Save Bees


Bumble beeHelp revive a cold or wet bee

I’m often asked by folks what to do when one finds a cold, wet, or sluggish bee. The good news is that in many cases, you can help! And depending on the , you may be helping many future bees, particularly if your bee is a queen bumble bee.

Spring and fall are often unpredictable weather and flower-wise, and sometimes you’ll find a bee who’s simply run out of steam and needs a helping hand. Unseasonable weather and a lack of flowers may trip them up, especially at these times of year. A foraging bumble bee is only ever about 40 minutes from starvation.


Chamomile flowers look like daisies

My first word of advice is don't panic. In most situations, you can help your bee (and you've almost certainly nothing to fear from an exhausted, cold, struggling bee)!

My next advice is to consider simply moving the bee onto a sunny bee-friendly flower (one close by, ideally where you see other similar bees foraging).

This works well for bees that are not too badly off, but it does require that they feel up to clinging onto a flower. Take care to move them gently (using a leaf works well), and observe them to see if they seem to recover. If your bee doesn't improve, keep reading.



Tap the closest button to your situation:

A quick sugar-water fix

Bee Boost Elixir

  • 1 part room temperature water (not boiled)
  • 1 part sugar crystals (avoid brown sugar / honey)

Mix vigorously, then offer small portion

The first thing to do is to feed your bee. A cold, hungry bee is nothing to fear (in fact, bees are nothing to fear anyway, and you’re probably not too worried if you’re reading this page… but if you are, keep in mind that a cold sluggish bee is in no position or mood to sting… they’re simply hungry and cold, and will be happy for any help you provide)!

Sugar Water Mix

To feed your bee, mix up some organic granulated cane sugar or refined white sugar crystals (never brown sugar or honey) to create a sugar-water solution. A 1:1 mix (50%-50%) is appropriate, and this can be achieved simply by stirring the sugar rapidly in room temperature drinking water (lukewarm is fine, but not boiled).

Offer a small portion of this solution (just a few drops is plenty for a bee) in a shallow lid or teaspoon placed near the bee’s head. Alternatively, add a drop or two of sugar-water to some cut bee flowers placed near your bee (orchard blossoms, dandelions, or any pesticide-free blooming flowers nearby).

Honey bee

When drinking, you’ll see her long tongue extended like a straw below her head. Try placing drops of sugar-water mix directly beneath the tip of her tongue. If you do offer a small dish, make it impossible for your bee to fall clumsily into sugary water.

Honey Bee

Watch her tongue unfold from beneath. Often a light touch of the antennae signals to a bee that there's an energy drink nearby

Bumble Bee

Adding a pebble to the dish would avoid any chance of your bee falling in (but the bumble bee above managed just fine)!

Carpenter Bee

One trick is to add a drop of sugar water to a bee-friendly flower (this is an eastern carpenter bee with a damaged wing)

It often works within minutes

In most cases, your bee will recover quickly after drinking some sugar-water. Offering sugar-water often works even if it appears to you as though your bee is dead! A quick sugar-water boost should help your bee on its way to living another day 😌 It may take a few minutes or a few hours for her to recover, depending on how weak she was to begin with. Don’t be surprised to find your bee gone if you’re not keeping a constant eye on her!

Try warming up your bee too

Note that if it’s cold out (particularly if it's near or below 55°F / 13°C), you’ll speed your bee’s recovery by warming her up. You may do this by placing her in direct sunlight, by letting her sit on your warm skin (a hand or arm), or by bringing her indoors briefly (in a ventilated box) to warm up and drink some sugar-water.

Definitely stay within your comfort zone if you offer up your skin, but if you move slowly and unthreateningly, your bee may crawl right onto your hand or arm (she'll warm up through fabric too, so a dark-colored shirt is good if there's sun). Remember that a tired, sluggish bee is not likely to sting!

Bumble bee warming on hand

Shared with kind permission by reader John (read his full bee story)

Is your bee still not flying away?

If it's getting late (near sunset) or particularly cold or rainy, you may want to consider to protect her from predators while she is in a vulnerable state.

Bees do stay out overnight in odd places if they're caught out in bad weather, and they may wait (almost unmoving!) for several days while they await better weather. So if you're not comfortable housing your bee, look for some pesticide-free bee flowers nearby, and gently place your bee on these flowers. The best flowers are ones on which you've seen similar bees foraging, growing close to the ground (not far for a sluggish bee to fall), out of sight from predators like birds overhead, and bathed in sunlight in the days to come.

Bumble bee sleeps in flower

A bumble bee queen sleeps in a flower

This is my own story of a bumble bee queen who found the perfect spot to spend a series of nights in early spring. Safely tucked inside a crocus flower, she enjoyed a delicious energy bar, whose enclosing petals would open to the sky only once the sun hit! Read more

Types of sugar to avoid

It’s important to avoid brown sugar (which contains extra solids from molasses) and avoid maple syrup (which contains extra minerals), both of which are difficult for bees to digest. Also, do not use boiling water (when sugars caramelize at high heat, they can create indigestible and possibly bee-toxic compounds).

It can be tempting to reach for a few drops of local raw honey, but this can be a vector for spreading bee diseases, so to be safe, avoid feeding honey. If you’ve fed honey in the past, don’t worry about it too much though. Chances are you helped by giving the bee the quick energy boost it needed (flowers are also a conduit for bee diseases, so to some extent, bees are always taking risks when they sip nectar).

Avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs, as compounds toxic to bees can be formed during manufacturing (as a result of overheating). And it should go without saying to avoid the fake stuff! I avoid conventional sugar because of pesticide usage (especially when sourced from sugar beets, which account for most sugar production and consumption in the United States; Monsanto licenses a Roundup Ready trait to sugarbeet seed companies).


Sugar-water is only for emergencies

The sugar-water solution I detail above should only be used in bee-saving situations. Sugar-water is not sufficient for bees’ nutritional needs long-term (they need all the other trace components of flower nectar for a balanced diet). Putting a dish of sugar-water out may attract bees, but it is not a good idea and it will not help bees in your area, however much they may appear to appreciate it as free food (it can also incense some bees and cause them to be more aggressive than they usually would be, as they compete for such an unusually easy food source).

Bees need pure water though! One of the best things you can do (especially on hot days) is to provide a large shallow dish of fresh water with pebbles in it so that bees may easily reach the water without falling into it. Honey bees in particular need water on hot days in order to cool their hives, and you may see a variety of pollinators and other insects coming to your water dish if you watch for any length of time!

Bumble bee on hand

John’s story of the ‘Bee that Stayed’

Reader John first wrote to me in reply to my post about how to revive a cold, wet, or exhausted bee. In his words: “I can’t believe this, I love Bumble Bees, and when I find one in the garden lying there exhausted, I mix a bit of sugar with water and let them crawl on my hand have a drink, then they sleep for 3 minutes and fly off revitalized. Well. I found one lying on the lawn in a bad state, so I did my usual, NOW he has stayed on my hand and won’t go away, he stayed there whilst I mowed the lawn, and he is still here 1 hour later, he has stayed on my finger whilst I am typing, so I put him on a piece of kitchen roll next to me on the table.” Read more

Keeping your bee overnight

Sometimes you’ll find a bee in need of help in unseasonable weather (particularly in early spring, when bumble bee queens are emerging from hibernation). After , you may decide that the best thing to do is to keep your bee safe overnight. If it’s late at night and cold (below 55°F / 13°C), or raining or even snowing outdoors, then releasing your bee may not be an option.

Base your decision on the time of day, the weather, and your observation of the bee… if it’s morning or afternoon, and she looks ready to go after sipping sugar-water, then she’ll likely want to bee on her way (even if it’s cool and a bit rainy). If it’s approaching evening or night, the weather is worsening, and the bee seems sluggish, her chances will improve by keeping her overnight (some people even end up keeping their bees several nights in a row, until the weather improves… just be sure to mimic as much as possible typical day/night light cycles and temperatures, so your bee doesn’t get confused).

Creating your own Air Bee-n-Bee

In this case, it’s time to make a cozy home for your bee for the night. A shoebox works well for this (with small holes punched in it to provide ventilation). Although we like soft things to lie on, it’s best not to add materials inside the box, as things like fabric may catch on a sluggish bee’s feet and make moving even more of a struggle for her.

Place her in the ventilated box, and provide a little greenery too so that it’s not just a bee inside a stark, empty box. Generally speaking (for overnight stays), I’d avoid placing flowers in the box, as they will lose their nectar fairly quickly, and may confuse a bee looking for food. However, I’ve heard of times when having flowers inside the box is just the thing to “cheer up” a bee and speed her on her way. If the time of day and weather is just “iffy” and might still be good enough for your bee to go out in, then try adding flowers into her box and seeing if she buzzes around sufficiently to bee on her way. If you’re still left with a sluggish bee, remove the flowers but put something natural of interest in the box for the night.

Place the box somewhere that’s not too warm and not too cold… err on the side of cooler, simply because it’s going to simulate their natural environment better. But certainly don’t allow the box to sit in freezing temperatures! Somewhere “in-between” such as a garage, utility room, or other sheltered and lightly-heated area is ideal. I'd recommend removing any dish of sugar-water overnight, so as not to attract ants or risk the bee falling in. You can put it back again in the morning.

Gorgeous red-tailed bumble bee queen shared with kind permission by reader Emily

Keep an eye on your bee

Check on your bee from time to time; if she’s full of energy and buzzing, she may well wish to take her chances outdoors. Bumble bee queens in particular are fairly well-equipped for unseasonable weather. Bumble bees are quite special in terms of their ability to decouple their flight muscles from their wings and vibrate (or “shiver”) in order to warm themselves up. But if it's totally inhospitable out (very cold or wet) and she's still full of energy and buzzing, simply move her box to a cooler location and she'll settle down.

Prepare to release your bee

If your bee seems comfortable and settled in her box, then wait to release her until the weather is more favorable (at least 55°F or 13°C). Bees are not particularly early risers! On the next day of decent weather, make sure your bee has had a little sugar-water for breakfast, and then leave her box open in a sunny warm spot outdoors. Release your bee near where you found her, ideally near flowers where you see other similar bees foraging. It can take anywhere between minutes and hours for her to feel ready to leave. If you hang around watching for a little while, you’ll likely see her buzz around her box a bit first, before finally taking off happily!

Sometimes bees stay a few days & nights

A few years ago I read the most charming story about someone’s encounter with a bumble bee queen and how she rescued it with sugar water and a night in a shoebox. Read her inspiring story on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website:

The Plight of the Bumblebee

Bumble bees mating

Hosting tiny guests at an Air Bee-n-Bee in San Francisco

Today I heard from Ann in San Francisco with a question after she found my post about how to revive a cold, wet, or exhausted bee. Astonishingly, a queen bumble bee—carrying three little worker bees, no less!—had sought out Ann’s help in the garden. In her words: “Hi, I have a queen bee that visited my back patio yesterday and she kept following me around and trying to get under a bag of potting soil…I moved the bag and then her…to under a sunny bush…she was then crawling back to me! So I put down my glove and she hopped on and I found a more protected area of the lawn where she spent the night. Today she is back with three small bumble bees on her back she is not moving and will not drink its going to get cold and windy soon…what do I do???” Read more

Rescuing bees from water

The easiest way to rescue a flailing bee from water is to use a leaf or some other object close-to-hand to scoop them up quickly. If you rescue your bee from water, the first thing to do is to put her in direct sunlight so she can dry out and warm up. While we generally prefer recovering in the shade, bees recover far faster in full sun.

Bees don't have lungs, instead they have a series of air sacs, with a number of spiracles (openings) along the sides of their bodies. You may see your bee's body pulsing as she recovers. This is the equivalent of us breathing heavily, and she's doing it to move more oxygen through her circulatory system.

Warm up and reenergize your bee

Avoid attempting to separate your bee's wings or correct other physical issues that appear amiss. Warm sun will help “reactivate” your bee, after which she can clean herself (if she needs) much more gently and effectively than us. It’s also a good idea to as above, if your bee doesn’t take off soon after being scooped up and drying off somewhere warm.

Offer a night's safe rest

If it’s too late at night for there to be any warmth or sunlight, then in a ventilated box, and release her the following morning.

Alternatively, look for bee-friendly flowers nearby, ideally low-growing (to avoid falls) and in sunlight come morning (also choose a spot where your bee won't stand out too much to a bird flying overhead)! Place your bee on these flowers, so that the following morning, she'll have breakfast ready as she awaits the warming day.

Preventing future accidents

Bees end up in pools of water for the most unsurprising of reasons: they hope for sips of water. Honey bees also use water to cool their hives in summer (they bring it back to their hives in a special stomach).

One way to help prevent bees falling into water is to offer a bee-safe drinking area (or several) nearby. Use something like a shallow dish, and place a number of pebbles to provide easy drinking perches. Keep the dish filled (ideally with filtered water), especially on hot days!


Tap to learn more about:

Knowing your bee helps

There are so many different kinds of bees, but when you find a bee, it’s very often one of the more common types. If it’s large and fuzzy, it’s probably a bumble bee. If it’s really large and fuzzy, it’s probably a queen bumble bee (especially in early spring and late fall). Honey bees are smaller by comparison, less fuzzy, and have that classic “striping” (light and dark bands) typically depicted in pictures of bees.

You can revive any kind of bee by , moving them somewhere warmer (into direct sunlight, ideally), or even warming them up a bit gently with your breath. If it's a bumble bee and it’s late in the day or the weather is worsening (dropping below 55°F / 13°C, raining or snowing), you can also potentially in a ventilated box. Release your bee the following morning once the sun is up, and offer sugar-water again to give your bee an energetic start to her day!

These are all bumble bee queens:

Black-tailed bumble bee queen Yellow-faced bumble bee queen Sitka bumble bee queen

These are all honey bee workers:

Honey bee worker Honey bee worker Honey bee workers

These are all carpenter bees:

Western carpenter bee (female) Eastern carpenter bee (male) Eastern carpenter bee (male)

These are all wasps:

Common Yellowjacket Western paper wasp Bald-faced hornet

These are all flies that mimic bees:

Hover fly Bee fly Hover Fly

On wasps & flies

Bees are simply wasps that went vegetarian! Adult wasps drink nectar just like bees, never eating meat themselves. It's baby bees and wasps that need extra protein: for bees, protein-rich pollen makes the perfect larval food, whereas for wasps, protein-rich caterpillars and other prey are favored. Although wasps have a formidable reputation, they are good pollinators, and unlikely to sting unless defending their nest or young.

Some flies can be excellent "bee mimics". The way to tell a fly from a bee quickly is to look at their heads: flies have short, stubby antennae (compared to the long antennae of bees), and flies also tend to have larger eyes that meet at the top of their heads (though not always). Note that both flies and wasps can tolerate lower temperatures than bees as well.

Honey bees & water

Honey bees need to get back to their hives for the night, but bumble bees can stay out a night or two just fine. Honey bees are most often found in need of help when they’ve on a warm day. Honey bees collect water in order to cool their hives, hence they face more dangers from falling into pools and ponds while trying to get to the water.

Help drowning bees by quickly scooping them out of the water, followed by placing the bee in direct sunlight to warm and dry it naturally. Offering replace lost energy quickly.

If you consistently find yourself rescuing bees from pools of water near your home, try placing pebbles in a shallow dish of water nearby to provide them a safer place to drink, especially on hot days!

Early spring brings bumble bee queens

In early spring, large fluffy bumble bee queens are emerging from their winter hibernation. They’re searching for the earliest spring flowers and looking for the perfect underground burrow in which to start their colonies for the year (colonies that will number in the low hundreds of cute, fuzzy bumble bees). Sometimes they'll appreciate a little help, especially if they're nearly out of energy. Since they're relatively large bees, they need more energy simply to get off the ground.

Interrupted bumble bee queen hibernation

Bumble bee queens often hibernate in small holes that they dig into soil in order to stay safely undisturbed and protected from frost. They also hibernate in log piles and under leaf litter from time to time. Sometimes, they get disturbed in these places, such as by leaf blowers, fleeting bursts of unseasonably warm weather, or accidentally digging them up while gardening.

Ideally, if you find a large (likely queen) bumble bee in the depths of winter, avoid warming her up indoors, and instead try to put her back in the same place if possible. If for some reason that's not possible, then place her near to some easily-diggable soil or good bed of leaf-litter (north-facing banks work well, since hibernating bees are less likely to be awoken by the warming earth too early, and a bank of soil helps any rain run off safely).

For further information in these situations, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has excellent tips for helping hibernating bumble bees.

Bumble bees "shiver" to warm up!

Although cold-blooded like all insects, bumble bees can generate their own heat by decoupling their wings from their flight muscles, then moving these without flying... giving the appearance of shivering! Bumble bees are more likely to get caught out in bad weather, since they take more chances with cooler temperatures (and even light rain). Honey bees, on the other hand, stay clustered warmly together in their hives on cold and rainy days.

Any mites you see are probably not harmful

The bee mites we read about in the news are a very specific type of mite (Varroa destructor) that only affects honey bees because of their unique life cycle. If your bee is a larger, fuzzier bee, chances are it has harmless bumble bee mites instead. Bumble bees often have harmless mites… they’re far smaller mites, and they’re not dangerous for the bee. They’re typically “hitchhiking” to the bumble bee’s nest from flowers, where the mites then feed on small bits of detritus around the nest.

So there’s typically no need to try to remove tiny mites from bees you find. The only time these much smaller mites can be a problem is in rare instances, when hundreds pile onto a bee at once, impacting its ability to fly. I’ve seen photos documenting this, but it is highly unusual. Honey bee mites are far larger by comparison… it would be like one of us having a rabbit-sized tick!

Reviving bees while out and about

When I go for long walks in spring, I carry a small vial of sugar-water with me in case I see a struggling bee in need. This way I can drop a few droplets onto something like a leaf or flower (right below the bee’s head), in order to give it a top-up of energy. If you don’t have sugar-water with you, you might instead try gently moving your bee (using a leaf or similar) onto nearby flowers where you (ideally) see other, similar bees foraging.

And if you'd love to carry sugar-water with you at all times just in case you find a bee in need, I’ve discovered the neatest solution, complete with protective keychain carrying case for the glass vial! Although UK-based, they'll ship elsewhere too (note that I have nothing to gain by linking, I simply think theirs is a neat product):

Beevive, inspired by a spontaneous encounter with a tired bee


Wondering who's writing this?

elise-fog

I’m Elise Fog, a lifelong bee lover and hobbyist photographer. It struck me (more than ten years ago!) that it’d be cool to share the bee love with others. Bees are a wondrous and vital part of our world, and it wouldn’t look the same without them.

While searching for the critically endangered rusty-patched bumble bee, photographer Clay Bolt poignantly commented: “We spend so much time and effort trying to make life better for ourselves. The least we can do is make life possible for this bee.” I truly believe every single bee’s life counts. I also think that saving a bee’s life creates a special connection that will never bee forgotten.

Wild lawn with clover, dandelions, other flowers

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Still have a question about your bee?

