MINI4    5' Mini-mysteries for the mouse detective

Michaela Mouse lived in a hole under the roots of a large tree.
One day she heard a knock at the door. When she opened it, she
saw a the queen bee.

"You have to help me! Please, Michaela Mouse, help me!"
exclaimed the robin.

"What's wrong?" asked Michaela.

"Somebody must have turned off the sprinklers again. Our flowers
aren't giving us any nectar!"

Michaela went to the park with the queen bee to investigate. The
first thing she checked were the electrical wires that turned
the sprinklers on. In the last mystery they had been cut by the
lawn mowers. But the wires were fine. So, she went to the fences
where most of the flowers are planted to see why the flowers
weren't getting water again.

But to her surprise, the ground around all the flowers was wet
and there were puddles in some places.

Michaela explained, "The flowers are getting plenty of water.
Maybe another animal is sipping all the nectar. Have you seen
other animals?"

The queen bee replied, "Just the butterflies. But we always
share the flowers with them. They don't drink much nectar."

"How about the hummingbirds?" asked Michaela. "They drink a

The queen bee thought for a moment then replied, "No. As a
matter of fact I haven't seen a hummingbird around here since
the wires were cut. I think they flew off to other flower beds."

Michaela looked around and noticed that only the roses in the
flower beds were blooming. So, she went over to a rose plant
with the biggest blossoms and inspected the stem of the plant
with her tiny magnifying glass.

"Aha!" she exclaimed.

"Did you find something?" asked the queen.

"Yes." replied Michaela, "Whoever is stealing the nectar from
these roses is not sipping it from the blossoms. They're
stealing it from the stems!"

"How on earth could they steal nectar from the stems?!" asked
the queen.

Michaela held the magnifying glass up against the stem at the
queen's eye level and said, "Look."

"Well, I'll bee!" exclaimed the queen, "Somebody drilled tiny
holes in the stem and sucked out the nectar before it even got
up to the blossoms! Are all the stems like this?"

Michaela examined a few more rose stems with her magnifying
glass and concluded, "It looks like all of the roses have been
robbed of their nectar."

"Who could have done such a thing?!" asked the queen bee.

"I don't know yet." replied Michaela, "But I'll investigate."

With that, Michaela began climbing up the stem of the rose bush
slowly and carefully to avoid the sharp thorns. When she got
near the top, she saw what looked like grains of sand crawling
around on the stem and on the underside of the leaves.

Now Michaela knew that little grains of sand can't crawl, so she
took out her tiny magnifying glass and looked closer at them.

"Aha!" exclaimed Michaela.

The queen bee flew up to Michaela asking, "Did you find

"Yes," replied Michaela, "I found the robbers!"

"Where?" I don't see anyone." replied the queen.

"These robbers are teeny tiny insects with a mouth like a tiny
drill that can drill into the stem of the rose." explained
Michaela "But it's hollow like a vaccination needle, so that it
can suck out the nectar."

"Well, how will we get rid of them?" asked the queen, "Maybe we
can get the birds to eat them."

"No. The birds would have to somehow land on these stems to eat
them." explained Michaela, "But the thorns on these stems
wouldn't let them land here."

"Then what will we do?" asked the queen.

Michaela replied as she carefully climbed down, "Let me talk to
my friend Michaela the human. I'll be back later."

Michaela went to her friend Michaela's house. The two of them
looked through the book on insects and finally found the
robbers. According to the book the teeny tiny insects were
called aphids. The two Michaelas read all about them. It turns
out that if you don't get rid of the aphids, the drilling of the
aphids could kill the rose plants, then noone would have any

Michaela the human returned to the park with Michaela the mouse
in her pocket and a small jar in her hand.

"What do you have there?" asked the queen bee as she hovered
around Michaela the human.

"We went to the pet store. We bought some insects!" replied
Michaela mouse.

"But we already have insects!" exclaimed the queen.

"But these are special insects called lady bugs." replied
Michaela, "Their favorite food is aphids."

When Michaela the human got to the roses, she opened the jar and
released the lady bugs. Within a day or two, the lady bugs grew
fat from eating their favorite meal, the aphids, and the roses
began to give nectar to the bees and butterflies again. Thanks
to the good detective work of Michaela mouse they all lived
happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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