Halfway home from school yesterday, I noticed a black-and-yellow insect batting itself against the rear window of my car.
When I got home, my youngest son came out to greet me as I was opening the hatchback. “Whatcha looking for?” he asked, as I peered into the back of the car.
“Looking for the bee,” I said, carefully moving grocery bags. “It was trying to get out on the way home—maybe it flew out when I opened the door.”
I moved another grocery bag, and there she was on my school binder: not a wasp or a yellowjacket as I had feared, but a honeybee. “Oh, there you are,” I greeted her. I put my finger down in her path, and she obligingly walked up onto it.
“Careful, he’ll sting you!” exclaimed my son in alarm.
“Only if I scare her,” I replied, lifting her out of the car. I’d hoped the feel of fresh air would encourage her to fly, but she only walked up the back of my hand.
“She doesn’t want to leave,” observed my son.
“She’s exhausted.” I carried the dazed bee over to a bush and let her walk off onto a leaf. We left her there to recover from her ordeal and took the groceries in.
Later I was wondering how far a bee typically flies away from its hive. It seems quite likely that she was too far away from home to find her way back. Poor little lost bee.