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1496 responses to “How to help revive a cold or wet bee

  1. I found a queen (I think) bumblebee on my front steps last night not moving so I bought her in and gave her some sugar water and kept her in overnight. It's 6 degrees at the moment and I still have her in my house.... She's buzzing her wings and walking around the pot but she's not trying to fly, shall I keep her a bit longer and get her some bee flowers?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Marguerite

    1. She is likely to be a queen at this time of year (particularly if she seems quite large). Have you had recently warmer weather there, that may have awoken your queen bumble bee from her winter hibernation? Will your weather be improving soon, ideally with daytime temperatures above 13°C?

      If she's buzzing her wings but not flying, then she definitely has energy, and feels relatively warm, but that's from being indoors as well as from the sugar-water. If the weather isn't close to 13°C outdoors, then I'd put her enclosure in a cooler room, so that she settles back down again (cool temperatures will reduce her expenditure of energy). I'd keep her relatively cool indoors, until temperatures outside reach close to 13°C (ideally with sun too).

      You could put some items of interest like bee-friendly flowers in her enclosure, though cut flowers don't keep their nectar for too long (you can always add a drop or two of sugar-water to them though). I like to think that adding familiar items of interest helps "keep their spirits up"... I say that because recent studies do show bumble bees to have emotional states, including optimism and pessimism!

      You can keep her for a number of days, offering drops of sugar water in the daytime when it's a little warmer, and then putting her enclosure somewhere cooler at night. Keep an eye on her, to be sure she's not flying inside the enclosure, as that can result in wing damage (and frustration too, on the part of your bee)! Placing her enclosure somewhere cooler (make sure it's an ant/rodent-free area) will ensure she stays alive and healthy, without pointlessly buzzing about, while it's still too cold outdoors.

      If she were outdoors, she would ideally shelter somewhere hidden through cold weather snaps (beneath leaf litter, or inside a petal-closing flower). She'd forage whenever it warmed slightly, before sheltering again somewhere protective from frost. You'll help her by keeping her safe from predators indoors, since she can't move much when she's cold, making her easy prey in such a state (your front steps were hardly an ideal place to end up in that respect... though excellent for being picked up by you and taken in to safety)!

      Feel free to reply with photos or video to the email from my website, if you have any further concerns! Wonderful to hear that you care about bumble bees. A queen bumble bee, if successful in starting a colony, will give rise to many hundreds of bumble bees this season!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  2. Hi Elise,

    Hope you are well. I found a bee, at least I know it is not a Bumblebee, inside of the windowsill at first I thought it was dead but the foot twitched so I warmed it in a jar by heater and it sprung to life. Now after having some honey it is lively and seems restless. But here it is very cold and snowy so I thought best to keep it overnight. In the next week I do not believe it will go above ten degrees it is very cold even below zero. What do I do?

    Help and advice is appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Jenny

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jenny

    1. I gave some honey but should I leave some in there overnight? How much?

      Now I put him or her in a box with some endive leaves as I had no other greenery.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Jenny

      1. I just took a look at your videos and photos, thanks so much for sending those along. Yours is a wasp! I know some people have negative reactions to wasps, but they’re pretty good pollinators too, and closely related to bees (bees are simply wasps that went vegetarian). Wasps, by the way, don’t eat meat themselves, instead adult wasps drink nectar just like bees (they’re simply less fluffy than bees, and so not quite such effective pollinators). The meat part of wasps’ diet is solely for their young: bees feed their young pollen for protein, whereas wasps feed caterpillars and similar prey to their young. Although wasps have a formidable reputation, they tend to be gentle creatures at times of year when they have no nests or young to defend.

        Wasp lifecycles are also somewhat similar to bumble bees, wherein the colony dies off as temperatures cool before winter, and young fertile queens overwinter in frost-free places such as in wood piles, under leaf-litter, or in garages and attics. I found a hibernating wasp myself just the other day here, when moving a few things around in the rafters of my garage. I carefully placed her in a location where she’s less likely to be disturbed again, inside a cupboard at the back, where she’ll be protected from frost, but also where she’ll easily escape come early spring, as there are plenty of holes in those wooden doors, and she’ll find her way out by seeking the light. I didn’t feed her, since she didn’t even “awaken”.

        It sounds like you’ve already fed your wasp some honey? If so, I’d put her box enclosure somewhere cool so that she goes back into hibernation for the time being. So long as she’s been fed, she should have ample energy remaining to see her through until springtime and better temperatures. It’s much easier to help her back into hibernation than a bumble bee too, as wasps seem far less choosy about their hibernation spots (whereas bumble bees tend to want to dig their own perfect spot)! Once she’s cooled down and is moving less, simply move her open box into an undisturbed and frost-free area, ideally in some outdoors area such as a shed, garage, carport, outdoor cupboard, or similar.

        It’s kind of you to care for the little creatures in this world!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

        1. Wow! So interesting! Who knew I’d learn so much from one insect and see them sleep. It is very snowy outside and there is snow on my balcony. If I simply put the wasp in a carton box outside would it work? Or would he freeze too much?

          Thank you.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Jenny

          1. It should be fine to put your wasp out on your balcony, so long as the box is closed on top to add protection. It would be helpful to place the box under an eave too (if you have one), to protect it further from frost, rain, and snow.

            Also avoid placing the box anywhere it might be heated up by sun rays on an otherwise frosty winter day (this is why bumble bee queens choose north-facing hibernation sites, so as to avoid accidentally awaking too soon)!

            I'd also make a large hole (sufficient in size for your wasp easily to pass through) in the side of the box to allow the wasp to leave whensoever she chooses. A large hole in the side of the box won't impact protection from frost.

            It's kind of you to care about wasps too! Based on our conversation, I've just added some further information and photos to this page (under "What kind of bee is this?") to help others identify wasps from bees, and also learn more about wasps, whom I think are unjustly maligned, and an important part of natural ecosystems too! 💛🐝

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

            1. Done! Thanks a million. The wasp is still again clinging to the side of the box I put him onto the balcony (this balcony has only morning sunshine) within another little basket it has a little crack not thinking it would want to leave anytime soon.

              Best,

              Jenny

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Jenny

      2. Apologies for not replying in time for your evening there (I was out when you wrote). I just took a look at your weather forecast, and I see what you mean about the freezing temperatures and snow! Did you happen to have a warmer/sunnier spell recently, that might have fooled some bees into emerging early?

        I wouldn't leave much honey or sugar-water in the enclosure, but it's fine to leave a drop or two dotted around (though if their enclosure is somewhere cool at night, they'll likely not drink any, as they'll fall into a less active state). The main issue with leaving food in overnight is not to leave too much (for instance, in a shallow bottle cap), where they might accidentally fall in. Also, if their enclosure is somewhere cool in a semi-outdoors area, it's important not to attract ants or larger predators.

        I do wonder what kind of bee it is! If you wouldn't mind taking a few photos (even video if you'd like), you may send those over email by replying to the response from my website. It does seem to me that given your weather, you may be hosting a slightly longer-term guest! I'm surprised it wasn't a bumble bee queen, as they're usually the ones people find in winter. There are some good "bee mimics" that are flies too, which can fly at much lower temperatures than bees (but look a lot like honey bees).

        Hope I can help further, once I see what kind of bee you have!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  3. Hi,

    IT's barely above freezing here at the moment so I was surprised to find a bumblebee yesterday. It was barely moving so I picked it up and took it home. I warmed it up and fed it some sugar water, I was quite surprised that it soon perked up and started trying to fly. I couldn't let it go though as it's so cold here and is forecast to be for a few more days at least so I put it somewhere a bit cooler and left it overnight. This morning it was a little lethargic so I fed it again and it soon started moving about. As I can't release it yet I put a handful of dead leaves in the box with it and it ran straight into them and I haven't seen it since. What should I do now?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Dale

    1. Am I right in thinking that this was a particularly large bumble bee? Given the time of year, I believe you found a queen bumble bee who has accidentally been awoken from her winter hibernation too early in the year. Bumble bees often hibernate under leaf litter, so I think the best thing you can do is to put her enclosure outdoors, perhaps under an eave to protect her from extreme frosts and rain (but still in the shade, so that the sun does not warm her up while it is still too early in the year, and too cold to begin foraging and nest-building).

      I'd also cover the handful of dead leaves you put in with more dead leaves, and perhaps add some kind of chicken-wire or similar on top, to keep rodents from discovering her, but to allow her easily to pass through when she does think that it's a good time to emerge in early spring. She should return to hibernation, though if you do see her crawling about, you could also try placing her near some leaf litter outdoors. Bumble bee queens also overwinter in log piles and in soil, and when they do dig into soil, they tend to choose north-facing banks, since they’re less likely to be awoken by the warming earth too early, and a bank of soil helps any rain run off safely.

      I recently found a good resource from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust that goes into detail as to the types of spots queen bumble bees choose for hibernation, which I think you'll find helpful too:

      https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/beethechange/blog/how-to-help-hibernating-bumblebees/

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi,

        Thanks for the speedy reply, I'll take your advice onboard.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Dale

  4. I found a bee, stunned on the ground today. It's 33 degrees out and icy/snowy. I out it in my car and now it's flying around, should I let it back outside?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Theresa Hemond

    1. I think you should keep your bee warm for awhile, releasing only at the warmest (and hopefully sunniest) part of your day. Looking at your state's weather forecast generally, today and tomorrow look the warmest days. Your bee will have its best chances if you warm it up well before releasing it at the warmest point in the day!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  5. Hi, Elise. A honey bee worker hit my windshield yesterday during heavy rain. I pulled over and picked him up. He was drenched in water. I put him on a paper napkin and cranked the heat up. HE eventually came to himself. I've kept him in a small container since then. I gave him honey water, but I'm not sure if he drank it. The temperature is 57 at the moment. We will have rains today in the afternoon and tomorrow. When I heard that he was buzzing around in the container in the morning I tried to release him in the balcony when the sun came out, but he seems to just walk around without flying away. He tries to lift off, but can't go more than an half an inch off the ground, and after a while really gets fatigued. He's eager to move around though. I tried giving him more of the sugar water solution, but he's not interested. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Akif

    1. That's amazing that you saw your bee, and also that you were kind enough to pull over to pick your bee up!

      Definitely wait until these rains pass before trying to release your bee again. Keep your bee in a cool-ish room tonight, since lower temperatures slow bees down, meaning they don't waste energy. If tomorrow is rainy and you plan to keep your bee another night, keep your bee relatively cool tomorrow too (though I'd still try offering sugar-water intermittently in the day).

      Honey bees will usually lap up sugar-water easily if they're hungry. You'll see the long, dark-red tongue extending into the liquid if your bee is drinking. Occasionally it helps to touch a small spoon with sugar-water at the edge, so that it barely touches one of their antennae... that'll immediately get a response, if your bee is hungry.

      Another trick for feeding them is to lace something like a freshly cut dandelion with a few drops of sugar water, as they'll recognize the flower as food, and also get extra energy (depending on the nectar already in the flower head). Though it's not a good time of year for flowers right now, even dandelions!

      So I'd suggest keeping your bee overnight in a bee-safe container in a cool room, then whenever you get a day soon with warmer weather (without rain), first try warming up your bee indoors really well before releasing. If you keep your bee's enclosure in a nice, cozy warm room an hour or so before releasing, you'll start to see all the energetic moving about, along with "test buzzes" of the wings. They also tend to spend a fair bit of time grooming.

      The behavior you describe (with trying to lift off) simply sounds like being cold to me. It was probably too cold, even with the sunlight. But a pre-warmed bee (especially one with energy from a little sugar-water) will be much more quickly able to lift off and fly home.

      One other important tip, since this is a honey bee who has a hive to find! You need to release your bee relatively close to where you picked your bee up. That's important for finding landmarks.

      I wish you and your bee well 💛🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  6. Hi! We have a bee that was found injured on our deck. He's missing a wing and a leg, presumably from very strong winds the day he was found. We've had him over a week and followed feeding advice, but not sure what else to do.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Flowersf

    1. I do apologize for getting back to you so late. There's unfortunately not much to be done, other than to keep your bee reasonably happy and well-fed. Without a wing, your bee would be quick prey for something else outdoors. There's no real way for a bee to live naturally without a wing (missing legs are alright, but not wings).

      I've often wished we could make them prosthetic wings (that's actually done with monarch butterflies). But bee wings are highly complex, with a set of two on either side of the bee, which hook together in flight (with tiny hooks) to form one wing surface.

      It's kind of you to take care of your bee after what happened. I'd make your bee's enclosure as interesting as possible, warming your bee up in the days to encourage liveliness, offering sugar-water from time to time (and possibly fresh-cut flowers as well, though it's hardly the time of year for any selection of those).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks so much! He's still kicking and very lively. I'm amazed, especially since it's been almost a month now. He's been with us since Christmas Eve. My three girls are taking turns feeding him every day and putting different things in his little aquarium. He seems as happy as can beeee. :)

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Frances

  7. So I rescued a bee from the pool at like 2:00 and put him on a pillow to dry off. It was cold water and cold cloudy day. I left and forgot about it till like 9 o’clock and went to check the pillow where the bee was still hiding behind the little stick I left there. I was using a lighter to see in the dark and I noticed it was starting to perk up from the warmth. So I set the lighter down so the metal wouldn’t get too hot and used my flashlight too see and eventually the bee climbed onto the metal of the lighter and was like rubbing it and getting more energy and fixed it’s out of place wing. The the lighter got too cool I guess so the bee started walking around and it seemed like it wanted more heat so I lit the flame again to warm it back up and I sorta like put it near the bee to warm it more which it seemed to really like… so much so that it flew right into the flame!😭 I instantly released the lighter but I saw and heard a flash of “burning crackle sound” it was a horrible moment but the bee somehow maintained flight and actually flew away into the night. Now I’m just really distraught and basically worried what I’ve done and what I should of done and also what is the likely fate of that bee. Any insight you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Eric

    1. I am so sorry I didn't reply sooner, somehow I missed seeing your question during the holidays. Given that your bee maintained flight and flew off as you described, I'm hopeful!

      Yours is quite a story though, I've never heard one like it, and I'd not have thought bees'd seek heat from even a small flame. But they do love warmth! It makes them much more energetic, enabling flight.

      I'm guessing this was a honey bee (they're most often the bees that end up in pools)? If so, even in the dark, so long as there were lights around where you live, I'd imagine your bee could still use landmarks to get home. They navigate by the sun in part (they're not usually out past dusk), but they also use landmarks to find their way home.

      I'm still surprised your bee even flew into the flame, but perhaps it didn't recognize it quite (bees definitely recognize smoke, but tiny flame sources are unusual in nature). I think if your bee had really been harmed though, it wouldn't have flown off purposefully like that afterwards. I believe your reflexes must have saved your bee!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  8. I brought a honey bee inside because it’s absolutely freezing (well below 50 degrees) in the south. I put him near my plants with some sugar water. He was very cold but warmed up and was buzzing around in my office. I planned to let him out tomorrow if it cools down enough. But I can’t seem to find him. Is it possible he is just sleeping somewhere? Lol it’s dark outside about 7pm here now. I worry for him.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jess

    1. It’s definitely possible your bee is simply curled up for the night somewhere. I wouldn’t worry too much this evening. If it’s dark in the room, and particularly if the room is naturally cooler at night, your bee is likely to go into a less active state, and may be hard to find for awhile. If in the morning you’re able to warm your room up, and it’s brighter and sunnier, I’m fairly sure you’ll be able to find your bee!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  9. I have found a female hairy footed bee inside my house on a rug by the back door. She has either come in through the gap in the door or down the chimney?

    Yesterday we got her to drink a little sugar water and she had a good burst of energy but since then she hasn’t moved hardly at all. I woke this morning to find her on her back with her legs moving about. I helped her up and she hasn’t moved since. I’m keeping her inside in a container to help her recoup but don’t know what to do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Corinne

    1. Have you had any unseasonably warm weather there lately? Adult hairy-footed bees are typically active between February to June. Like other solitary bees, it’s the young who overwinter in nest cells. I’ve read that sometimes they nest in the soft mortar around chimneys. But there shouldn’t be any adult bees emerging now, it’s far too early. And likewise far too late for yours to be a bee from last season.

      It’s hard to know what to do for her, as this isn’t her season at all. Are there plants flowering in your area currently? Finding her on her back isn’t a good sign. Do you have her in a warmish or coolish room? The cooler she is, the clumsier and weaker she’ll appear.

      I wish I knew how to help her. I don’t really see how she can go about a normal bee life for her, given the time of year. You could warm her up well and top her up with sugar-water before releasing her on one of your warmest days, but without the usual temperatures, flowers, or male hairy-footed flower bees, I don’t imagine she’d live long.

      Nor do I think you could keep her until February. You can keep her comfortable for awhile in a nice enclosure, but she’ll instinctually wish to find a mate and begin provisioning nest cells.

      I suppose if I were you, I’d go the route of picking a reasonably warm (or least chilly and not rainy) upcoming day, and try to warm her up well and offer more sugar-water, to the point where she’s more energetic, then see if she’ll fly off. If she’s emerged early, possibly others of her species may have too?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  10. I just found a bee inside my home today and the forecast shows cold weather for 4 days. In fact, it won’t get above 50 degrees for months. It’s Dec. 20th. What do I do? Release it when it is 40 degrees? Please advise as I was not expecting another guest for Christmas.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Natasha

    1. Did you find a largish, roundish fluffy bee (more like a bumble bee) or a thinnish, stripey less-fluffy bee (more like a honey bee)?

      Without knowing what kind of bee, I'd opt for keeping your bee for the next few days (in an enclosure somewhere coolish indoors, cooler at night). Offer occasional sugar-water during the day.

      Then on the morning of what looks to be your warmest (hopefully sunny?) upcoming day, I'd warm your bee up well (placing the enclosure in a warm room), ideally "ramping up" the bee's energy to be moving around more (even flying a bit in the enclosure). Offer more sugar-water, then try releasing at the warmest time of day.

      Feel free to send any photos/video in reply to the email from my website, if you'd like help identifying your bee! Just occasionally at this time of year, someone finds a "bee mimic" (a hover fly striped like a bee), and since those can handle cooler temperatures (they're also great pollinators!), a close look can be helpful.

      Bees don't generally make good Christmas guests, unless you're serving up entirely sweet and floral treats!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  11. Hey, today I found a bee in the pool if I had left or for a few more seconds it would have died I left it in the sun thinking it would dry of and fly away but it didn’t so o bring it to a towel to keep it warm and fed it some sugar water it steal looks pretty weak

    What should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lili

    1. Do you know if it's a honey bee (thinner and less fluffy with stripes) or a bumble bee (rounder and fluffier with various color patterns)?

      Since it's later in the afternoon where you are and your bee is still weak, I'd consider keeping it overnight in an enclosure (somewhere cool, mimicking outdoor temps or slightly above). Then tomorrow, once the day starts warming up, I'd offer more sugar water and put your bee out in the sun with its enclosure open.

