It was Charlotte’s sixth birthday, and as usual, it was blisteringly hot outside. All the birthday guests had gathered in the garden to enjoy a large cake buffet.
Charlotte’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors and mother had baked the most delicious variety of cakes and pies. Charlotte got to be the first to cut a cake and she chose her favorite: strawberry with a delicious cream cheese icing.
“This is my absolute favorite cake,” Charlotte said to her best friend.
“Then I want to try it too,” Lara replied.
When everyone had a piece of cake or pie of their choosing, the party felt like it had begun. Everyone was cheerful and enjoying the great weather.
Suddenly, Charlotte’s little brother Liam jumped up. He dropped his fork and started running across the garden.
“What’s wrong with him?” asked Lara.
Liam was now running around in circles screaming loudly.
As Lara turned back to her piece of strawberry cake, she too started screaming. Sitting on her cake were two yellow and black striped insects, munching on her strawberries.
“Charlotte, get them off!” cried Lara.
Everyone at the table was getting increasingly agitated as more and more of these yellow and black insects came to eat the sugary treats. They were also attracted to the delicious lemonades and a freshly prepared fruit salad.
Charlotte’s mother was trying to calm the birthday guests and cover the cakes and treats so that their buzzing guests would fly away.
“Mom, make the bees go away! They’re ruining my whole party!” yelled Charlotte, who was upset by all the chaos.
“Your buzzing guests aren’t bees; they’re wasps. Bees aren’t attracted to candy and cake. They are only interested in pollen and nectar,” Charlotte’s mother explained.
“I don’t really care whether they’re wasps or bees—they’re all equally stupid,” Charlotte grumbled.
To save the birthday party, everyone was moved to the living room where they could eat and play in peace.
Later, when the guests had said goodbye, Charlotte’s mother approached her.
“Charlotte, you wished for the bees to disappear earlier today,” her mother started. “You are too young to understand the importance of bees, but in a few years, you will realize that bees play a very important role on this planet.”
“I don’t think so,” said Charlotte stubbornly. “Bees are annoying. They totally ruined my birthday today.”
A few years later, Charlotte was celebrating her birthday again on a gorgeous summer day. She was turning 10 years old. Everyone was sitting at a beautifully set table in the garden.
“Mom, where is the strawberry cake I love so much?” Charlotte asked. She had gotten her favorite cake every other year so far.
“I’m sorry sweetheart, but there are hardly any strawberries left,” she explained. “That’s why I couldn’t make your favorite cake this year.”
“But where did all the strawberries go?” asked Charlotte.
“Since there are hardly any bees left, the flowers from fruit trees and strawberry plants can no longer be properly pollinated,” Charlotte’s mom explained. “Therefore, many less large fruits grow and ripen and the harvest is very small and quickly used up.”
Charlotte remembered her birthdays when there were enough strawberries and got worried.
“But if the bees are so important to us humans, then surely something must be done about it. The bees must be protected!” Charlotte said with conviction. “What can we do to help them?”
“Let’s go to the library to borrow a book about bees and find out how we can provide a place for them to live in our garden. If you care about bees, you could also do a presentation about them in geography class for your classmates. Maybe your teacher will think of something else to do to prevent their extinction too.”
The next day, Charlotte passionately explained to her classmates how important the little insects are to people and that they had to work together to protect and save the bees.