Can bees commit suicide?
Now I don’t know about you, but I think I witnessed a few bees commit suicide about a month ago.
I was coming home from work and printing something from my dad’s computer when I noticed two bees buzzing at the window. They seemed really angry and buzzing louder as usual. I just assumed they were trapped and needed to get out so I opened the window.
Later that afternoon when I was sitting in front of my own computer I noticed a few bees buzzing inside the windows. The weird thing is I don’t know how or where they got in, but opened the windows so they can find their way outside. I even tried to help one of them out. By this time they seemed very fatigued as if they were struggling the whole day.
It’s only when I went to the bathroom I also noticed a bee by the window, but this one was already dead. I went to check on the first few bees I’ve seen. That’s when I noticed there was a whole lot of bees clumped together:
I counted almost 30 of them. Some of them were already dead.
I thought: Is this the end of the world?
Now some background information. South Africa, particularly the capital city Pretoria, is going through a very bad drought. When I saw the bees and took the pictures it hasn’t rained in months and the whole city was put on water restrictions.
It only occurred to me (too late I might add) that maybe the bees were dying of thirst. Someone once told me we should give water to the bees by pouring a little bit of water or Coca Cola in a small container filled with marbles or pebbles and leave it nearby bees. I did that the day after, but I’m not sure if it did any good.
Now it’s more than a month later, we’ve had rain, but they say it will not be enough. A few days ago I had a strange encounter with a lone bee. I was watching television when I noticed the bee was acting rather strange. It repeatedly flew into the light, almost as if it was a moth.
When I switched off the light it immediately flew to the kitchen light doing the same thing. For some weird reason I thought perhaps the bee is afraid of the dark????
It only occurred to me later that maybe the bee thought the light was also a bee, because it was making a buzzing sound.
When I switched off the kitchen light to go to bed the bee fell silent. I searched for it, but couldn’t find it anywhere! It’s as if it just disappeared.
Now this is a crazy thought, but hear me out: Maybe when I switched off the lights the bee thought the other’bee’ died and it died as well?
I mean, after all, bees are social creatures. Maybe they can’t live without each other. Maybe if one dies, the others will follow?
I remember reading articles about bees acting strange or just dying out or attacking people for no apparent reason. There have been two cases recently where a whole swarm of bees killed a 70-year-old woman and another swarm attacked some kids at a school.
Animals are intuitive and act on instinct. I mean, they know when a storm or tornado or tsunami is coming. They act strange to warn people that something is wrong. Maybe the bees are doing the same thing?
The reason given for the attacks are that the bees don’t like hot and dry conditions. I can understand if they feel they are being threatened and they want to protect the queen. But what if they weren’t provoked by human beings?
There have been reports where a whole swarm committed suicide to protect the colony when it was infected or poisoned.
I guess my real question is: did they commit suicide? And if they did, it means it can happen again and on a much larger scale!
And the world without bees means no pollination, less food for humans and other animals aka the beginning of the end of the world!