      Sometimes bees just need some more time to recover, especially from a near-drowning. This way, your bee is safe from predators for the night in its weakened state. It then has the whole day ahead to warm up well in the morning, drink more sugar-water, and fly off!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  12. Heya, I think I found a queen whose hibernation had been interrupted by our council sweeping leaves, she was nearly frozen to the floor when I found her and had appeared to have already lost a leg trying to free herself. I've brought her home in a little tub and she's moving but not interested in sugar water, she just seems to have bursts of energy where she's struggling to manage without her other leg and then she goes back to resting. What can I do to give her the best chances without her leg, if anything?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Buzzlina

    1. She’ll be able to survive even if missing a leg, but the fact that she was awoken by the council leaf-sweeping, leading to her spending energy trying to free herself after being frozen, makes this a much less ideal situation for her. I’m so glad you found her, and care enough to help her out!

      Usually, it’s important not to disturb hibernating bumble bee queens, and the accepted advice is never to bring them indoors, since that disturbs their hibernation. However, it’s also the case that she will be relying on energy reserves for hibernation, which have been sapped by the unusual circumstances she experienced. I’m thinking that we probably do need to try to replace some of her energy reserves, if she’ll accept that help.

      I would mix up a sugar-water solution for her that’s stronger, still using room-temperature water, but at 2:1 (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) rather than 1:1. That’ll ensure she has a more energy-dense drink. You may need to stir vigorously for longer to get the sugar into solution, and it may help to warm the water gently (just don’t heat it too much).

      If she’s indoors somewhere at reasonably comfortable (for us) room temperatures, she should warm up enough to drink. Sometimes it helps to touch a tiny drop of sugar-water to the tips of their antennae, so that they realize what is on offer. Other times, simply dripping the sugar-water over a cut dandelion or similar available bee-friendly flower can elicit a drinking response.

      If she doesn’t extend her tongue though, there’s no other way to get food into her, so it’s possible that no matter what you do, she may not take the solution. I still think it’s worth trying though, since we know she struggled to free herself (to the point of losing a leg), after being exposed to freezing conditions with her leaf-litter covering removed.

      Bumble bee queens usually hibernate in the soil, but they also hibernate in log piles and under leaf litter from time to time. The common advice when finding them outdoors is to put them back in the same place. Obviously your council took away the leaves in her chosen spot (it’s so sad that they “tidy” at the expense of wildlife)!

      Perhaps the easiest thing to do in terms of getting her back into hibernation would be to find some similar leaf-litter covering. You could then move some of that leaf-litter cover temporarily, place her on the ground, and gently cover her with plenty of leaves.

      In some ways, I feel like letting her behavior be your guide is important too. This is not a situation that hibernating bees typically encounter, but occasionally animals do disturb leaf-litter. If she’s warmed up and moving a bit from her time indoors, it’s possible that placing her in a similarly suitable hibernation spot might lead her to crawl into a spot of her choosing in order to go back into hibernation.

      If she’s still moving very little though (even after being indoors in the warmth), I’d be tempted to try to do everything for her, namely cooling her down again in a semi-outdoors area such as a garage overnight (well above freezing and protected from frost, but below room temperatures), then placing her gently under leaf-litter.

      I recently found a great resource from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust that goes into detail as to the types of spots queen bumble bees choose, and I think it’d be a worthwhile read for you too. When they dig into the soil, they tend to choose north-facing banks, since they’re less likely to be awoken by the warming earth too early, and a bank of soil helps any rain run off safely.

      https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/beethechange/blog/how-to-help-hibernating-bumblebees/

      I hope you can help her get back into hibernation! Do drop me a line if you have any concerns or further questions, as she’ll be giving you her own behavioral feedback throughout this process.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  13. I found a bee in my house in the middle of winter, what should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ray

    1. Do you happen to know what kind of bee you have? Is your bee thin and striped, more like a honey bee? Or is it rounder and fluffier, more like a bumble bee? Or does it look different than these? Feel free to reply to the email from my website with photos/videos.

      It’s really hard to know what to say in your case, as there just isn’t any weather in your forecast that’s suitable for releasing your bee. I took a look at your state’s weather, and I see the temperatures are super-low currently. It looks like you have somewhat warmer temperatures in a week, but still far too low by bee standards.

      I’m surprised you found a bee in your house at this time of year, since honey bees should be overwintering in their hives by now, and any bumble bee queens should have found places to hibernate underground. It’d be helpful to know what kind of bee it is, as different types of bees have different overwintering needs.

      I wish I could advise you on how and when to release your bee, but having looked at your 10-day weather forecast, I don’t see any such possibility. It’s just far too cold, so your bee won’t make it wherever it was hoping to go, no matter how well-warmed and well-fed it is.

      For tonight I’d say to keep your bee in an enclosure. You can keep most bees for several days to a week or so, offering a few small drops of sugar-water mix from time to time during the day, keeping their box somewhere cool but not freezing at night. Depending on the type of bee, you may be able to keep it longer, or possibly even recreate an overwintering habitat.

      I may be able to help more, once I know the kind of bee you found!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I wish I knew bee types better. It isn’t fuzzy. Longer, thinner yellow body with black stripes. It’s laying on a piece of clothing and is moving very lethargically. It was either in our house somewhere or perhaps came in with our new Christmas tree?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Ray

        1. It sounds like you have either a honey bee or a hover fly that mimics a honey bee. A honey bee needs to get back to its hive for winter, but I just don't see any possible weather in your forecast for releasing a honey bee. They need temperatures of at least low 50s to fly, and however much you warm your bee up, and feed her ahead of time, she'll get cold so quickly I don't see how she'd make it home.

          A few folks lately have found hover flies that mimic honey bees, and they can take lower temperatures (they're also good pollinators)! They look just like a honey bee, except if you look close (maybe take a photo and look close at that), you'll see that their large eyes meet at the top of their heads. That's different from honey bees, whose large eyes are definitely on each side of their heads, not meeting up on top.

          If you think you have a hover fly, any sunny day would make a good one for release, even if it's cold, as they're much better in cold than bees. If you think you have a honey bee, I just don't know what you can do for her, given your weather. The best you could try is to warm her up super well and offer sugar water, to where she's buzzing around in an enclosure, and then let her try her luck getting home by releasing her on a sunny day (I'd go with sunny weather if possible, as the sun rays will keep her warm a little longer). Wish I could help more!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Thanks for the insight and quick replies. We will try out best. :)

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to ray

  14. We've had several days of below 0 Fahrenheit. I just found what looks to be a honeybee barely moving outside . It's 10 degrees right now. I put it in a jar with a bit of honey. After about 10 minutes it's moving much better but still sluggish. If it survives, what should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sue

    1. Do you still have your bee? Have you any warmer sunnier weather in your forecast?

      Those are very cold temperatures for a honey bee, I’m surprised she was out in them. If she is a honey bee, and still with you, she’d need to be released near where you found her to make it back to her hive. But honey bees don’t really fly in temperatures below the 50s F, and your current temperatures sound nowhere near that.

      One other thought: recently someone contacted me thinking they’d found a honey bee in very cold temperatures, but it was actually a hover fly that was a “bee mimic,” looking very much like a honey bee. Hover flies are great pollinators too, and they’re more likely to be found at these very low temperatures. Hover flies look different from honey bees if you look close: honey bees have distinctive large compound eyes on either sides of their head, whereas hover flies having very large eyes that come together at the top of their heads. Honey bees have longer antennae, whereas hover flies have very short stubby antennae.

      One other thought: “she” may be a “he”: honey bee drones (males) are kicked out into the cold before winter, unfortunately to die as part of the honey bee reproduction and life cycle process. Drones look a bit like flies too, with huge compound eyes that meet up top.

      Let me know if you need more help, and feel free to reply to the email from my website with photos/video if you’d like help with identification. I hope it’s not a honey bee worker, as I’m not at all sure what to advise if so… honey bee workers shouldn’t be out in such weather, and without temperatures at least in the 50s, I don’t see how a honey bee could possibly make it back to her hive.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  15. I be saved and revived many many Bumbles over the years. I have always picked them up in my hands and held them for up to 30 minutes, when they are a bit revived they start walking around exploring my hand and arms quite happily, then happily fly off. It’s an amazing experience. I once revived a bumble that had been in freezing cold water over night. Took her in my hand and drove around the quarry in my loader till she revived (I thought she was dead at first , but I had to try) then when she was ready I opened the door and she flew off. I absolutely love Bumbles 🐝 🐝🐝. Also have taken them in over night to let them recover and next morning they happily fly off 😊😊😊

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Craig

    1. That’s so wonderful to hear, your message makes my day! It is a truly special experience, watching a bee revive in your hands ☺️ It’s so amazing how bees revive with just a little help when they’re most in need, and it’s so kind of you to care so much to keep an eye out for bees, and offer them your warmth and help so generously 💛🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  16. I've recognized the bee as a tree bumblebee and I think it's a queen.

    She's outside my door cold and wet she's been there two days.

    I've tried to give her honey and Sugar water... Can I help her?? As she didn't seem to take anything I've offered..

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Becky

    1. Can you bring her in for the night, to warm up a bit and dry off? On my page above, there are a number of details if you click the button “It’s cold, raining, or the sun has almost set…”

      If you bring her in from the rain tonight, that’ll help her dry off, and although you’ll still keep her through the night at a relatively low temperature, you’ll be in a good position to warm her enclosure up tomorrow, so that she fully dries out tomorrow morning. She may well take sugar-water once she’s warmer and drier too!

      Then you can see what days aren’t as rainy, that might work as ideal days for releasing her, so she can find a nice spot to hibernate.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Just a huge thank you! I brought her in.

        And after afew hrs she actually ate the honey I offered.

        She's very active tonight if she's active in the morning I shall release her on the same spot I found her 🙂 thank you for your help and advise xxx

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Becky

  17. I've seen plenty of bees drowning in my pool, could you tell me how long is too long? Also when to scoop up the bee because I didn and I got stung.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Elish

    1. The time depends on how chlorinated the pool is. One way to avoid being stung is to use a leaf or something similar as the scoop. Then put them out in the sun to dry, and ideally offer sugar-water to help them recover. Bees breathe along holes in their sides, so drowning is dangerous for them. If you find many bees in your pool, it can be helpful to put a dish with pebbles and fresh water nearby, so that any bees looking for a drink will have a safer place to go!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  18. I frequently find bees floating in my pool. 80%of the year it’s as simple as fishing them out and setting them on a large rock to dry and fly away. However, in the winter months it gets cold, 30’s at night. Finding a new during the day isn’t a problem. But when I’ve found one in the evening and pulled them out and placed on a paper towel to dry, it’s too cold for them to make an escape. I have a small screened enclosure I bought for just this purpose, to warm them up and keep them onsite until it warms up enough the next day and release. Problem is I’ve never had one make it to morning. They always have died. Makes me so sad my intention was to save them. Posts on your site say people have kept bees for days. What am I doing wrong? They are small honey bees.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Becky

    1. There are a few things that might be causing these bees not to make it. For one, they might have spent a little too long in the pool. I don't know if you have a chlorinated pool, but any chemicals added to fresh water wouldn't be good for them. Bees breathe through holes along their sides, so being immersed in water is very dangerous, and they expend much energy quickly trying to escape.

      Where is the enclosure you've set up, and what temperature is it at night when they're in there? Many of the posts here discuss bumble bees, which are able to spend nights outdoors at low temperatures, depending on the time of year. Honey bees are such social bees by comparison, always spending nights in their hives together. In the hive, they aim to maintain temperatures of 95°F year-round! I wouldn't keep a honey bee as warm as that at night in an enclosure, because it would become too active and likely damage its wings trying to escape, thinking it was warmer out than it was. But I'd keep them at a temperature closer to 60°F at a minimum, I think.

      It's possible that the shock from nearly drowning, along with being chilled, is causing too much stress to the bees you're trying to keep overnight in winter months. A wet bee will feel colder too. Do you offer them a few drops of sugar-water too? They may also be hungry, having expended such energy trying not to drown.

      I would keep any wet bees you find in the evenings somewhere warmer overnight, closer to our indoor temperatures, making sure that sugar-water is accessible (but not easy to fall into and get sticky accidentally), and see if that improves their outcomes. Some will simply have spent too long in the water though, and if chlorine is involved, that will also make their recovery less likely.

      It's hard to prevent bees from ending up in pools in the first place, but if you have a saucer nearby with pebbles for easy perches, which you keep topped up with fresh water, that may help reduce the number of bees you find in your pool.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks for your reply. It's likely that it's the chlorinated pool. I have a birdbath near the pool and I like the idea of putting rocks in it along with fresh water.

        To answer your questions, I keep rescues in the house in a small screened enclosure. Temps around 75f, I'll keep trying and hopefully I'll have a better outcome the next time.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Becky

  19. UK VERY COLD

    FOUND A BIG BEE SODDEN WET TORRENTIAL RAIN BROUGHT HIM IN AND PUT HIN ON SOME KITCHEN ROLL HE HAD SOME HONEY

    TODAY IT IS VERY COLD OUT SIDE AND DONT KNOW WHERE TO PUT HIM CAN YOU ADDVISE ME PLEASE HES IN SIDE OT MOMENT

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Laura

    1. I apologize for replying far later than is likely helpful. I hope you found some information on this page that may have helped you help your bee. Since it's possible your bee is still with you, I thought I'd write to check to see if you needed any more help?

      Typically big bees at this time of year are queen bumble bees. You can keep them indoors for a number of nights, so long as you keep them relatively cool (but well above freezing). You can offer sugar-water from time to time, and warm them up enough at first so that their fluff dries out, after having been in the rain. The timing for releasing your bee will depend on sunlight and outdoor temperatures, but anything above 13°C is good, and if your temperatures are even lower, your bee can probably manage 10°C.

      Ideally, warm your bee up before releasing her, and offer sugar-water for extra energy. Placing your bee in direct sunlight near any bee-friendly flowers remaining (even dandelions) will help her. At this time of year, large fluffy queen bees are looking for places to hibernate individually underground, so finding some flowers near a spot of dig-able soil covered in leaf litter, may give such bees an extra boost and improve their chances of overwintering.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  20. Hi, two days ago I found a bumblebee in the middle of the road when it was very cold (it's always cold right now, there is almost no sun). I took him home since he couldn't move. I put him in a box and dropped him a small amount of honey, I was happy to see that as soon as he saw it, he ran over it with his tongue sticking out, and he didn't stop eating it! :D at first I was surprised that he ate continuously for ten minutes, then 20, 40 minutes, and when I look two hours later, he still hadn't stopped. Is it normal to have eaten for so long? Did he actually store this honey in his body? Because after that, the next day and today, I didn't see him eat anymore... But he was a little more active, and he even managed to fly few times, which reassures me. Should I be worried that he won't really eat in two days? Can I keep it for a few weeks at home since it's so cold outside? It is 2 centimeters, so is it necessarily a queen? Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lili

    1. I thought it was good to give honey to bumblebees :'(. Now i'm worried, can it kill him or do something bad ? Before i gave him that honey, i've searched on internet what can they be feed with, i saw nectar, pollen and honey... but many others say it can be harmful for them

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to lili

      1. All bees have two stomachs, one that they use for energy for themselves, and the other that is basically a storage container, from which they can regurgitate later. Bumble bees do store nectar in pots in their colonies, but the nectar is stored for much shorter times than honey bees (the latter keep their colonies going over winter, so they need long-term honey stores, but in bumble bees, only the young queens overwinter, and they do so by hibernating while relying on the reserves in their own bodies).

        I've not heard of drinking that long from honey or sugar-water, but it sounds as though your bee is doing fine. Honey isn't always a problem either, it really does depend on the original source of the honey, and the health of the bees that made it. There are some bee diseases that can be spread between honey bees and bumble bees, but that doesn't mean that the honey you offered will necessarily cause your bee any issues. In the wild, bumble bees wouldn't really encounter honey (which is evaporated nectar mixed with enzymes by honey bees). Instead bumble bees would simply be drinking more diluted foodstuffs such as nectar. Adult bees (of all kinds) forage for pollen in order to provide protein for their young, but they themselves don't eat pollen.

        Given the time of year and size of your bee, it's likely she's a queen. It's a hard time of year for young queens, since they have to be sure to top off their own energy reserves sufficiently to make it through a winter of hibernation in a tiny burrow that they dig for themselves in the ground. Your bee will be fine with you for a number of days, so long as you keep your bee cool (but not freezing) at night, and offer food (ideally a sugar-water mix) during the day, perhaps every few hours or so, depending on how active your bee is. By observing her behavior over time, you'll get a sense of what she feels she needs.

        If you have any sunny days above 10°C, you might try releasing her then, after warming her up well and offering more sugar-water. Bumble bees are able to withstand cooler temperatures than many other bees, and if she feels well topped up with energy reserves, she should be able to put her time into finding the right spot in which to burrow into the soil for winter.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  21. I rescued a Common Eastern Bumblebee from this freezing cold weather! It is now flying around and it is active after getting warmed up and having honey. How long will it survive inside the house?? I was thinking of putting it outside, whenever it warms up, but living in Georgia, it’s pretty cold at the moment!!!! You never really know when it will be nice and warm, again. We can sometimes have a very moody weather lol! By the way, my middle name is Elise!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to IgotarabbitnamedHazel2020

    1. If it's a queen common eastern bumble bee (0.8-0.9 inches), you can keep her for a number of days, ideally cool but not freezing at night, and a bit warmer during the day (but not so much that she's expending too much energy).

      If she's flying around, that's probably too warm for keeping her, since she'll likely want to be on her way, and be somewhat confused about being indoors still (having no idea how much colder it is out).

      If she's somewhere cooler, she'll naturally slow down (and you'll also be mimicking what would happen outdoors, except you'd be keeping her from freezing, and also safe from predators while she's too cold to move).

      Once you do have a better day (with at least some sunlight, and temperatures above at least 50 F ideally), you could warm her up well indoors, and then see how she reacts to being outdoors.

      Make sure to offer her some sugar-water mixture from time to time (she doesn't need much if she's not very active, but it's good to make sure to offer a drop or two from time to time during the days, just in case she's hungry).

      You could happily keep her a week or so at least in these conditions, ideally in some kind of enclosure with objects of interest (flowers, leaves, twigs, that sort of thing).

      I doubt she's a worker (0.3-0.6 inches) given the time of year, but if she is one, her natural lifespan would be coming to an end. The same goes if your bee is actually a male (males have patches of yellow on their faces, below their antennae).

      Only the queens survive winter, and they do so by hibernating in their own little hole that each queen digs in the ground, typically under some leaf litter, often on the north side of a slope (so that there's less chance of flooding their burrow, plus less winter sun to awaken them from hibernation too early).

