One hot summer day I was doing work in the garden, thinking of some of the different environmental processes happening alongside me. This day, the honey bees were on my mind. I recalled their critical role in pollinating many of the plants that would harvest later.
I saw the bees dancing all over the field, bouncing from one flower to the next. I took a mental snap shot of the beauty they were creating around me.
Just as I was about to switch projects, I heard a terrible buzzing sound coming from directly behind me. I wondered what it could be as no one else was on the field that day and no equipment was left on.
I whipped around only to find a battle going on. A wasp had jumped onto the back of a honey bee and was trying to kill it.
Wasps are omnivores, eating plants, insects, and even animals. I have seen them chewing on dead worms after a rain storm and attacking other small insects. I had no idea that they preyed on bees too!
Wasps have only caused me trouble before. Their relentless stings have caused a lot of pain and crawling up ladders in the dark to take out a hive is never fun. Wasps are one of the very few species I put in the “pointless” category.
As I witnessed the rag-tag wasp going at the poor honey bee, I thought of how this little battle was really a fight between the prosperity of my field and the wasps nests overall strength. That’s when I made the decision to act.
Thinking quickly, I grabbed the fork I was using to transplant starts into the field. I plunged the prongs right between the wasp and the bee, separating the two. The wasp quickly jumped right back onto the bee. I swung my trusty fork back at the wasp. This time it took a bit to try and go back. After a few back and forth blows between me, the wasp, and the bee, the wasp finally gave up and took towards the hills.
The bee was saved! It too took off quickly after the encounter. But, not without sitting and staring at me for a second. I thought the bee was trying to say “thank you” and I hoped it would tell all of its’ bee friends that I was friend, not foe.
The quick interaction between me, the bee, and the wasp would only make a small difference in the health of the hive and the struggles of the wasps. But, every little thing you do will make a difference. Even if it is the smallest act, the kindness and teamwork built by small actions taken day in and day out will be the ultimate reward.
Jake Frazier is an outdoor enthusiast and the owner of Residential Ecology, a sustainable ecological resource management company. He uses existing natural systems to improve the quality of life for both humans and the Earth. Jake is interested in permaculture, living systems and exploring. Connect with him on LinkedIn.