Bees in a Tree
I was with a land developer. We were scouting a large tract of land about to be developed into a new community of homes. Picking our way through the tangled underbrush, we came into a small clearing. At its center was the fallen, hollow trunk of what had been a very large tree. In the hollow of the trunk was the largest honey bee hive I’ve ever seen – about the size of a minivan. I have no idea how many bees were in it – millions, maybe.
I told the developer that I would call a friend, a beekeeper, who could come and relocate bees. The developer appeared to think it was a good idea. We were in a far-flung forest, too far from civilization to have a cell phone signal. I drove away, as soon as we finished our trek. Once in range to make a call, I phoned my friend. He agreed to come and get the bees, immediately.
The next day my friend called. He had arrived at the hive in less than four hours of my call. But, he was too late. The developer had already saturated the old tree with gasoline, lit it, and burned every bee.
Bees in a House
I was called to a 19th century, antebellum home to discuss the feasibility of renovations. The owner pointed out where a years-old beehive was built inside the walls. The bees had been so productive that honey was oozing through the 150-year-old plaster, and dripping down, through seams in the tattered wallpaper, in long strands of sticky sweetness.
Again, I called a beekeeper. Again, though he arrived only six hours later, the impatient owner had already drilled holes in the plaster, and poured in gallons of insecticide. No bee survived.
Our objective, as activists on behalf of the environment, has to be nothing more than simply educating people. The only lesson that need be taught is : THERE ARE OPTIONS. Habitat murder is not an answer – ever.
I have never seen a situation that mandated instant, emergency control measures, such as killing bees in the wild, in the earliest stages of land development exploration; which by the way, is exactly when such things are always discovered. There’s always time. There are always options.
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