      It's an unusual name, and a cool middle one too ☺️

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  22. I found a bee in early morning after a drop in temp 50 degrees not moving but was still alive. I started crying as I didn't know what to do and your site was the 1st I clicked. Followed your instructions, 6 hours later he flew from the shelter after I put him in the sun. Thank you so much

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Michelle

    1. I found a bee in the early morning that appeared to be dead, he wasn't but he barely grasped a piece of paper I picked him up with. We had a quick temp drop to below 50 degrees last night. I started crying thinking this little guy was dying alone hungry and cold. Your site was the 1st I clicked to see what I could do to save him. I followed your instructions bringing him in to warm up, sugar water and when the sun finally came out I placed the box where I normally see them. I watched as he really perked up cleaning his antenna's and took a few sips and I got to watch him fly away hopefully back home. THANK YOU ❣️❣️ I wouldn't have known what to do and am still tearing up over a bee, but life is life and you helped me save one. I have a few pics n videos. Mostly I just thank you for taking the time n care to inform people how to help. You made my day and his I'm sure!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Michelle

      1. I'm so happy your bee is alright! I missed seeing your question earlier, as my website had a glitch and didn't send me an alert as usual. I think I fixed that, but in the meantime I'm just so so happy that your bee perked up and flew away after you helped him... that's such a good sign, you saved your bee!

        I'd love to see pictures and video, feel free to reply directly to the email from my website with those 🐝💛

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  23. I found a bee outside today at my front door, it is 28 degrees outside and I thought it was dead but it moved when I went to swish it away, so I brought it inside in a container and gave it 50/50 boiled sugar water on a qtip, it sucked it down and is now lively, I didn’t know what kind of bee it is and if I should keep it inside for the winter, the ground is frozen and I doubt it will survive out there.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Shea

    1. I am so sorry I didn't see your bee question sooner (there was a glitch on my website after an update)!

      If your bee is still with you, feel free to reply directly to the email from my website with photos of your bee, so I can take a look and see what kind of bee it is. The answer to your question depends on the kind of bee, though very cold temperatures are hard on all bees.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  24. Hello, today I found a frozen worker honey bee near the river. She is small and the wings look smooth, I think she is young.

    The temperature was around 50 Fahrenheit. This place is about 30 minutes from my house so I had to carry it in a box in my pocket. I fed her honey and flowers plucked a few days ago at my grandmother's (I'm worried that the pollen is no longer there), she quickly revived and began to run quickly around the box. Only after that I read that honey is dangerous for bees.

    Decided to release it tomorrow because it's 44 degrees Fahrenheit right now. It turned out that today was the warmest day until spring. Tomorrow the highest temperature is 48, which is not enough for honey bees. Now I don't know what to do because on other days the temperature will be below 45 even up to 32, and next Sunday snow is forecast! In addition, I do not know on which side of the river she lives and I am worried that she may fall into the water during the flight. It is a bad option to keep the bee in you for the whole winter?

    It is also interesting to know how often she should be given sugar water

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tony

    1. I am so sorry I didn't see your bee question sooner (there was a glitch on my website after an update)! I hope your bee managed to take off on the warmer day near 50 degrees... honey bees really do need to get back to their hives for winter, they're highly social bees and I don't think they would survive all of winter in an enclosure, away from their hive.

      One trick when there's only cold days ahead is to warm them up well indoors first, so they have some warmth to help them get on their way. Once they're flying, especially if it's sunny, they can often keep going. But as a honey bee worker, she'd need to be released as close as possible to where you found her near the river.

      Usually honey bees have a pretty good weather sense, and avoid cold temperatures by staying in their hives, but perhaps she got caught out unexpectedly. Honey isn't always a problem for bees, it just can pose a problem at times, depending on how the honey is processed, and the health of the bees that originally produced it.

      In terms of how often to offer sugar-water, probably every few hours during the daytime, but it depends on how active your bee is. They'll stop drinking when they're full, and if they're still full when you next offer sugar-water, they won't stick their tongues out. At night (so long as they're kept somewhere cool so that they are less active), they don't need any supplemental sugar-water.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks for the answer. I have already released the bee, because there will be no warmer weather for the next 3 months. the temperature was 9 degrees Celsius, before letting her go I fed her with sugar water. I carried her in a box wrapped in a warm scarf, so she warmed up. She was very active even in the box. I released her near the place where I found her. She flew away from me very quickly, I hope she flew to the hive

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Tony

  25. A Bumblebee has been “frozen” in place on a flower since yesterday (at least that’s when first saw them). I thought it would revive and fly away when warmer, but it got cooler overnight and is now snowing. The Bee moved a little bit is still on the same flower and I’m not sure what I can do as the weather is not going to get warmer anytime soon :(

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rachel

    1. Poor bee! Your state's weather looks very cold for your bee. Can you tell if it's a particularly large bumble bee? Feel free to reply to the email from my website with a photo. Basically I'm wondering if it's a (larger) queen bumble bee who was simply trying to get a bit more foraging in, before hibernating over winter in the ground. If so, perhaps there's something we might do to help her. If it's a smaller male, they don't sadly make it past the end of the season.

      One of the troubles with there being far fewer flowers for bees these days, is that bees are encouraged to push their luck later into the season. Queen bumble bees need certain reserves before they can safely go into hibernation. Then they dig a little hole in the ground. Again, your bee may not be a bumble queen, but it is the right time of year to find them outdoors (though a bit too late, given your snow and upcoming weather).

      Bees can hang onto flowers even when they can't otherwise move, but your bee won't survive a night of real freezing temperatures (as far as I've read, 40 degrees is about as low as they can manage, and they're not moving at that point). You could bring your bee indoors to warm up, and offer sugar water, and that should revive your bee, but the question is, what next.

      Bumble bees hibernate between 2-6 inches underground over winter. They're pretty choosy about hibernation spots, but I do wonder: if you warmed her up indoors, not so warm that she'll be shocked by going outdoors again, but warm enough to get moving (upper-50s?), and then placed her on some relatively loose soil (dig-able for a bee) that's ideally covered by leaf litter, whether she might try to hibernate? Perhaps you could even making a few small indentations in the soil (maybe give her a few choices) to get her started, though I'm not sure she'd accept any of these?

      Again, this is assuming she's a queen bumble bee. If she is, then helping her out might help several hundred future bumble bees. Evolutionarily speaking, she's simply left it too late if so, but there are few enough bumble bees these days that it'd be nice to help. They're so choosy about spots though! If once she warmed up a bit, and lapped up as much sugar-water as she wanted, perhaps she'd naturally dig into the soil, especially if you placed her in a sunny spot where there's loose soil and leaf litter covering it? I do see there's at least some sun in your upcoming forecast.

      If she's a bumble bee queen, I'd definitely bring her in tonight as she'll freeze otherwise. Leave her enclosure somewhere cool, so she doesn't get confused about the temperature (upper 40s at the lowest, lower-50s probably better). If instead she is likely a smaller male, then you might as well let nature take her course, as the bee won't live much longer no matter what you might do.

      It's very kind of you to care about your bee 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  26. So, you mention sugar water is only for emergencies.

    However, in the Fall, bees swarm my hummingbird feeders. Having tried all manner of things to dissuade them, I've taken to providing four bee-dedicated feeders in addition to hummingbird feeders (the difference being in the feeder's openings and distance from the opening to the sugar solution). This (mostly) keeps the bees away from the hummingbirds' feeders.

    BUT ... I've also taken to leaving the four feeders out long past the last hummingbird sighting. I thought that since there are no late-season flowers around here (that I know of), I was helping the bees get ready for Winter. Now I'm wondering if I'm not doing them any favors.

    Any thoughts?

    Side note: I pulled those feeders yesterday because the weather turned bad. One of the feeders had a single bee hanging on (40° F and cold North wind). It's not a honey bee (darker body) and too small for a carpenter bee. I'm assuming is some type of solitary bee.

    I thought it was a goner, but it moved, so I brought it inside.

    It's now in a container with sugar water and small leafy branches from one of my shrubs. It looks like it's doing OK, but I have a problem . . . a week or more of low temperatures. Monday is the only day that might be OK to release it (high of 45° and sunny). Then, the next ten days are all forecast in the 30s.

    You mention waiting until it's at least 51° out, but I'm not seeing that happening for a while.

    So . . . should I release it on Monday and let it takes its chances?

    The alternative is trying to keep it in a container for more than a week and hoping the weather eventually warms up.

    Thoughts? Advice? Castigations?

    ejd

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to ejdalise

    1. First off, I'd never castigate anyone who's trying to help bees!

      As far as sugar-water goes, the main concern is just that bees might go for that as an easier source than flowers, and in doing so, they'd be missing out on some of the critical minerals and amino acids they'd get from flowers. That said, honey-beekeepers frequently do offer sugar blocks overwinter, especially in the upper MidWest where it gets so cold, and their bees manage on that.

      If bees (of any kind) are still flying after most flowers have disappeared, then sugar-water will be their only source of energy, and we can't blame them for seeking it out. In an ideal world, there'd still be flowering plants even during the late fall and early spring. But considering how vilified some flowers are as "weeds" now, and how much space is urbanized or set aside for growing food crops, flowers can be hard to find, especially in early spring and late fall, and particularly for bees (like solitary bees) that really don't fly far.

      Might I take a look at your bee? Feel free to reply directly to the email from my website with photos/video. It's possible that it's a bee which may naturally be near the end of its life at this time of year. If your bee doesn't make it in your care, that'll be the reason, not anything you've done.

      Monday sounds like the only possibility for releasing your bee. Depending on the bee, releasing it may simply give it one last day to enjoy its life outdoors. But if it has anywhere it'd been planning to go, that'd be the day. The smaller solitary bees can brave some pretty low temperatures, from my experience. I'd warm your bee up indoors (not so much as to shock it when it goes outside, but at least into the 50s). Offer sugar-water for sure too, to give it an energy boost to help get on its way. Then I'd place its enclosure open in bright sunlight, so that the sun is "bathing" the bee.

      It may well manage to fly off that day, but if it doesn't, then it's kind of up to you whether to hold onto your bee, offering it a little habitat and sugar-water access, basically just letting it live out its life in a bit of comfort, rather than freezing to death or being found by ants.

      Your kindness to bees is much appreciated by them, I'm sure! 💛🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  27. Hello I saved a queen bumble bee yesterday in our stormy harsh weather conditions. She was on my back patio soaked ! I took her in and gave her sugar water . She started to recover quickly ! It was 40• and pouring rain yesterday . By the time she recovered it started to get dark so I made a enclosure and kept her over night . With a just few leaves from outside and a thin layer of a paper towel , at 9 am I put her back on my patio with sugar water on one

    Of my flowers in the enclosure. Hoping she would take flight . I know it can take a couple hours for her to go . While sitting there hoping she goes to the hive . I think her worker bees started to surround her and check her out . She finally got out of the enclosure and is walking along the side of my porch . ( she was buzzing and flying a bit earlier) now she’s just sitting there and I seen what looks like her back pair of wings on the leaf in the enclosure. She has her “main wings” and nothing on her is damaged from the conditions . Is she going to be okay .

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Natalia

    1. What you describe is unusual. A queen bee at this time of year would have left her colony, mated with a few males, and should be searching in leaf litter for a suitable place to dig a tiny hole in which to hibernate overwinter, on her own. For there to be other bees surrounding her is not something I'd expect (unless perhaps they were males, that might explain it)!

      Nor should there be any chance of her wings dropping off, they're very well attached to her body. It would take some kind of physical damage (something attacking her) for any to come off. She does need both sets on each side, but when they're folded up on her back, it's hard to tell that there is a pair on each side.

      I'd keep an eye on her to see what happens. If she was flying at all, that'd seem to suggest her wings are fine, as she'd never get off the ground otherwise. Large bumble bees do "buzz" while walking too, before getting lift-off, so it can sometimes be hard to tell for awhile whether they can fly, until they're sufficiently warmed up.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. We did have a really late summer / late fall . Super unusual weather here in Oregon that it did affect many things . She was doing great inside and now outside where it’s sunny and almost 51 degrees she’s just sitting there . I’m super worried for her ! She’s definitely a queen bumble bee . She is super fuzzy and and black with the yellow by her head and butt . Not sure if she’s young or old though … she didn’t get attacked or handled at all but I’m wondering if this Trippy weather is off setting her ? I have to work from 12-8 and afraid I will not be able to help her then . I really want her to thrive and go home . Also for me to note I live in an apartment on the second floor and she was on my back patio 7 feet plus off the ground where I found her and that’s where I put her back today ! Thankyou Elise

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Natalia

        1. She's most likely a young bumble bee queen, given the time of year. The prior generation wouldn't be out and about. I'm guessing the issue is that 51 degrees is just a bit too cold for her, even in the direct sun (it'd be too cold for most bees). Will it get any warmer later today where you are? I hope so! Given you'll be leaving for work, and also the location where you found her, here's what I'd probably do (especially if it'll keep warming up today... hopefully it'll at least hit 55?)

          She can't hibernate on your back patio (well, she could inside a plant pot, and they do that from time to time, but we don't know if she still needs to forage more in order to top off her reserves in preparation for hibernation). She'll probably have her best chances if you take her somewhere outdoors where there's undisturbed leaf litter over some nice soil, as well as some bee-friendly flowers nearby. By "bee-friendly" I mean not sprayed with anything, and ideally flowers on which you've seen other bumbles foraging.

          Usually I recommend that bees are released right where you find them, but in her case, since she's definitely a queen, and given the time of year, she'll not have a "home" to go to, she'll definitely be looking for an undisturbed spot with some loose-ish soil where she can burrow for the winter. Offer her more sugar water too first (being careful as she'll be clumsy if she's cold), since she needs all the energy she can get right now.

          If you can find a place outdoors with bee flowers and sunlight, as well as undisturbed leaf litter, she'll have her best chances! If you've time before leaving, you could bring her indoors to warm her up more in her box, and then offer her some food, to give her kind of a warm head-start to going outdoors again. I know you did that this morning, but I think she got cold too fast. Queens are large bees, and need quite a bit of energy to get going!

          If she has some leaf litter though, near bee flowers, she'll be able to crawl under leaves to keep safe at night, and then crawl over to the flowers and sunlight as the day warms up. Sometimes they simple crawl about, being too cold to fly. That shouldn't stop her from foraging and finding a spot to hibernate, if you can locate a nice area outdoors!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Okay perfect !! I live in a forest so make sense ! And yea unfortunately this is the warmest day for the rest of the year . The rest of the week will be in 40-30 degrees today was a random day that it got sun and is 50 . Oregon has bipolar weather ! I will try to re warm her inside and then go downstairs and put her where the flowers and leaves are !

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Natalia

            1. Wow good news I think ! Happened fast . I went out back to put her back into the enclosure with picking her up with a leaf . She touched the leaf and flew away !!!! I hope she finds her safe burrow hibernation home !

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Natalia

              1. Sounds very promising! Bumble bees can decouple their flight muscles from their wings (internally) in order to warm themselves up (basically they vibrate their wing muscles, but without activating their wings, which generates heat... they might be the only, or certainly one of the few, insects that can kind of get around the cold-blooded issue). So she may well have been doing that along with soaking up sun rays! These temperatures are right on the edge for bumble bees, but they're resilient creatures, pretty good at dealing with swings in temperature around spring and fall.

                Nice of you to care so much, I'm sure it gave her a "leg up" as it were, to have sugar-water and be warmed up and dried off, so as to take advantage of the warmest day you'll have! I wish her (and you) all the best 🐝💛

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  28. A found a small worker bee tired an cold sat still not moving in my bathroom,so a collected it gently in my hands gave it a few drops of sugar water which it did take,now it’s flying round my kitchen,it’s nighttime outside so it’s now sat above a light happy warm looks to be sleeping,should a just leave it till morning now an let it go

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Will

    1. So long as your bee is in no danger from predators around your kitchen (pets, for example), and so long as you tread carefully (quite literally) tomorrow morning and believe you'll be able to find her, then your bee should be fine overnight without being in an enclosure (I typically recommend enclosures for their own safety). If she's cooler (assuming your house cools down at night), she also won't typically move too far.

      I'd definitely wait until morning to release your bee, since it'll be too cold and dark tonight for your honey bee to make it back to her hive. Once the day starts warming up, offer a few drops of sugar water again, so that she has plenty of energy to begin her day, and release her just outdoors, ideally letting her "bathe" in direct sunlight for a bit, which'll help her get going again!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  29. I found a weak honey bee and brought it to a bush to get out of the rain. It was soaked and sprawled out. I tried to put honey close to it before reading your blog, and as it was eating, it rolled into the honey. Now I'm desperate to find out how to help it out of this sticky situation..all jokes aside, I'm worried it will die. All I wanted to do is help it and things got significantly worse. I can't find any answers and I dont know where its hive is. I put it in a grapevine hoping with some rain the honey will wash off? Help!! Should I bring it inside?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Susana

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your bee’s sticky situation. Honey will wash off, and so long as your bee has enough energy, she’ll also try to clean herself off. In the times this’s happened to others, I’ve recommended dripping slightly-warmer-than-room-temperature water over the bee, ideally from a clean dropper. So long as it’s warming up outdoors where you are, as well as raining, that should help.

      It’s important that your bee not be immersed totally in water, as they breathe through holes along their sides. Also ants are a danger, as a cold sticky bee will attract them even more than simply a cold, mostly defenseless bee (bees can’t move much when they’re cold).

      I don’t know if you’ll be able to find your bee again, but if you do, you might try dropping some water over her. She’ll then be a very wet bee, of course (as she would be in the rain). Honey bees usually keep track of the weather and head home in good time before rain, but occasionally they do get caught out in it. It doesn’t harm them per se, but they can’t fly in the rain, and they tend not to be able to move much at all until they begin warming up and drying off.

      If you do find your bee, and give her a dousing, I’d bring her indoors in an enclosure to warm up more and begin drying faster. I don’t know what your weather is like, but since she won’t be able to fly in the rain, she’s a bit stuck currently. She might be able to fly in a light drizzle, but not much more. She’ll also need temperatures above 55 degrees or so to be able to make it back home to her hive.

      If you do find her, and bring her in, keep a good eye on her. I would drizzle water over her to loosen the sticky substance, and warm her up inside a room that’s a good temperature for you, ideally where she’ll start to be much more active in the cleaning process herself, before the honey and water dries on her. If she can start cleaning while she’s drying, that’s the ideal situation, but she’ll need to be warmed up in order to do so.

      Let me know if I can help in any other way! I should add to my page here detailing this process, as it has worked for a couple people who’ve contacted me in the past with similar situations. Warming her up and diluting the honey should help, but it’ll be up to her too, in terms of her strength (and we don’t know her age or any other factors that might be affecting her energy levels). Bees are very clean little creatures, and so long as she has energy and warmth, along with your help diluting the honey, she’ll be able to survive this and, once it’s warmer and not raining, make it back to her hive.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  30. A wood bee (yellow one) has fallen out of the nest, think it is a baby. It keeps rolling on it's back. I've tried for 2-3 days to get it to walk (to water or to a higher place) but it keeps rolling on it's back. It wants to be held by my hand! I brought it inside tonight and gave it some sugar water on a Qtip. I put a flower in the box with some sugar water on it. The poor thing keeps rolling over on its back. What to do next?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to RS

    1. Does your bee roll onto its back, even when it's warmer during the day? Have you seen it extend its tongue to drink any sugar water, on the Q-Tip or flower?

      Bees can be clumsy when they're cold, sometimes to the point of falling over. Though it's kind of unusual to fall over simply owing to being cold, mostly they just don't move when they're cold. Can you see any damage to the bee? Does your bee have all six legs still?

