SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A local entomologist may have discovered the cause of one of the most puzzling environmental mysteries scientists are trying to solve, but a fight with SMUD almost put his front-yard laboratory at risk.
Terry Allen said he discovered the European wool carder bee more than a year ago among his flowerbed in his Sacramento home, a stunning find. The carder bee is new to North America and has never been reported before in California.
The carder bee is bigger and tougher than the honey bee, Allen said, and he found evidence of their presence in the scattered bodies of other bees.
“Cuts off their wings, cuts off their antenna,” Allen said, “cuts off their heads, cuts off their torsi, and stabs them to death.”
Honey bees are essential to human life and the rapid disappearance of bee colonies has been the focus of a number of scientific efforts.
Allen was continuing his research within his flower bed when he received a notice from the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District that he would need to remove the flowers entirely.
The notice was especially puzzling since the flower bed was designed with SMUD input, Allen said.
“I designed it with a SMUD representative 20 years ago and it was approved,” he said.
When Allen learned others on his block didn’t get the same notice, Terry didn’t touch his flower bed and told SMUD officials he would be happy to remove the flower bed when he’s done researching the carder bee — in 20 years or so.
When CBS13 contacted SMUD, a spokesperson said Allen will be allowed to keep his flower bed.