Helping a Bee with Mites

I found a bee in my greenhouse this evening. This happens from time to time but I always ensure they get out. Tonight I helped out in a different way. This poor bee had a huge cluster of mites on its back. I was shocked and horrified. I quickly googled 'bees with mites' to make sure that was what I was seeing, and then...

...since I know mites are having a huge impact on our pollinator friends, I couldn't help but take sides, and then action! Without a second thought, I ran and got my tweezers and hoped that the bee would stay still enough to allow me to SQUISH all the mites on its back!!!! Amazingly, it hardly moved, probably because it was too cold, though I wish it was because it was just thankful to get some help with its parasites! I was surprised at how fast some of the mites were when they got moving (they were probably affected by the cold too). I had to be pretty quick and careful about what I was plucking and squishing; I didn't want to hurt the bee but I wanted to get as many mites as I could. I also wanted to minimize the duration of the bee's stress, whether it was in a cold torpor or not.

Here is the bee after my quick mite-squishing tweezer-session! Big difference, I think. I hope it helps. I try to let nature take its course as much as I can because I don't want to choose one life over another and I don't like to kill any of nature's amazing creatures, but given the current plight of bees and colony collapse disorder, I couldn't help myself. I just hope that when I go to let the bee out of the greenhouse tomorrow morning that it is still alive. Sorry for the less-than-crisp pics--my iPhone won't do macro. Also not stoked on the layout of pics vs text on this post but blogger was giving me too much grief to do it the way I wanted!

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