      Since bees go through metamorphosis, their size is more to do with the type of bee (carpenter bee, bumble bee, honey bee, etc.) than the age of the bee. In social bees, smaller bees are usually worker bees. Sometimes, a lack of nutrition early in life (when they're grubs) leads to being much smaller in size as adults.

      It might help if I could take a look at your bee. Feel free to reply to the email you receive from my website with photos or video. It's very kind of you to care for your bee (they love the warmth of our hands too, so that part doesn't surprise me)!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  31. She was out in the cold yesterday. Trapped on one of my cloth decorations. I put a leaf of honey and water near her. She moved towards it while I was away. Think she has a broke wing and it's cold. Kinda lost what to do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amber

    1. That's too bad that she may have a broken wing, as there's nothing to be done if so, other than keeping her comfortable. I took a look at the weather forecast for your state, and you're still getting some warm days there. If you're not certain about her wing, you could try putting her outdoors on a flower once the day has warmed up (placing her in direct sunlight). Though if her wing is broken, she'll simply move about more as she warms up, without flying off.

      Feel free to send photos in reply to the email from my website, if you'd like me to take a closer look at her. I wish there was some way we could repair their wings, but there really isn't. They have four wings, though it often looks like just two. The two on each side hinge together when they fly, giving the look of just one wing per side.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  32. I have a video and I would like to know were these Bees dead and did the heat and light revive them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Brian McArdle

    1. Bees are never actually dead if they're "revived", simply so cold or hungry that they hardly move, making us think they're dead until they're warmed up and/or fed. Warmth can turn an unmoving bee into an all buzzed-up bee reasonably quickly! If you have a video you'd like me to take a look at, feel free to reply to my email.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  33. Hi, I found a little bee (I'm not sure what kind, but quite small) lying on the sidewalk in the park not moving at all. At first I thought she was dead but decided to warm her up in my hands just in case and surprisingly she slowly came back to life! I'm in MN and it's currently 44F out and getting down to the 30s tomorrow but warms up to the 60s this weekend (still about 5 - 6 days away). Should I try to keep her until then? I gave her some sugar water which she hasn't drank yet but I'll try to put it a lil closer. And I have some Maximilian sunflowers still in the garden that I can cut and put in with her. When (if I can) release her, should I put her back in the park where I found her or in my garden where there are at least some flowers left (park is a few blocks away). Thanks so much for this article, I've already found it very helpful!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jesse

    1. Update: after drinking some sugar water she was very energetic and buzzing around her container, and since it got up to about 45 and the sun came out I decided to try to release her. She seemed very happy on a flower for a bit (I think maybe feeding) but then the sun went away and she slowed down and eventually the strong wind blew her off onto the ground where she was very slow again :( so I brought her back inside. I'll put her in a cooler place as you suggested and remove the flowers at night. Hoping I can release her in two days when it's sunny and 48.... (Ps I believe she's a worker honey bee)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Jesse

      1. It's good to hear she recovered so quickly, even if she did get caught out in the cold again, and ended up needing your care once more! That seems to suggest there's nothing wrong with her, other than having been caught out foraging in the cold. Although her judgment is perhaps not the best, since ideally she would have used her brief burst of energy to get back to her hive!

        Since she's probably a worker honey bee, she's going to need a warmer temperature than, say, a fuzzier bumble bee that generates its own heat (honey bees don't have that trick of being able to warm themselves up by vibrating their wing muscles without flying). So I think you may need to keep her for longer, as anything even in the low 50s is likely too cold for her. She should be able to sustain herself above 55, if there's sunlight to warm her, but temperatures closer to 60 would be better for her.

        Honey bees are highly social bees, and at night they head back to their hives, where they huddle together with their sisters for warmth (falling asleep holding onto each other's legs)! I always worry keeping honey bees overnight, since they're so social, but I've done so myself while waiting for better weather, and it has seemed to work out each time, with them buzzing off purposefully once the weather improves. Workers have short lifespans though, typically only a few weeks. But workers born closer to winter have much longer lifespans, since they're warmly tucked in their hives together, nibbling off their honey stores, where they'll live for many months, through all of winter.

        You can get a sense of her age by carefully examining the edges of her wings. If they're tattered at all, she's an older forager (all those trips out collecting nectar and pollen wear bees out quite quickly). If her wing edges are smooth, she's a younger bee, and I'd feel a little more confident about keeping her for up to a week in that case. If you have any better weather unexpectedly though, anything with sun above 55, I'd try her outdoors again sooner.

        She'll settle down with you, so long as her enclosure is somewhere cool. Rather than leaving sugar-water in the enclosure (risking a sticky bee if she stumbles into it), I tend to offer sugar water just occasionally, while supervising the bee. She won't need much if she's cooler and not moving much, but I always like to offer it from time to time, just to ensure they're not hungry. She'll stop extending her tongue if she's full.

        Since she's a honey bee, it's relatively important to release her near where you found her, so that she still has her bearings and can make it back to her hive easily once she's on her own again. It's possible that she'd be alright finding her way home, even from a few blocks away, but she'll have a better chance being released close to where you found her. On the day you choose, I would make sure she's well-warmed and topped-up with sugar-water, before you release her during the warmer part of the day.

        Let me know if you have any concerns, you'll receive an email from my website, to which you may reply with photos/videos should you need! I would check on her every few hours during the day, and I'd put some things of interest in her box even at night, like leaves, twigs, something to walk on or hide under, in case that makes her more comfortable (although it can make it a little more difficult to check on her then)!

        Inside a hive, she's accustomed to what we'd consider very cramped quarters, so she may like to be under something like a leaf for a feeling of safety, even if there's no way to make it feel like home without other bees! Studies show that bees experience optimistic and pessimistic states too, something akin to primitive emotions (even dreaming too), and so I tend to think that the safer they feel in unfamiliar circumstances, the better they'll do, since there's no way to explain our help to them!

        It's kind of you to take such good care of your bee 💛🐝✨

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  34. A bee got inside my house, and my cat tried to get it so I picked up the honey bee with my finger. The bee seemed to be cold due to the temperature outside. I did some research and found your website. And gave the bee some sugar water. Immediately the bee drank the sugar water. The bee flew off my finger 5 minutes tops. Happy to help one bee at a time.

    The previous year my pool was open and the bees seemed to be drowning in the water every time I went out for a swim. So every day I went out and "fished" out the bees. All I fished out survived to live another day.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tina G.

    1. That's wonderful to hear you've been helping so many bees! I'm so happy to hear that a little sugar-water revived your bee (and probably the warmth from your finger too) 💛🐝✨

      Honey bees are particularly prone to falling into pools of water, since they use water to cool their hives in summer (fanning their wings to evaporate it and produce a cooling effect). One thing to help prevent them falling in, is to place little saucers of water near the pool, with rocks or pebbles sticking out so they have good places to perch while collecting water. If they find these, it gives them another option to avoid braving more dangerous pools!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks for the tip! I'll use it for next summer! (my pool is closed for the year) No sign of the bee anywhere, it must be flying around somewhere, or in the hive. Thank you for the information on this website!

        Have a good day,

        Tina

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Tina G

  35. helllo elise it is fall currently and we had snow and a frezze last night and i found a big bumble be that might be a qween frozen on a flower I brought it inside and built a selter for it and gave it suger water it started to move around and i brought it out side and it dident want to get on a flower i brought it back in and it did not move for 20 min then started moving again and wanted to get out of the tupperware contaner with plastic rap with holes in it i brought it out side it did the same thing it is cold out side and the bee is wet so i think that i should keep it over night in a sho box to let it dry then tomorrow i will let it go do you think this is a good plan or what sould i do better

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to emelea

    1. I think it's a good plan to keep your bee in today and also overnight. Just keep her somewhere coolish, monitoring her from time to time. So long as she's cool, she won't expend extra energy thinking it's warm enough to be going about her day while she's still in a container.

      I think a shoe box is a good idea (better than plastic, which they find harder to walk on), and maybe put some things in her container too, fallen leaves and a few twigs, something to clamber over. I realize she'll be harder to monitor if she's under a leaf! But so long as her box is somewhere cool (but well above freezing), she'll be fairly inactive anyway.

      A good day for her to go back out would be any day with the sun out, in the mid-50s or above (the closer to 60 or above, the better). She should dry out naturally indoors in the meantime (she'll look fluffier the drier she is, since their fluff bunches together when they're wet). If she doesn't dry fully today, then hopefully you'll have some sun tomorrow, so she can finish drying fully.

      It tends to be better to offer sugar water only occasionally, and then remove it so she doesn't get sticky in it while unsupervised. She won't need much (or anything more) while she's cool and inactive. Tomorrow morning though, once it begins warming up, it'd be good to offer more sugar water, before setting her out in direct sun (if there is some) either in her box near some bee-friendly flowers, or gently move her onto a flower (ideally one that's not too high above the ground, as cold bees can tumble off things). It'll likely take her awhile to warm up and get going (it can take several hours), but a warm day (and being dry) sounds like all she needs to get buzzing again!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  36. I discovered a stunned and lethargic bee on my 5th floor balcony on Friday (Oct 7) near sunset when the temperature was about 10 degrees Celsius. I googled how to help and found your website.

    Good news ... tomorrow is going to be 16 degrees Celsius!

    As a beginner I caused some problems for my bee.

    The sugar water spilled and she got it all over her wings and body and it took a while for me to figure out that it had hardened on her.

    I gave her a quick bath in room temperature water yesterday (and dried her off with Kleenex) but I notice that she still ends up on her back a lot of the time which suggests that her wings must still be clogged or coated and not functioning properly. I have not her buzzing her wings since Friday night.

    Any further suggestions to aid her survival would be much appreciated, please.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Honey Grace

    1. I should probably add directions to my page for such sugar-water spill incidents, as they do happen occasionally, and as you've found out, it's harder to deal with once it dries, especially on their wings.

      Good to hear tomorrow will be warmer! She may not be buzzing simply because she's cold, but if you think there's a chance her wings are stuck together, then we should be able to fix that tomorrow once it warms up. Since it's still afternoon where you are, how is she behaving currently? Has she sipped any sugar-water today? It'd be good to make sure she has some food in her, though she won't need much while she stays cool, and she may refuse it.

      I think what I'd do is wait until the sun comes out tomorrow morning, and it starts to warm up. I'd set her on her feet gently in the sunlight (if she's not already on her feet), give her a little time (observing her for fifteen minutes or so), all the while looking carefully to see if she can move her wings even a tiny bit. If you still believe they're stuck together, then drizzle slightly-warmer-than-room-temperature water over her wings. This should help dissolve any residual sugar, and once she's warmer and more active, she'll be able to clean herself up much more easily. She'll also dry faster in direct sunlight, so you probably won't need to dry her off directly.

      It will slow her down to be wet first thing, but it's nothing that bees don't encounter from time to time when they're caught out in a rain shower, or clinging to a flower on a rainy day, awaiting sunshine.

      I'd carefully observe her for some time afterwards, to see if she stays on her feet, and begins flexing her wings. It may take several hours of sunlight before she's moving more, though she should begin to clean herself as she warms up (they're instinctually clean creatures, and it's always part of their routine in the mornings)!

      Offer her a very tiny drop of sugar-water mix too, so that she has some energy first thing. Though I'd wait until she's staying on her feet before doing so! Once you've rinsed her wings, you might also try gently moving her to a bee-friendly flower in the sun (ideally a kind of flower on which you've seen other similar bees foraging).

      Feel free to reply to the email from my website with photos or video, so that I can take a closer look at her too!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  37. I found a male carpenter bee at night time his wing looks damaged and he barley moves or does anything he’s on my bed right now and I’m trying to take care of him he wont eat any sugar water and I’m very experienced in Reviving bees to good health I don’t know what to do I tried drilling holes in my fence to make a kind of artificial home for him and he took no Interest at all I’m thinking he may be a older bee and is towards the end of his life cycle or he suffered damage rendering him comatose plz help me idk what to do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tyler

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your carpenter bee. Wing damage isn't something we can repair, though I truly wish it were possible.

      In terms of enticing him to eat, all I can think to do beyond what you may have done, is to try putting some drops of sugar water on a freshly cut flower (something bee-friendly with no pesticides, ideally a type of flower you've seen other carpenter bees visit). I've found touching a tiny drop of the sugar-water to the tip of one antenna helps some bees figure out they're being offered food. But most bees seem to lap it up instinctively if it's within reach, so there might well be something else going on, like coming to the end of his natural life and so simply not wishing to eat.

      As far as drilling holes for a home, that's a really nice thing for you to have done! Even if he's not interested, other carpenter bees may move in over time. Carpenter bees go home to their own family hole at night, and so it may just not smell like home to your bee.

      I'd keep him safe indoors tonight, as he's in a weakened state, and would make easy prey for something (including ants, which aren't so kind when they discover a severely weakened bee, or a bee near the end of its natural life). Your weather this week looks reasonably warm with some sun, I believe? If so, you might see how he responds to gently moving him onto a bee-friendly flower in the sun, with a tiny drop of sugar-water right below his head on the flower.

      Feel free to respond with photos (or video) to the email you receive from my website, if you'd like me to take a look at him too. I do wish you both all the best, it's very kind of you to be looking out for bees as you do 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  38. I found a bumblebee on a flower that had been there all night. She was wet and not moving, I took her in the house with the flower she was sitting on. Put her under a light. Released her next morning but found her again on the flower.Took her in again for an overnight I’m worried. I put a wet Q Tip near her mouth. Now what do I do? She is still alive after another night ty for helping

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gayle

    1. I'm guessing your bumble bee is a male bumble bee, given the behavior and time of year. It's hard to tell males from females at a glance, but the males do often spend the nights on flowers at this time of year. Looking at your weather, it's the time of year when bees'll get cold out at night (and possibly wet, with dew, occasional rain showers, or sprinklers), but warm up in the day happily, to forage and search for mates.

      I'd not be too concerned about this particular bee. Your bee likely doesn't mind coming in for the night, but it's probably fine staying out too, so long as it's on a flower. That's their favorite place to bee if they do spend nights out! Breakfast is ready first thing in the morning as they warm up, and they're also perfectly placed on something that'll attract other bees they might like to meet.

      It's kind of you to keep an eye out for your bee though 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  39. I fish bees out of ponds at night time and try to dry them with a little bit of a Kleenex on their fuzzy part and try to warm them up by putting them on a leaf but it's night time is there something else I need to be doing

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jan

    1. You are certainly helping them simply by fishing them out and drying them off gently. What kinds of bees are these, do you know? Thinner and stripier like honey bees, or larger and fluffier like bumble bees?

      Is there any way to add stones that stick up out of the water to these ponds, to make it easier for bees to escape on their own, if they fall in?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  40. I found a very large bumble bee outside today (50 degree weather) and gave it some sugar water as advised and it kinda perked up but it started walking and falling onto its back and then I’d have to flip it back over. It didn’t seem like it was going to fly away so I brought it inside for the night because it’s going to be in the 30’s tonight. Tomorrow is going to be 64 and I was thinking of releasing it then but why was it falling onto its back? Should I wait a couple days on releasing it? It kept trying to fly but couldn’t. What should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hannah

    1. I'm glad you brought your bee in, as 30's are very low for a bee above ground. It's the time of year when large bumble bee queens are looking for spots in the ground to hibernate, but they get caught out sometimes in the cold. Keep your bee box somewhere cool tonight, but not in the 30s... 40s to low 50s would be fine (basically cool enough to where she doesn't try to move much and waste energy, but where she won't freeze either).

      It'll take her awhile to get going in the morning (possibly several hours). I'm not overly concerned about her falling over, though it could be a sign of a problem, but it's most likely to be just coldness. Large bumble queens need more energy to get off the ground; I've seen them try to fly when they're cold, and fall off flowers, and yet they're totally fine the next day once they warm up fully.

      64 degrees is plenty warm enough for her at this time of year, so definitely try to release her tomorrow. Wait until the day starts warming up properly though. Gently put her on some flowers (ideally where you've seen bees before) in the direct sunlight once the day has started warming (above 55 or so). Or simply place her box open out in the sun, near a patch of flowers, with a drop of sugar water right near her head (just a very tiny drop, as they're super-clumsy when they're cold, and having a sticky bee on top of everything else just complicates things). One other "trick" is to warm her box up indoors first (just in a warm room, not too near a heat source), until she starts moving around a bit, and then place her outdoors in the sun near flowers once the day is warming up.

      She may simply sit outdoors for a long time, soaking up the sunlight, perhaps cleaning herself. That's perfectly normal, just make sure she's either on a flower or that she's right near a tiny drop of sugar water, so that she has energy too while she's warming up. If you have any concerns in the morning, let me know (feel free to send photos/videos in reply to the email you'll receive from my website).

      Kind of you to care about her! We need every bee, especially the large bumble bee queens, since she'll start a colony in spring 🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  41. I found a cold honey bee with one wing missing. It’s October, getting colder. Any advice?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ali

    1. That's rough, poor little bee. There's no fix (I've heard that butterfly wings are sometimes reparable, but bee wings are small and complex, hinging together... bees actually have four wings, two on each side, that attach together with little hooks when in flight).

      She'll not make it through winter without being huddled for warmth with other bees inside her hive. I doubt other bees would take her in if injured though, even if you could somehow find her hive for her.

      Honey bees are social creatures, and I fear that while you might be able to keep her alive for a little while by keeping her warm and fed, it's not much of a life for a social bee. I almost never recommend this, but probably the only thing to do at this point is to deliver an incredibly quick, painless death.

      Not easy for me to say that, and if you're so inclined, you could certainly keep her alive for the rest of her natural life (a few weeks at most, I'd think?), inside an enclosure, with fresh cut flowers and sugar-water, moving her box somewhere warmer in the day, and keeping her somewhere cooler at night.

      Kind of you to reach out on her behalf, and to care about her. Wish I had more positive advice in this case!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  42. I found a bee, and as usual I gave her sugarwater. She perked up and started walking all over me and cleaning herself, but she refused to fly. After 30 minutes I put her on the ground again, but she managed to walk back to where I was standing and hitched a ride home. She would not leave my side for a second, and I started to wonder what I should do. Luckily I found your website! She is now in a little tea-box with holes, waiting for me to finally let her out again. Hopefully tomorrow it'll be okay weather, if not I'll wait another day to release her where I found her. Let's hope! She is definitely not the brightest.... spoons are scary, fingers are lovely unless they approach too quickly, then she raises a leg in protest. She got mad when she couldn't make it up to my keyboard, which was the only time she hummed her wings.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Aranka

    1. I'm happy to hear your bee is safely ensconced for the evening. Make sure to place her tea-box somewhere relatively cool, so that she settles down for the night, rather than thinking it's still warm!

      Their behavior is quite amusing at times ☺️ I'm sure she appreciates your warmth, now that she's decided you're relatively harmless (unless you have a spoon in hand)! Raising a leg isn't an ideal defense or communication strategy with creatures like us either, but bees still often use it (and some of us get the message)!

