Over the last decade, bee populations throughout the United States have been disappearing at an alarming rate due to a mysterious syndrome called Colony Collapse Disorder, with some regions experiencing declines of 50 percent year over year. The continued loss of bees threatens to put the future of agriculture in jeopardy, which means that every last yellow and black pollinator is very much worth saving.
But apparently one man in Michigan didn't get that message.
This week, in a misguided attempt to rid his home of a colony of bees that had built a hive in his roof, an Oakland County homeowner decided to try kill them with ... a blowtorch. Not surprisingly, he only ended up stinging himself.
According to a sheriff's report in the Oakland Press, insulation ignited during the flame assault and quickly spread, causing extensive damage to the home's roof. Fortunately, no one was injured and firefighters arrived before the entire structure was destroyed in the blaze, but the entire incident could have been avoided had the homeowner taken a more humane approach.
Instead of trying to eradicate the hive, he should have enlisted the help of a bee-removal specialist, like Joseph Tillman from HATZ Management in Michigan.
"If he would have called me, I would have removed them and taken them to a beekeeper. Basically, you've just got to get the queen in a box, and the rest of the hive will follow," Tillman told The Dodo.
"Honeybees are so important. They help with the ecology, the ecosystem. Without bees, we wouldn't even have oxygen. They pollinate trees and flowers. We wouldn't have fruit and vegetables without them."
While it's certainly regrettable that the man's home was damaged, at least it wasn't a total tragedy. "A lot of the bees probably escaped, just as they would in a forest fire," says Tillman.