavior with growing interest, aware of being faced with a one-in-a-million phenomenon.
Bee seemed to love not being alone and her contact with the woman seemed to reinvigorate the little insect, giving it vitality even in the days when it seemed more lethargic. Bumblebees are extremely social creatures, and Bee was the living proof.
Friends and family were aware at first glance that between Fiona and Bee there was a real bond, which obviously did not consist of smiles and words but instead of small reactions and nuances, clearly visible even for an untrained eye.
The relationship went on for several months, but despite the extraordinary events, Bee's biological clock had taken its own inevitable steps. In nature, queen bumblebees live only one season --- they build the nest in spring, organize a colony that flies in the fields for the whole summer and then they die, when autumn comes, leaving the larvae of future queen bees that will hatch the following spring.
So one day, five months after her rescue, Bee fell asleep in Fiona's hand, and never woke up again. Bee was then buried in a sheltered and discreet corner of the garden, accompanied by her favorite flower.
Fiona knew it would happen, and accepted the event with the knowledge that she had given her little friend a happy and much longer life than nature had foreseen for her.
This experience has taught her, and all of us, that there are many aspects that we have not yet discovered about this world and the beings that inhabit it. A small insect named Bee has shown "feelings" that no expert had ever recorded in her species, and this makes us see these insects from a totally different perspective.
The incident also became known to Lars Chittka, Professor of Sensory and Behavioural Ecology at Queen Mary University in London, who emphasized the extraordinary nature of the event, concluding: "Sometimes we need affectionate external observations, like those of Mrs. Presley, to generate new points of view and open new horizons."