Pete stays inside a small greenhouse at night, to be safe from coyotes and warm in winter, cooler in summer. He always greets me as I walk past his translucent windows, whether I’m going to or from my office. Sunday night however, Pete was calling the minute he saw me, and not just a casual greeting. Something was wrong.
I opened the door and stepped inside. When I turned off the fan, I heard a weak buzz. Pete was still anxious, and watched me closely from the shelf opposite his food and water. At first I couldn’t see anything even with a flashlight, but when I shone the beam on Pete’s water bucket there was a wood bee, swimming very slowly, exhausted.
Around here, we appreciate wood bees (also called carpenter bees) because they patrol their home area and will literally chase or fight off the red wasps. Since I’ve already been painfully stung three times this year, I say ‘Thank you’ to any bees hovering around me.
I got a small wooden stake, coaxed the bedraggled wood bee up on it and then carried the stake outside to a huge sage plant nearby. The nearly-drowned wood bee was visibly panting, but after he’d rested a few moments, he crawled off the stake onto a grass blade and clung to it.
Going back inside the greenhouse, I told Pete he’d saved the wood bee’s life and I was proud of him for being so compassionate. He jumped across to his food dish and water bucket, and carefully peered inside when I shone the flashlight on it, to make sure the bee was indeed rescued. Then he relaxed and started crunching kibble.
Was he afraid the bee was going to sting him? I don’t think so. It takes a lot to scare Pete. (He’s the size of a cocker spaniel.) Had he nearly swallowed the poor bee while getting a drink? Or did he honestly figure that a beneficial insect in distress needed rescue?
I’d like to think it was altruism on Pete’s part. He’s one cool cat.
Yay for Pete. Any friend of an enemy of red wasps is a friend of mine.