Teen 'Adopts' Bumblebee After It Follows Her Home, Pair Forms Unlikely Bond

A thirteen-year-old teenager in Coventry, England, made an unexpected friend earlier this month.

Lacey Shillinglaw spotted a bee as she was walking one day, and, trying to keep it safe from the dangers of the road, tried to move it to a wall or flower. However, as Coventry Live reported, the bumblebee buzzed back to Shillinglaw each time.

Eventually, Shillinglaw needed to go home—and the bee, climbing all over the teen's face and clothing, came along. Since that day in early August, the pair have been inseparable.

Bees are known to be highly intelligent insects. In fact, as PBS reported in 2017, they are so smart that they're able to learn behaviors that lead to rewards—along the lines of how a dog might learn to "sit" so that it can get a treat.

The insects also communicate with one another, using a mix of "head-butting, jostling each other and dancing."

Bumblebee
A bumblebee drinking nectar from a gooseberry bush, 2018. A teenage girl recently made an unlikely friend after befriending a bumblebee. YURI KADOBNOV/AFP

Even more remarkable is the fact that, like humans, bees are equipped with "cross-modal sensory transfer"—which, in simple terms, means that bees are likely able to picture mental images in their minds, much like we do, reported Smithsonian Magazine.

Bees also have the capacity to understand basic math, including adding, subtracting, and the concept of zero itself. They can also reportedly recognize faces and experience something akin to emotions.

According to Coventry Live, Shillinglaw and her mom, Laura, have taken the bumblebee—now named Betty—out on excursions, like bowling.

"It really is such an amazing thing to see. Lacey has no fear at all of any animals— apart from spiders!" Laura told the news outlet.

She added: "The bee just seems so happy with Lacey, they have struck up quite the friendship. It's such a beautiful thing to watch and I cannot see an end to Lacey and Betty bee's friendship any time soon."

Shillinglaw also takes Betty for frequent trips outdoors, giving the insect a chance to pollinate some flowers and get some fresh air. However, whenever Shillinglaw goes back inside, Betty follows closely behind.

At night, Betty even sleeps beside Shillinglaw, in a non-lidded container filled with dirt, grass, water, and flowers.

As unusual as a pet bumblebee may sound, ​​Shillinglaw is not the first person to have "adopted" one. In 2018, Fiona Presly of Scotland found a wingless queen bee in her garden. The two bonded and shared five months of companionship before the bee passed away in Presly's hands.