      If you place her in direct sunlight tomorrow (assuming you have some), she may be able to get moving again, even if it's still relatively cool. If she's a large bumble bee, then given the time of year, she's probably looking for a spot underground to hibernate. Hard to know what'd make a good spot, as bees' criteria are quite variable, but I'd try to encourage her onto some sunny flowers, ideally near undisturbed soil that looks good for digging 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I have her near my open window, by the sounds of it she is way calmer already! She's not a big bumblebee like I'm used to saving, I'm trying to figure out which one I'm looking at. Maybe it's a bombus hypnorum, but the eyes are black. So then it'd probably be a bombus pascuorum! Orange thorax, black legs/eyes/antennae, orange little fluffbutt, loooooong tongue. From her size I actually believe she might be the queen, she's almost an inch, but I don't know how else to determine if she is indeed a queen or just a big lady. Today I learned that there are WAY more bumble bees than I thought.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Aranka

        1. Yes, there are a pretty good number of bumble bee species (over 250 worldwide). Identifying them can be challenging, especially with regional and individual variations in color patterns. Bumble bee experts tend to look closely at face/cheek length, the corner of upper middle legs, and the surface fluff of upper hind legs!

          Thankfully many are more easily identifiable simply by their locale and color patterns. I've just refreshed my memory, and I see Bombus pascuorum lacks the white tail that is distinctive of Bombus hypnorum, so yours is more likely the former?

          She does sound likely to be a queen at near an inch in length. B. pascuorum queens are typically 13mm (compared with 11mm males and 10mm workers), whereas B. hypnorum queens are a bit bigger, typically 15mm (compared with 13mm males and 11mm workers). I just looked this up in one of my bee books here, as we don't have these species over here!

          "Orange little fluffbutt" is the cutest terminology ever 😉

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. She made it! Today I took her back to where I found her. There were a couple of other bees, and at least two others of her kind. Compared to her they were pretty small, so I'm still guessing she's a big girl or a queen. It took a little bit for her to warm up in the sun, but she did some big washies and suddenly was interested in the flowers. She still didn't use her wings much, so I manually moved her from flower to flower for a bit until she seemed to be able to do it herself. I truly hope she'll be okay, at least I tried.

            This species really does look like little orange fluffbutts :D 'traditional' bumblebees are way more yellow and round, these are a little more slender and bright orange on thorax and butt. Thank you so much for all the info on this page! You definitely rekindled my love for bees.

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Aranka

            1. I meant to add too, that it's not at all unusual for much bumbling, and little flying, between flowers, especially earlier in the day, and when it's a larger queen who takes more energy to get buzzing. Big washies (as you put it!) are a good sign too, as it shows she has energy!

              Little orange fluffbutts, I'll remember that 😍

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

            2. Aww, that's lovely to hear, I'm so happy you took such good care of her! B. pascuorum hives typically number between 60-150 bees, so as a queen (very likely), you'll have helped a number of bees in the coming year too ☺️

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  43. Do wall lizards eat leaf-cutter bees?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to B

    1. I would imagine that they might, if chance put a leaf-cutter bee within reach!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  44. I found a pretty large bumblebee on the ground next to my car in the parking lot. It looked motionless but then its front legs started moving so I moved it to the side near a flower bed. I noticed the back part of its body wasn’t moving at all, so I ended up bringing it home with me, gave it some sugar water which it responded to, and then placed it inside a flower in full sun. But it still looked like the back part of its body wasn’t moving (can send video). I checked on it after sundown and it wasn’t moving at all so brought it inside in the flower, poured a few drops of the sugar water in, placed in box with holes and put in garage on top of a few boxes. How will we know if it didn’t make it?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Carol

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your bee's struggles. What time of day did you first find her? You'll know if she didn't make it if, when you open the box in the morning, she makes no movement at all, not even when you ever so slightly nudge her, or breathe warm air over her.

      If she's alive, she'll move a little for sure, but until she's warmed up, she won't move too much. It's concerning that she didn't respond to sugar water and full sun. Since she's a large bumble bee, she's likely a queen given the time of year, so old age would not explain it.

      Did it seem like she was dragging herself along, or did she not even move that much? I may be replying too late, but do feel free to reply to the email you receive from my website with photos/videos.

      Thanks for caring about your bee and helping her 💛 Every bee counts, and every piece of bee-friendly land too! I'm so happy to hear you're devoting some of your garden to them 🌱🌼🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for the reply! I first found her at 4:30pm. I sent a video; she wasn’t even dragging herself so was probably pretty injured. I guess I should have kept her in a container with the sugar water instead of transferring to the flower so soon. She was unresponsive this morning not moving at all. Should I lay her down by the flowers on the ground? :(

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Carol

        1. Sorry for my late reply once more, something came up this morning and I've only just returned. Poor bee, I definitely don't think you could have done any more for her. It's good simply to have kept her somewhere safe in her last moments. I never like to think of the way that some bees get torn apart by ants while they're unable to move much, near the end of their lives. I would lay her down outdoors as you suggested, and as you've probably done by now.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    2. Also thank you for this site and sharing all this helpful information! I’ve also been thinking about how to take a section of our backyard to devote to pollinator plants and flowers and this site will be a great resource.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Carol

  45. Hi, I’ve found a bee drowning at the pool where I work and fed her some nectar, mixed with water. She took some of it but was still very weak and sunset was approaching. I took her home with me and I’m hoping she’ll make it trough the night.

    I’m wondering if by tomorrow morning I should try to feed her again, nectar + water or sugar + water? Which one would be better. I plan to release her where I found her.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Yara

    1. I hope she does make it through the night too! She should do, so long as she wasn't in the water for too long before you found her (hopefully it didn't have much chlorine if it was a swimming pool).

      Do you mean nectar from flowers? Certainly nectar is the best thing for a bee, but sugar-water makes a good substitute at a pinch, for energy. Nectar is always better because it includes trace elements and amino acids that benefit bees, whereas sugar-water simply provides the energy boost without any extra nutrients.

      Don't be surprised if she's slow in the morning. She should revive as she warms up and drinks to gain energy. Yes, definitely release her where you found her, that's kind of you to take her back! And to provide a safe home for her tonight, while she's feeling weak 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. She slept all night, (in my closet!) inside a box, I followed every step from your 1st aid instructions. I kept an eye on her from time to time.

        She started moving this morning, so I proceeded to feed her with some water and sugar and transferred her to a new box, drove her back to the same area, she was very active on our drive back there. As soon as I opened the box she flew away!

        I’m so happy to make a difference, and wanted to express my gratitude for your help.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Yara

  46. Hi Elsie, mainly I wanted to thank you for your wonderful site and information. It has helped me save many bees this year from peril. 2 of them just this morning and 1 from drowning yesterday. One bee was in the house walking towards my cat and the other dropped from a sunflower to the deck floor and was not moving at all. I quickly got them going with your sugar water trick. How fascinating to watch their revival!

    I do have a question though. The little bee that was not moving was outside all night and temps dropped to 29 overnite (so I understand the little bee had powered down so to speak). I brought her inside with the bee that was already inside overnight and set her in a little pyrex dish where I quickly prepared sugar water. As she thawed out and the water cooled I watched her “drink” the water. The other one was strong enough to cling to and eat from a bouquet of hyssop I had just picked last night. After a few minutes I had them both on the bouquet and took the whole thing with the bees still on them and put them outside on our east side porch so they could get benefit of some sun. It was still only 35 degrees out so my concern is was that okay to put them outside with an instant 30 degree swing in temps.

    I’m so concerned for the bees and beneficial insects that a big part of my gardening is devoted to them and birds. I want to learn as much as I can.

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lavenderj

    1. That’s so lovely to hear of your helping nearby bees in need, and of your devotion to nature with your gardening! I’m happy to have been of some help ☺️

      I think in the future, I’d probably wait until the temperature was a little warmer outdoors (given the temperature difference), but if your bees are in direct sun, I don’t think the swing in temperature should have troubled them too much. They can handle lower temperatures for sure (simply falling into a state of torpor), but they might have felt just a bit confused by the sudden temperature swing! I think with the sunlight though, they would have been just fine, since they soak that up well naturally for warmth.

      I took a look at the general weather forecast for your state, and it is on the chilly side, even the highs, though it’ll warm up as the week continues. I wouldn’t be surprised if your bees don’t go far today, waiting another day or two before feeling warm enough to fly off. Then again, they might surprise us! 🐝🌸🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  47. Hello, I have a CARPENTER BEE that fell in my pool . I scooped it out and let it dry in the sun. Much to my surprise it looked lifeless but on drying gave a little twitch. Its just turned cold now and I took the bee inside. I breathed my warm breath on it to warm it up and slowly it came back. I checked it and it drank a small drop of honey i left on my table. Today i put it on a sunflower for a bit but it is only 60 and will drop in the 40s so I took the bee back in. Yes it let be pick it up and climbed on my finger . It was cold so did the buzzing thing had more honey and is now sleeping. I cant let it go since its too cold out . How do I keep it ? Will it hibernate ?

    Her name is Honey .

    Thank you !

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to ANN MARIE

    1. I feel so bad I didn't reply sooner! (a recent website update glitch is responsible)

      If your carpenter bee is young (born this year), it will be hoping to return to the nest (a hole in some wood) that its mother built, where it will hibernate over winter, huddled for warmth with its siblings. Even some older carpenter bees will hibernate again (they usually only live one year, but some females live up to three years).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  48. I found a bumble bee near my home lying on the ground not really moving I brang the bee in to offer some sugar water but did not take and kept the bee in overnight still not talking any sugar water and only will wiggle legs when touched other wise stays completely motionless anything else I can do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Alice

    1. I am so sorry I didn't get back to you promptly! (a routine update caused a glitch, and I wasn't notified of your question)

      I do hope your bee recovered (sunlight and warmth usually helps too). But depending on what happened to your bee before you found it (as well as its age, given the time of year), it may not have been able to make it, no matter what you did.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  49. Hello 👋

    We’ve been looking after a very tired bumble bee for a few hours. Its happily had sugar water and slept on our hands for quite a while. Perked up and started grooming then went really quiet again.

    We placed it on a very cool hot water bottle (its quite cold where we live) and now it’s in a well ventilated box for the night.

    Fingers crossed its feeling better in the morning. My son has taken lots of videos and photos to show his primary school friends on Monday

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Dee

    1. Aww, there's something so special about caring for a tired bee! That's such a lovely idea for your son to share his up-close bee experience with his school friends too 🐝💛

      I'd love to see your photos/videos as well! Feel free to reply to the email from my website with any you might like to share. I hope your bumble bee is all abuzz in the morning, after waking and warming up!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  50. Does sugar water also work for wasps? We have a few sugar water feeders for hummingbirds and recently quite a few wasps have also taken interest as almost as much as the humming birds themselves. On the ground below the feeders I sometimes find them lifeless with only small twitching showing that they are still alive and I'm wondering what I can do to help them.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to S

    1. Hi! Apologies for answering so late here. That's unfortunate that you're sometimes finding wasps twitching and lifeless on the ground below your hummingbird feeders. Yes, sugar water works the same way for rescuing wasps as it does for bees. Both bees and wasps drink nectar as their sole source of food energy (to the extent you see wasps grabbing non-nectar "food", those are simply mother wasps gathering food as provisions for their young).

      It seems strange that these wasps are doing poorly, so near to the sugar water feeders. It seems like a bad sign, since they'd be able to have had a quick sugar water drink so easily by going to the feeders. I don't like to jump to conclusions, but it's possible if you're finding them twitching and dying, that they've been exposed to pesticides.

      That's great you're caring about your wasps though! They're lovely creatures, and good pollinators too. Bees are just wasps that went fully vegetarian (since bees use pollen as food for their young, not caterpillars, spiders, or other typical prey of mother wasps)!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  51. I have been observing a bumble bee all summer as they are rarely seen in this area .It was moving in circles yesterday and when it left I seen a tiny insect with bumble bee markings . Was this a birth I watched? Thanks for info on water/drowning as it has been in my cucumbers all summer ,have no flowers

    Thanks Linda

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Linda

    1. I love bumble bee watching too! So, when bumble bees are born they're full-sized adults. They start as eggs, which hatch into larvae and nibble up pollen, before spinning their own little cocoon and emerging some time later as young adults. This all happens over a few weeks inside the bumble bee colony (typically underground). So the tiny insect you saw must have been something else.

      Adult bumble bees vary in size a little but not too much (e.g. queens always look larger compared to worker bumble bees), but all still look bumble bee sized, overall. There are some smaller pollinators called hover flies which mimic bee markings to protect themselves, even though they're harmless nectar-drinkers and good pollinators too. That's my best guess as to what you may have seen!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  52. I was watching a bee on the side of my pool and a splash knocked it in. I quickly scooped it out on the edge of my net and was watching as it recovered. After a minute or so it cleaned off and then turned and put its abdomen in a large drop of water. It then flew off. I have never seen this before. Was it cleaning itself?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bev

    1. That's wonderful that you scooped your bee out of your pool so quickly, and it must have been neat to watch it recovering! I have never seen nor heard of the behavior you describe. Bees are not given to cleaning themselves with water though; they are able to clean themselves simply with their legs typically. So I'm not sure what answer to offer, other than that your bee was a bit unusual!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I love my honey bees and though it's a small yard, I plant for the wild things. I was amazed at the actions which is why I tried to find an answer. It may have been a mistake but it looked so deliberate. Hope I see my little buddy by the pool again. Thanks!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Bev

  53. Bee found on porch barley moving and kept going on his back. Have it sugar water and placed in garden on a flower but 24 hours later I came home and it’s on the couch on my porch in even rougher shape. Any ways to help him come back?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lyndsey

    1. Could it be another similar bee, perhaps? What's your weather like currently? Was the flower one you'd seen similar bees foraging on?

      I would try more sugar-water, to see if your bee perks up. If warmth and sugar-water don't improve your bee's condition, then sadly there may be something less obvious that it is suffering from.

      It's kind of you to keep an eye out for your bee! Feel free to reply with photos or video over email, so I can take a closer look.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  54. What is happening to the bumblebees in my yard . I have a large lavender plant in my front yard and usually I see lots of bumblebees enjoying the blooms. But lately, I have noticed several dead ones on the sidewalk and driveway on 2 sides of the plant.

    It seems unusual.

    When I noticed the 1st one struggling on the ground, on a hot day , I moved it to some shade. Is it the heat or is a neighbor using an insecticide? Or?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Beanie

    1. How hot is it where you are, exactly? Bumble bees begin to struggle at temperatures over 100°F, though smaller bumble bee workers can still manage above that (larger queens have more trouble).

      It's hard to say with any certainty, but it might sadly also be a sign of pesticide exposure. It's unusual to find numbers of bees dead on the ground, and yet I found a number of them myself a few weeks ago, displaying signs (walking in circles, falling over) of acute pesticide poisoning. Since I saw them dying, I'm certain it was the result of someone spraying nearby (though I couldn't locate the source).

      The one other thing I can think of is that during extreme heat, plants can be stressed too, and produce far less nectar as a result. So it's important to keep plants well-watered for the sake of pollinators. But I'm guessing your lavender is well-cared for, so that's not it!

      Usually bees do better in direct sunlight, but temperatures are often hotter than they used to be for local bees. If you move any into the shade, I'd also offer a drop or two of sugar-water, or place them on a flower, just to be sure they're not hungry too.

      Let me know if you see any more (feel free to reply with photos or video to the email you'll receive, if you wish).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  55. I found a bee stumbling around in the grass. It use unable to fly but was budding it's wings well enough. It couldn't fit tho and was just walking super fast dropping off of any elevated platform. I scooped her (?) up to give her some rest. Have her hummingbird nectar we have (fresh) and water, She loved the nectar and drinks off my finger. It is the next morning butt still no flight. She actually seems to prefer just sitting on my hand it my shirt and cleans herself often. Her bum wiggles around, I assume cleaning her legs. Now in in love with her lol. I need her to be okay. Any advice outer know what may be going on with her?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to April

    1. ugh the typos, "buzzing" her wings around, not budding. The rest you can figure out lol. Sorry

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Spell

      1. She may simply be taking a while to "buzz up" in the morning, that's my guess. Have you tried her in direct sunlight? I see it's already warm this morning where you are.

        Sitting on your hand helps warm her too, and bees often spend a significant amount of time in the mornings cleaning themselves. I've seen the whole process of warming/cleaning take a good hour or two some mornings! So I think what she needs is likely simply warmth and time (have you offered more sugar-water too, or tried placing her on a bee-friendly flower in the sunlight)?

        If she continues not to fly off with more time, feel free to reply to the email you'll receive with photos/video so I can observe her behavior too. And yes, they're so adorable, it's easy to fall in love with them! 💛🐝✨

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  56. I found a bed that keeps rubbing its head, and walking around in a circle motion in the same small area. It doesn’t look injured but isn’t really trying to fly much.

    I’ve given it 2:1 sugar and water which it’s drank out of. There are no nearby flowers but it’s in the sun and near green plants.

    What can I do to help? Is it poisoned? Should I try putting water on it? Hope to save this little guy. Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Steph

    1. That’s good to hear your bee took a drink of the sugar-water mix you offered. It’s hard to know whether some kind of pesticide poisoning may be involved without lab analysis, but it’s definitely something I’d suspect given what you’ve observed. Your weather is certainly warm enough for it to be able to fly. Sometimes bees will act like “cold bees” when they’ve had pesticide exposure. So what happens is that even though they’re uninjured (in terms of their wings and legs), they move more slowly, often circling.

      In acute poisoning cases, they tend to circle and fall over a lot. In less-severe cases, they often sit quietly for extended periods of time, unflying, and don’t head off somewhere safe before nightfall. I’d keep an eye on your bee, and if it looks as though it’s not going to fly off somewhere safe for the night on its own, then I’d gently encourage it into a ventilated box in the early evening, simply to protect it from predators while it deals with whatever is in its system. Place the box somewhere cool and dark for the night, so that the bee doesn’t get confused that it’s daytime (bees naturally slow down when cooler).

      In my experience, bees can recover if they’ve not been too badly exposed. I don’t know if it’s always possible, but I’ve had some luck offering plentiful sugar-water (not too much at once, so as not to fall in and get sticky, but kind of encouraging them to drink a lot if they feel like it, by offering small amounts often). After trying to flush their systems in this way (and keeping them overnight), the bees I’ve treated have flown off, in seeming better health, the following morning once the sun hits and they warm up again.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you SO much for your reply Elise. I will put together a ventilated box for it shortly.

        I’m going to pick up a couple sunflowers as well for it!

        Do you suggest I try to douse it with water to try and wash away any pesticide it might be trying to rub off? Im afraid to overdo it but something is clearly irritating it’s face. :(

        Also; for its box- Pinhole size holes will suffice and be good enough for air flow? And should I put anything in there for the night? Like a small dish of water and small dish of sugar water?

        Thank you again. Im trying not to get attached!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Steph

        1. I know what you mean about getting attached 🥰

          I don’t think I’d try dousing your bee fully with water, since bees really don’t like getting wet (and they breathe through openings along their sides, so dousing might result in further issues for your bee). That said, bees do get wet at times naturally (caught out in light rain, though they try to avoid it), and they recover by cleaning themselves and air-drying.

