How to make a bumble bee latte

Wanted! Scientists are on the look out for the missing western bumble bee
Photo by Derrick Ditchburn

So, there I was, sitting with a friend, at a table in the bay window of Farley’s coffee house, when a bumble bee started buzzing around inside the window pane, right next to us.

It was pleasantly warm and bright sitting in that window, and I could see how that bee could have swirled out of the wind and into this sheltered spot.

But when the bee started bumbling in loud bee tones, I decided it was time to spring into action.

 Luckily, all the equipment that is needed to make a good bumble bee latte (an empty container, a sheet of paper, a smooth surface) lay close at hand.

Anxious to complete my task before the bee got agitated, I grabbed an empty cup from Farley's front counter and clamped it over the bee, careful not to squish the bizzing insect as it came to a rest against the window. Next, I slid a sheet of paper between the window and the cup, then folded the sheet of paper down and around the cup to make a bee-restraining lid

Voila! my bumble bee latte was ready to go.

Outside, I set the latte cup down in a planter and removed its makeshift lid.

For a moment, the bee sat quietly in the cup. Then it lifted backwards out of the cup and into the air, rapidly shrinking to a small black dot as it swirled across the watercolor skies above Potrero Hill.

I walked back into Farley's. Unlike the time I made a pigeon burrito in Farley's, nobody applauded. But as a person obsessed with bees, I felt great, even if the incident didn't give me a chance to use this handy pocket guide to identify the bee I saw.