Yesterday a professional bee remover scraped approximately 80 pounds of honeycomb from the cavity between my exterior and interior walls. The process was neat and efficient: first, he drilled holes into the outer wall; next, he sprayed poison in through the holes; finally, he opened up a section of the wall and began removing massive amounts of dead bees and honey.
I know it had to be done. The bees were swarming, seeking nectar from nearby trees, affecting my neighbors as well as me. They were multiplying rapidly, resting on the walls, escaping the heat of the inner sanctum.
But I felt horrible as I watched bees drop, leaden, hearing their surprisingly heavy thuds as they landed, twitching in their death throes, into little piles on my balcony and patio.
I’d hoped I could arrange a bee relocation over eradication, but our state has mandated that all wild colonies be exterminated. This is due, supposedly, to the influx of the Africanized honey bee, which is aggressive and attacks unprovoked. The Africanized bee looks exactly like a honey bee; the only way to distinguish between the two is through (purported) expensive DNA testing.
I cannot help but believe the state took the cheap and easy way out. And the fact that destroying wild colonies aids commercial beekeepers, much as eradicating all privately-grown citrus trees did years ago….well, I sense a hidden agenda.
My back patio is virtually bee-free now. A few lonesome souls escaped, hovering, confused, desperate. Soon they will die, alone and hungry, and I can enter my patio safely again, finally able to pick the weeds that have sprouted alarmingly in the past few weeks.
In the wake of my sadness and (yes) guilt, I must remind myself that death and destruction are not necessarily bad…or even the end. Sometimes, wonder springs forth from the ashes, giving birth to something solid, stronger and far more enduring…in life and in love, in sweetness and in bitterness.
I deeply regret the harm I caused to other innocent living creatures. Rest in peace, my friends.