          So if it seems to you that your bee is continuing to be bothered by something on its face, you might try dropping some room-temperature water just on the spot that’s bothering it. Bees spend a lot of time cleaning, so in and of itself, what looks like excessive cleaning to us can be normal. But continued cleaning of a specific spot on their body is something you’re right to consider. If you do try, just be conservative in the amount of water used, and try to “listen” to your bee, adjusting your treatment to what it feels comfortable with. Additional stress is something to avoid, and of course there’s no way to explain to them how we’re trying to help them!

          For the nighttime, a number of small holes are sufficient, probably larger than a pinhole but still quite small. I tend to put in things like leaves and flowers for the night, as in nature if they were caught out at night without being able to fly off, they’d hang about on flowers if they could. I’d probably not put a dish of sugar water in there though… for one, it can attract ants, and a weak bee is fair game for ants. For another, a clumsy bee can fall in at night unobserved, and dealing with a sticky bee is tricky. So long as you place the box somewhere cool, your bee will fall into a less active state overnight, where it won’t expend energy nor have need of more energy top-ups.

          If you do keep it overnight, I’d certainly offer sugar-water again first thing in the morning (and offer some just a bit before you close the box up for the night too). That’s worked well for me in cases similar to how you describe your bee. It can take bees a little time to get going in the morning, but once the sun is up and begins to warm their bodies, they’ll start to “buzz up” with energy. It can be nerve-wracking opening the box first thing in the morning, but each time I’ve done this, I’ve awoken to a bee that was in better shape than the day before!

          I do hope the best for your bee, you’re doing everything you can for it, and every bee we take care of is one more bee out there in the world, buzzing for another day! The more studies done on bees, the more we realize they’re thinking, feeling creatures, and it’s so amazing when we can help them 💛🐝

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your advice Elise!! I have taken it all in detail and feel confident in my care. ♥️

            I bought it a sunflower, and some tiny leafy (ensured no pesticides) plants to put inside it’s box for overnight. I used a pen to punch several many holes that it certainly cannot get through. It’s shelter is near complete and perfect…

            After putting together everything, I went outside to give it the sunflower and I can no longer find it. 😭😭 I’ve searched everywhere nearby with no luck!!! UGH. It was only circling a small perimeter from when I first found it but I’m truly hoping it flew off somewhere after feeling better from the water and sugar-water. I just hope it isn’t instead suffering nearby that. You don’t have to reply back, but I’m hoping you’ve heard similar stories of quick recovery like this?

            I will continue to keep checking outside throughout the remainder of the day into night in hopes of finding the little guy. I will give an update if I am lucky. I’m trying to stay positive, that not locating it is instead good news. 🐝 ♥️

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Steph

            1. It may well be good news, not finding your bee... I'd say that's almost certainly the likeliest explanation: your bee simply felt better enough to fly off. Though you're certainly prepared now, if your bee happens to turn up again! Sunflowers are excellent for pollinators 🌻🐝

              I had kind of an unfortunate experience the other week here in California, but it's given me some direct observational data that feels relevant. Before the wildfire that destroyed my home and bee meadow, I lived in rural Oregon, and bees were plentiful and never once needed the help I detail on this page. But since fleeing to (and then remaining in) the Bay Area (since I have family here), I've witnessed the pesticide-related "bee kills" of which I'd only read until recently.

              I went out one morning, and bees were literally raining down, so it felt... I counted 15 or so in various stages of acute distress, some dying within minutes of falling out of the sky (mostly honey bees, plus a few carpenter bees and tiny solitary bees). All these bees' symptoms ranged widely, from quick death, to falling over constantly, to simply circling slowly, to just resting oddly unmoving even in the warm early evening.

              I administered sugar-water to all that were still able to drink some, and that's kind of why I'm telling you all of this, because there were a couple of bees that, within an hour or so of drinking (maybe less), appeared to feel much better again, and they flew off (their flight looked positive too, as if they really were feeling better, and knew where they were headed). There were a few more that weren't so well, and looked as if they'd simply sit out all night if left to themselves (out in the open, and easily targeted). Those bees flew off the following morning (having overnighted in safe enclosures), seemingly much better.

              So, all this to say, recovery time varies widely, depending on the individual bee and its overall health beforehand, as well as the amounts of whatever substance (or cocktail of substances) to which it's been exposed.

              I do think that sugar-water at such times is a good way to boost their energy quickly, while also (I hope) helping bees to rid themselves of whatever it is they have in their systems. You certainly gave your bee a better chance at continuing a happy bee life 💛🐝✨

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  57. I found a bumblebee on the ground in the parking garage where I park yesterday evening. It was alive and seemed to be breathing heavily. There didn't appear to be anything physically wrong with it. It could crawl slowly and when I flipped it over, it righted itself by kicking and moving its wings. I didn't have anything with me except honey, so I put a couple of drops in front of it and it started sucking up the honey. When I arrived at work this morning, it was a couple of feet from where it had been the day before, but still doing the same thing. I gave it more honey and it started eating it. I'm at work now and I left it in the parking garage. I just read that honey wasn't the best thing to give it, but I didn't know at the time. Does it possibly have mites in its airway? Is there anything else I can do for it?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kathy

    1. Finding your bee in a similar spot to where it was last night isn't surprising, but it is a sign that it needs an energy boost of some kind, and if honey isn't doing the trick, sunlight and added warmth might.

      Have you tried putting it in the sun? Do you have bee flowers near where you work, where you might place it? It sounds as though it's acting like a cold bee (although they can be suffering from other things and also act similarly).

      If you use a leaf or piece of paper or something similar, you might then transport it to nearby flowers in the sunlight (even with your weather already warm, full sunlight may well help revive it). Ideally nearby flowers where you see other bumble bees foraging.

      If it has tattered wing edges, that can be a sign of age too. As far as mites in airways, it's impossible to diagnose, but "breathing heavily" is typically something they do as they warm up, so it's not a concerning sign in and of itself. I hope your bee perks up!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks, Elise. The bee was shaded in the parking garage, but it's been 100+ degrees here this week. If it's still there this evening, I'll move it to an area with sunlight. I'm hoping it'll be recovered and gone when I come back.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kathy

        1. Yes, I did look up your weather before I wrote, and saw that it should really be warm enough, even in the shade, for any bee to get going again. If it's an old bee nearing the end of its life, that might explain the behavior. Also, to be honest, bees are exposed to such a range of stressors in human environments these days, that I think more and more struggle. If honey and warmth don't revive your bee, but it looks "young" (with untattered wing edges), then there's something else amiss. They do suffer from a range of internal parasites that may cause premature death, and the number of chemicals in their environments isn't helping them at all either (at their best, these chemicals simply cause chronic low-level issues that shorten bee lives).

          I do hope your bee was able to get going when you look later, but if not, I'd try moving it, as a parking garage is no place for a bee! I just attended a lovely seminar on bee cognition yesterday, and studies suggest bees do feel emotions, including positive and negative outlooks. Sunlight and flowers should at least "raise a bee's spirits" a bit, which may also aid in its recovery, if it is suffering from something sufficiently non-acute. It's good of you to notice your bee and try to help it out!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. For anyone following this thread:

            I checked on the bumblebee when I left work and it was gone! It had tracked a thin trail of honey on the concrete and then the trail disappeared. I'm hoping that means that it received energy from the honey, warmed up during the day, and was able to fly away. Thanks so much for your support and advise, Elise!

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Kathy

  58. The last 2 days I've "rescued " 7 bumblebees off my drive and patio that aren't moving much or flying , but my question is this...well 3 actually

    Why are some stuck to the floor as if some sticky liquid has leaked?

    Why do they have very small wings, much smaller than I'd expect?

    And one had yellow spots or clumps in the yellow stripe across its back. Is this something to be concerned about ?

    All have white bottoms and are plump little bees 🐝

    Thank you 😊

    Deborah (bee)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Deborah Iddon

    1. Hmm, this does seem strange. Especially given your weather, which looks comfortably warm at the moment.

      What time of day are you finding the bees? If it's late afternoon, I'd be particularly concerned (I'll go into that in more detail below).

      For the yellow spots or clumps... could those be pollen? I'm kind of guessing you've already ruled that out, but I really can't think what else it might be.

      Sticking to the floor is something I've not seen either. I suppose they might have regurgitated their collected nectar? Though that's not behavior I'd expect, nor something I've seen in struggling bees, who usually are in need of extra food, and would not be giving any up like that. The only other thing I can think of is bee blood, which has a transparent/pale/yellow look to it.

      Smaller wings may be slightly easier to explain, especially if it stands out to you, and you're accustomed to seeing these bumble bees with normal-sized wings. It's likely a sign of not having had enough food in their larval form. Which is probably a sign of a dearth of floral resources at the time they were raised.

      I don't wish to raise the specter of pesticides when other causes may explain what you're seeing, but I will suggest it as another possibility here. I used to live in rural Oregon, and all our wild bees were so healthy and happy there. After wildfire, I relocated to an urban area in California (to be with family), and I'm seeing many more problems in this area, somewhat similar to what you're seeing. There were a few days the other week where it felt as though dead and dying bees were raining down from the sky (I found sixteen in an hour I believe). All were acting as though they were cold (barely moving, tilting to one side, not trying to fly), and yet it was warm out. Most died within minutes, but a few weren't as badly affected, and for those I administered plentiful sugar-water and kept them overnight, since they clearly weren't going anywhere under their own power. In the warm sunlight of the following mornings, these bees all departed, seemingly alright, but to me the signs point to acute pesticide poisoning (some simply weren't as exposed as others, and perhaps I managed to flush their little systems, I don't know).

      I mention this since finding large numbers of bees acting like this (as though they're "cold", even in the late afternoon on a warm day), is likely a sign they've been exposed to something acutely toxic. Another aspect of the "bee kill" I witnessed was that many of the bees were smaller adults than usual, which speaks also to malnutrition. Smaller, undernourished bees will be less able to deal with other stressors, sadly.

      I wish I had more positive answers for you! I do hope you find fewer of them in the coming days. I'm still finding the odd bee acting as I described on sunny and warm late afternoons, but thankfully they're not everywhere I look anymore. Other than encouraging neighbors not to use chemicals that might harm bees, it's hard to know how to help prevent this.

      Again, I'm not able to say with any certainty why you're finding bees struggling as you are, but I'd suspect something along these lines may be at least part of the answer. Though I do wish that weren't the case!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you elise

        Yes its certainly warmer here than it has been.

        I've not seen any for a day or 2 so I'm hoping that's a positive

        I'll let you know how it goes

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Deborah

  59. I found a bumble bee wandering around a large dirt patch in my yard, I tried shooing him, but he wouldn't fly away, so I offered my hand. (I'm seeding the dirt, and it needed watered, and I know bees shouldn't get wet.) He (she?) crawled right up and I brought him to my flower pots, and he went at every flower in there. He still won't fly, though. Offered a little sugar water, which he drank off my arm, and he still won't fly. It is warm today, already 90F, so I moved the plant pot to the shady bit of my yard in case he was too warm. Wings look ok, but for one itty bitty spot at the edge. He's not shiny, nor can I see any bugs. He's a little longer than the pad of my thumb.

    And he's still not flying off. Every time he tries, he just crash lands on the ground.

    I've left a small dish of fresh water (only 1mm or so deep) and dropped a little more sugar water on the flowers. He's been here more than an hour now, and I'm worried about him. He's a docile, friendly little thing.

    Any advice? If he doesn't fly away? Have I just acquired a new "pet" ?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Becca

    1. That's surprising if your bee continues not to fly off, on such a warm day. I'm trying to recall the temperature, but it's definitely above 100°F that bees may have trouble (105-110 perhaps, if I recall)? Since they're cold-blooded, they respond well to heat generally.

      Crashing when attempting to fly can happen when they're cold, but it shouldn't happen if they're well fed and warm. I wonder if there's some kind of wing damage that is hard to see? Feel free to reply to this email with photos or video. That's good you've provided sources of energy and a very shallow dish of water too.

      I've been meaning to write up what to do if one ends up with a bee that can't fly, as they seem to respond positively to being given a safe place with food in which to live out their days. That is what I'd suggest, if you're up for it: some kind of enclosure for some or all of the time, along with access to flowers that such bees show an interest in, and also supplementing with sugar water to ensure they're getting sufficient energy. Ideally keep them somewhere cool and dark at night, basically mimicking indoor/outdoor rhythms of light and warmth.

      I hope your bee does regain their ability to fly though! That's one thing that I wish we could help them with. There are interventions for monarch butterflies to allow flight after they've lost it, but bee wings differ between bee species considerably. They're also quite complex: all bees have two pairs of wings, and the wings on each side hinge together with little hooks that catch as they extend their wings to fly.

      Reply

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  60. My daughter found a bee (we think bumble) today, we initially thought it might be dead as it was moving so little but I noticed a small amount of movement in the legs so we gave it some sugar water on a leaf. It was doing so poorly it didn’t manage to do more than fall into it with its tongue out so I rolled the water and bed into a position that it wasn’t sitting in a pool. We’ve since moved the bee to a large net enclosure with flowers and sugar water on a butterfly feeder. The bee seemed to have perked up a little but then stopped moving entirely. I assumed it was asleep so gave it time but after around an hour there was still no movement. I moved her gently on a leaf and still nothing. We thought she had died but in a last attempt I tried breathing on her and after a few attempts her legs began to twitch. Do you know what could be wrong with her and what we can do to help her?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emma

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your bee, I don't think it's too promising from what you've said. If she has tattered wing edges, she might be an old bee. She may also be suffering from any number of other ills that may have shortened her life (internal parasites are surprisingly common in bumble bees).

      Have you tried putting her in direct sunlight to warm her up? If her tongue continues to be out, with only occasional leg twitches, it typically means she's at the end of her life, and all you can do for her is to make her comfortable (and keep her safe from ants, which would pull her apart while she's still clinging to life). Did you see her drink any sugar water? I would try sunlight and extra warmth if you haven't already, to see if she improves at all.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks for your reply. Her tongue has been continuously out but her wings look in good condition - but they’re up and haven’t moved?

        The sun is setting here now so I can’t put her in sunlight, she responds if I breathe onto her to warm her though so don’t know if I should try to out her to a source of heat? (It is fairly warm weather though).

        If it’s parasite should I be concerned about them spreading in anyway - we are using a butterfly net that we may one day use again for caterpillars.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emma

        1. Oh, I should have known by your locale that there's no sunlight to be had right now! I'm concerned about her tongue remaining out, that's not generally a good sign. I would still keep her overnight, somewhere a little cooler but safe from ants and such. Then, if she's still with you come morning, I would put her out in direct sunlight and offer more sugar-water then too.

          I'm honestly not hopeful that she'll make it through the night, but I am curious if you've tried putting a very small drop of sugar-water right at the tip of her extended tongue? As to any internal parasites she may have (which is just a guess, knowing it's common for them), they'd be bumble-specific, and they'd be confined to her gut, so there's no danger of contaminating your butterfly net. I wish I had a more positive prognosis for you, but her signs are not so good 😢

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Thanks again for your reply. I do think she has drank a bit of the sugar water. I have put some daisies in with her too and at one stage she moved slightly from the daisy back to the sugar water (less than a 1cm distance) but since then she’s been laid on her side. She doesn’t look good at all 😞

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Emma

            1. Quick update: since last night she hasn’t moved at all and appears to be dead in every way, but when go to check we get a little bottom wiggle in response to warm breath. It seems really bizarre as in every other way the bee appears to be gone. It’s as if the bee is in a deep sleep/coma. Is there an explanation for this? Is there any way she could recover or is it kinder to stop trying to prolong the process at this stage?

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Emma

              1. Sorry for the late reply, I'm on a different time zone (plus we keep odd hours). I'm sorry to hear about your bee too, she does sound on the edge of leaving this world. I think other than making her comfortable, there's nothing to be done. It is at least better for her to pass away somewhere free from ants (who would certainly try to carve her up and take off the pieces in her current state). I had really hoped that today in the warm sunlight, she might recover (I have seen that before), but it sounds like whatever she's suffering from is terminal 😢

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                Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  61. There is a swarm of bees on a grass verge, who do I contact to relocate them somewhere safer?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kat

    1. I'm sorry that I only just saw this! I'm also not quite sure about your location (I did see you put in what may be a town name, but I didn't even know the country for sure). So what I'd do is a web search for your area along with the words "beekeeping association". You may find one immediately in your area, or you may find a website that links to various associations in a larger surrounding area. Beekeeping associations typically post phone numbers and email addresses for people who are involved in running their associations, and I'd call one of these folks, as they'll be able to figure how to get one of their members out to relocate the honey bee swarm.

      The honey bees will be trying to work out where to go too! They may well find their own spot that's a safe place to start a new hive. They'll have sent scouts out of their own looking for a suitable new home, and so they may be able to take care of themselves in this way, even if they chose to stop somewhere precarious briefly. Though it's a bit early in the year for a swarm.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  62. Hi Elise. Firstly thank you for all the information and time you give to us to help bees. I found a grounded bumble bee last night and it had a small white patch on the top of its left wing which I assumed was ant powder or some kind of poison as it had a tremor in its paws like it was tapping its feet so I assumed toxins were taking affect so I followed your guidance and popped a droplet of water on the area and the bee washed it off. However, when the bee tries to fly the white stuff appears to be coming from the top of the left wing where it attaches to the bees body. I took the bee in over night and followed your guidance (sugar water/flowers) and it’s feeding/drinking fine and wants to fly but can’t fly as the little wing on its left doesn’t move at all and white stuff keeps appearing. I can forward photos and video if I may have your email address. Any advice is much appreciated! H x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to H

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your bee. Without seeing the photos yet, I'm still going to guess that it's losing "blood", which in an insect's case is "hemolymph". It is not red like ours, but usually a transparent or pale yellowish color. Their circulatory systems are much different than ours, and their "heart" is a long thin organ stretching lengthwise from their head to abdomen. Their hemolymph bathes all their organs freely inside their bodies (rather than being contained in veins), and it is moved around when they move or fly, when certain special muscles contract, and also when this long heart of theirs acts as a pump.

      Bees don't go through any further metamorphosis once they're adults, so their exoskeleton stays the same, rather than being able to molt like a spider and slowly regrow a leg or heal damage. I read once somewhere that there may be some very limited capacity in exoskeletons to seal an open wound (I think I read about it in crickets or grasshoppers).

      You'll get an email from my website to which you may reply with photos and video if you wish! As to where to go from here, it sounds as though your bee is destined to be a flightless bee now. I will say that the urge to live is so very strong, and your bumble bee will continue to try to live so long as you're taking care of it. It's probably a matter of keeping it comfortable right now, and safe from attack by ants (who'll tear pieces off a live bee up to carry bits away, not exactly a comfortable way to leave this world).

      I don't know if you feel yourself in a position to offer this bee a home for the rest of its natural life, but that is probably the best case in your bee's situation. I've been planning to write up more details of doing so, as I've had a number of folks contact me lately, who are caring for bees with wing damage. Perhaps that's a judgment call that depends on the bee too, as I wouldn't like to see one suffer, but bumble bees are adaptable creatures with good learning capabilities, and some seem to transition positively to a flightless life with a human caretaker.

      I wish we could repair their wings! In the case of monarch butterflies it's been done, but bees wings are quite complex, they have four, two on each side, which hinge together with little hooks when they go to fly.

      In terms of long-term care, it's seemed that a mix of freshly cut bee flowers supplemented with sugar water works, and keeping the bee cooler at night, with an interesting habitat in which to become accustomed to its new, more handicapped, lifestyle. Some folks take their bees out in a supervised fashion during the day to walk over and drink from flowers outdoors, before bringing them in safely for the night. I do wish we could do something to restore their flight though!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you so much Elise. I will email you the photos/video and keep the wee one safe and fed. X

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to H

  63. Hi, thanks for what you do 🙂.

    I found a Tree bee on the carpet at work 3 days ago, she seemed to be struggling with movement and there was also some kind of sticky goop on the stinger, she kept trying to remove to no avail, so I assisted with a piece of paper.

    I gave her some 50/50 suger water, but didn't want to place her outside while I was working, so I put her in a tub with tissue and suger water, then turned that rooms radiator on and continued my work, checking up on her from time to time. Hours later, she was still struggling and wouldn't fly, so I brought her home in a container with some cut flowers and suger water inside.

    3 days later, she's more mobile, but not even trying to fly. Any advice to help her is greatly appreciated 🙂.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sol

    1. I wonder what was stuck to her, and if whatever she got into is still having an effect on her? Do you happen to know if she's a worker tree bumble bee (smaller, around 11mm) or a queen (larger, around 15mm)? I don't think she'd be a male, as those are usually around later in summer. I'm guessing she's a worker based on the time of year, but it'd be good to know for sure. As a worker bumble bee, she'd be best released near where you found her, so that she can return to her colony when she's feeling better. Although I realize she's not in any state to return yet, if she's not even trying to fly.

      Warmth and sugar-water should have revived her, and she should at least be trying to buzz her wings, even if she's not getting liftoff. If she's not responding to these, then there's something else amiss. Since she's still with you 3 days later, it would seem that overall she may be in good health, but perhaps there's some damage that isn't obvious that is preventing her from recovering fully and flying off?

      If you could try taking some close-up photos of her (perhaps some video too), it might help me with diagnosis. Feel free to reply to my email with photos/video, so that I can take a closer look at her. In the meantime, I'd continue to keep her safe while she's not as mobile as she should be, and continue offering cut flowers and sugar-water. I think it depends on the flower how long a cut one will retain nectar, so I'd keep adding those regularly for her, so that she has some real nectar as well as sugar-water (the latter is great for emergencies, but there's no doubt that nectar—with its additional trace elements—is healthier in the long run).

      Bumble bees can also suffer from various ailments, including internal pathogens and parasites, but those shouldn't really affect her flight as far as I know. The fact that she had some kind of sticky goop on her when you found her suggests some kind of physical damage... even a little bit on her wings could cause her problems, though I think you'd have noticed if she had any elsewhere on her body. My only other thought is that perhaps she simply needs to be a bit warmer... have you tried her in direct sunlight to see how she responds? I'd try that at work, so that if she is able to fly off, she'll know where she is, so she can find her way back to her colony.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  64. Hello! I have recently come across an injured carpenter bee. He is male, and almost one of his entire wings looks like it’s been ripped off, it’s still attached but most of the wing is missing. We have had several bad rainstorms and so we took him in and put him in a bug habitat with a couple live flowers and sticks, as well as some dirt, honey water, and water. I’ve been misting the flowers in the morning to give him some few for when he crawls around but I’ve noticed he’s been losing his balance a lot and falling into the shallow caps I filled with water and the honey water mixture. If I have live flowers in there and am picking flowers daily for him, do I need the honey water dish and the water dish, or could I just keep the water dish and give him some more walking space so he hopefully doesn’t fall in? Any help would be greatly appreciated! He’s already perked up a lot and “flies” around in my hand and up my arm, and by fly I mean more like propels himself forward because he still can’t fly off ground!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kale

    1. There was someone else here who took care of her male carpenter bee (who had wing damage) for a month. I wish I’d heard back as to whether the feedings she mentioned were only flowers, or whether she also supplemented with sugar water, as I was curious about this too. My inclination would be to supplement with sugar water to be on the safe side, since it’s hard for us to tell how plentiful nectar is on a given flower. Also, once picked, I’m not sure how long their nectar lasts… it likely depends on the flower variety.

      I do think it’s a good idea to be offering flowers, you may simply need to offer a large number, and be sure that they’re ones you’ve seen other carpenter bees on too ideally. You can also add a drop of sugar water to the center of some cut flowers at times in the day. I did hear from the other person that her bee had many feedings daily, though I never did find out the frequency. I believe he’ll get enough water from the mixture, without needing water separately.

      I’d be really interested to hear how it goes for you, and see some photos/videos too (feel free to send them in reply to my email). It certainly appeared in the other person’s case that they both settled into a happy routine together, and she took him out for supervised visits on the flowers outdoors too. Had her neighbor not maliciously put pesticide there one day, I think the bee would still be with her, as these have relatively long lives (around a year), although your bee will have already overwintered as an adult, so his natural lifespan probably ends sometime around the end of summer there.

      Not having a working wing is sure to make him clumsy for awhile. I wonder if he’ll learn to adjust a bit, and be less clumsy? In the meantime, I’d definitely keep shallow caps/dishes away, and go with adding single drops of mixture to cut flowers to ensure he’s getting what he needs. The more you can provide live flowers though, the better, since there are trace elements in different nectars from which he’ll benefit. I’m not sure how one might design an enclosure for him to walk across his favorite seasonal flowers, but it’d be cool if it were possible to come up with a “bee run” outdoors! Though he’s certainly safer with you, indoors in a cool room at night 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  65. I have a conservatory with flowering plants in. The door is open all day and I don’t use pesticides!

    I find all types of dead bees every day. It is so upsetting. If still alive I try to resuscitate with a drop of organic honey but it is often too late.

    Any advice?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lisa

    1. It is certainly concerning, and shouldn’t be the case. I take it that this is unusual compared with previous years? Are they honey bees, bumble bees, or other bees (many types of bees are quite tiny)?

      I saw something similar here one day last week (since our wildfire, I’m temporarily living in an urban area). Although it was only for one day, it felt as though bees were dropping dead from the sky, it was dreadful (I ended up finding 15 in under an hour). Mostly honey bees, but there appeared to be some tiny (1cm or so) solitary bees dead and struggling too. Some bees were in better shape than others (a single honey bee seemed less badly off than the others, though it still needed an overnight stay; I was surprised that it seemed better in the morning and flew off, but I certainly did my best to flush its system with sugar water, and it drank a large amount too).

      I’m guessing that in instances like these, it’s likely acute pesticide poisoning. Somewhere nearby the bees are getting into something dangerous. There are plenty of dangerous pesticides still on markets, and homeowners particularly tend to overuse them when they use them (thinking that more will work better). That’s really the only explanation I have for seeing dead bees in any number, as documented “bee kills” have always been traced back to pesticides.

      By the way, it’s better to use sugar water than (even organic) honey, as honey from one hive may introduce problems to another (in the case of honey bees), and some illnesses that bees have also spread between types of bee if they share the same food. Though flowers are sadly another vector, so we need more healthy bees!

      Other than trying to raise awareness in your area, I’m not sure what can be done. Lab analysis would reveal the source, but it would be involved to test for the many different substances. If they’re honey bees, you might inform your local beekeeping association. If they’re bumble bees, I’d mention it to someone at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust ( https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/contact-details/ ) to see if they might know whom to put pressure on (if it’s pesticide usage overseen by a part of government). The problem is that it could be from any number of sources when you’re in an urban environment.

      I wish I had a better answer! Education and awareness in the end, we simply need to keep promoting it, as a livable world depends on us.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  66. I found humble bee with baby on it's back crawling ... What should I do ? 🤔😭

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gille

    1. Sounds like they’re mating! Male bumble bees are quite a bit smaller than females, and pairs often crawl about while coupled 🐝💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  67. I saved a bee out of my pool at around 5pm last night. I immediately put him in the sun to dry off. I noticed the little guy was not flying away when the sun started to set. I put him in a ventilated shoe box over night in my house. I went to release him this morning at 10, and he won’t fly away. He is also not drinking any sugar water. He just walked to and sat in the middle of the flower I put next to him. He is still there. Is he ok? What is wrong and why won’t he fly away? The temp is hot out so I did put shade over him. It’s suppose to be 90 degrees today.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kels

    1. It may well take your bee a little time to get going! Being cold-blooded, they take longer to warm up in the morning. I would actually remove the shade and let your bee "soak" in sunlight, as it'll help your bee get moving faster. They're not like us in terms of needing shade, unless it gets super-hot (90 is fine for them). So long as it's a bee-friendly flower (one that you see other, ideally similar, bees feeding from), your bee should be able to have breakfast too, which will help it get moving again!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you ! I actually did not know that shade would be bad for them. I was sitting in the sun with the bee to ensure no lizards would get him since I have a bunch in my backyard and I was burning up lol i thought he would be too. I actually just went out to remove the shade and the little dude was gone :) he flew away !

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kels

  68. We rescued a bee from our pond- we took her in to warm her up, despite her becoming more lively her tongue was still sticking out.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Salena

    1. I take it that she did not try drinking sugar-water, or if she did, that her tongue was still extended after? It's possible she simply spent too much time in your pond... bees breathe along the sides of their bodies, and she may simply have had too little air for too long.

      Unfortunately I don’t think there’s much one can do in such cases, other than helping your bee to be comfortable in her last moments. According to a research paper I read recently, tongue extension that persists into death can be associated with a number of causes: starvation, suffocation, insecticide poisoning, and food contamination.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  69. Hello, so this morning saw a bug bumble bee in our garage on the floor it wasn’t moving and I though it was dead but when we came home hours later it had moved a foot or two . We’ve gone through a drastic weather change here. It’s been in the 70s and 80s and now we have a freak snow storm so I think the cold and wet got to this bee. I made a shoe box and a little sugar water and was able to get the bee to crawl onto a paper towel and into the shoe box. It’s supposed to snow and be cold the next couple days . It already started moving more and warming up I think in the house . So not sure how long to keep it for Or if they can be released in the snowy weather . Thanks!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ashley

    1. It'll help to provide a safe haven for your bumble bee overnight (for likely a couple of nights). I wouldn't release your bee in snowy weather, as she'll be too cold to fly (and nectar will be harder for her to find). Such unpredictable weather isn't good for bumble bees!

      Keep your bee's ventilated shoebox in a cool room (or even in the garage, so long as it'll remain undisturbed by things like ants or mice). That way she won't get confused by warm temperatures in your house, and think it's time to go, when it's still snowy outdoors.

      So long as your bee is kept somewhere cool, she also won't need much sugar water, but still offer some from time to time (carefully, since cold bees are clumsy, and falling into sugary water is no good)!

      I'd keep an eye on your bee at first (and from time to time), just to make sure she's settling in and calm. It's helpful to give bees a safe place to shelter until warmer weather returns. I'd move her enclosure into an area with natural light during the day, but still keep the temperatures cool to discourage her wishing to fly off.

      Any day in the 60s (even low 60s) would work for releasing your bee. Hopefully your weather warms up again soon! Feel free to reply with any questions, and enjoy your temporary house guest 🐝💛🏠

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  70. I had a bee fly in my house two days ago but when I opened the door to let him out, he disappeared. Fast forward to today, I found him belly up on my kitchen floor and brought him outside immediately with sugar water. He started drinking it and after 10 mins I figured he’d be ok so I went in the house. I noticed it started raining heavily so I went to make sure he was gone but nope. He was still there, alive but weak. I brought him in to dry and it’s been 3 hours now. He’s still having trouble moving around and is now refusing sugar water. I made him a little set up for over night but will he make it?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Toricarole

    1. I hope your bee will make it! There are other things that might be happening, but optimistically, your bee has simply had enough sugar water, and is simply cold (or still a bit wet) and moving around slowly as a result.

      There are a couple of hints to determining if you have an old bee: tattered wing edges, and a less fluffy appearance compared to a bee of that kind normally (I'm not sure if you have a bumble bee or a honey bee—or another kind of bee—so fluffiness is kind of relative).

      They also suffer from other things including internal parasites, viruses, and pesticide exposure. It's not possible to diagnose those in a live bee, but you're giving your bee the best chance for survival, for sure! It's promising that your bee drank up the sugar water earlier, and is now (I assume) standing on its legs properly, even though moving slowly.

      I would check on your bee from time to time, to ensure your bee is in no obvious distress, and then leave the enclosure somewhere cool but safe tonight (access to sugar water is fine, so long as there's no way to fall in clumsily).

      I hope your bee feels better in the morning! Hopefully your weather will improve, and there'll be some sunlight for your bee to bask in, come morning.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  71. After we had a bout of bad weather i keep getting bees in my bathroom about four and couple in the kitchen i have been feeding them but why do they look like they are dying i cant understand where they are coming from i found one in my washing basket too..

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ruthie

    1. Hmm, there must be some small outdoor entrance into your bathroom (near a window, possibly)? I'm guessing they're just seeking shelter from the bad weather? Do you know if they're honey bees, bumble bees, or some other kind of bee? If you reply with photos to the email you receive from me, I might be able to say a little more, but right now I'm a bit puzzled too!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  72. It’s 50 degrees F. here, pouring with rain. I rescued a small black and white bee from the ant moat of a hummingbird feeder. I’ve put in in a box covered in plastic with holes punched in the top. I put some dry flowers in and a little dish of sugar water. It is hiding under the foliage but has been moving around. I don’t think it’s flying yet. Is it OK to release it when it stops raining?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Penny

    1. Yes, I'd try releasing your bee when it stops raining, even though 50°F is a bit cold. I'm guessing your bee was wet from being in the ant moat (and rain)? Ideally put the bee box somewhere indoors where it'll be able to dry and warm up a bit. Hopefully the sun will come out after your rain stops, and then you can put your bee (either in its box, or placed on a bee-friendly flower) somewhere in the sunlight to finish drying and warming up. It might take a little time to get going, but so long as your bee is warmed up (with a bit of sugar-water as a boost if it wishes), it should be able to fly off and continue on its day!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. It’s stopped raining finally. The bee had some sugar water - quite a lot actually - then started buzzing and flying around the box so I took off the cover and he’s flown away! Success! Hope he makes it back to his hive safely - still 50 degrees.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Penny

  73. I rescued a cold wet bee in the rain in Vancouver. I brought it into my kitchen in salad greens container that I poked some holes in. It perked right up with some indoor warmth and a little sugar water. However it is only been 10 minutes and now I have it in a container in my kitchen and it is buzzing around. I think it would like to leave. What do I do now? Keep it for the night or release it into the cold rainy night? It’s not raining that hard…

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to El

    1. It's sort of up to you... your bee is already better off, and having been "charged up" with warmth and sugar-water, it might well make it back to wherever it was going. They can fly in light rain, it's just harder for them.

      If it's a honey bee (there are photos above on this page) then I'd let it go back to its hive tonight. If it's a bumble bee, consider keeping it overnight (putting it in a cool room should stop it buzzing around inside its container). Though as I said, it's already better off, so if it looks like it really wants to go, consider letting it out (so long as it's not heavy rain nor below 52°F). It'll head to shelter if you let it go tonight, and it'll keep its warmth just by flying for some amount of time (using their flight muscles does warm bumble bees up too).

      If you do decide to keep your bee overnight, keep an eye on your bee at first to make sure it slows down (so it's not still trying to get out). Cold always slows them down. In the morning warm your bee up in a warmer room and offer more sugar-water before releasing it.

      Bees do have to shelter in odd places sometimes (waiting out cold and rainy weather), so it's nice to give them a safe overnight spot if they seem to need it 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I should’ve mentioned it is 6°C here which is 42.8°F. I don’t really have a cold room in my house although I could open the window and shut the bathroom door with the container in there I suppose. I had put her back outside sheltered from the rain but it sounds like it is too cold so maybe I will bring her back in and try to keep her cool in the bathroom if you think that is a better idea.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to El

        1. That's cold for a bee! She may be fine overnight outdoors, if she's sheltered where you put her. She'll be pretty much immobilized by cold if she doesn't fly off, so ideally she'll be in a spot where she can't easily be seen as potential prey by a bird, for instance (birds, being warm-blooded, will be up and flying tomorrow morning sooner than her).

          If she's still out just where you put her, you might consider giving her a home for the night, though it means moving her again, which she might not be so keen on (and it's good not to stress her).

          If you do bring her in, I think leaving your bathroom cold with an open window would work well. If there's some outdoor safe area to put a bee container overnight that's another option, but you'd probably have mentioned if there was.

          All this to say, try to "listen" to your bee, but I don't think she'll be going anywhere in 43 degree weather (certainly not far, even warmed up beforehand). She'd likely be safer with you overnight, I'd think!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  74. Yesterday, we noticed a honey bee swarm on our property. About half of them were in a cluster in a pine tree; about half were spread in a flat pile on the lawn beneath the tree cluster. As the day got warmer, more moved into the tree cluster. Today, as the day wore on, the tree cluster disappeared and only the oval (about foot in diameter) on the lawn remained, and with a cool night coming they are very quiet. Tonight's low is forecasted to be 38 degrees Fahrenheit. TWO QUESTIONS:

    (1) Is the colony on the lawn in danger of night critters (deer, skunk, groundhog, ???)? If so, we could try to wrap wire fencing in a large circle around their oval.

    (2) Is the forecasted low of 38 degrees likely to harm them?? If so, is there anything that can be done to promote their survival??

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gerry

    1. I'm more familiar with wild bees than honey bees honestly, though I do have some knowledge of honey bees from both extensive reading and also from beekeeper friends.

      What I can say right off the bat is that something seems wrong here, as honey bee swarms should all be clustered together, and I'm not sure why a large number of them ended up on the ground. Also 38 degrees is too cold for them, I think it will harm them. Critters might harm them too, but I think the cold is their most immediate danger. Also, if this was part of the swarm on the tree, and all the main bees in the tree have already left, then their queen likely went with the main swarm, and so any remaining bees are ill-fated in any case.

      I would suggest verifying this with local beekeepers, and I have a link for you with contact information for some folks that should be able to help further with suggestions, even at this time of day I hope:

      https://www.mdbeekeepers.org/swarm-retrieval-list/?sort=wp_s2member_custom_fields-swarm_counties&dir=SORT_ASC

      The results at the top of this page show people you might try calling right away, to find out if there's more to be done for the remaining bees. Perhaps they could be picked up by a local beekeeper and added to an existing hive safely, before it's too late for them.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  75. Hello Elise! I found a carpenter bee on my porch tucked between the screen and railing like it was seeking shelter. It’s 52 degrees and rainy here. I read your post on helping bees warm up and making an “air-bee-n-bee” inside but she’s not perking up. I offered sugar water and she didn’t seem to drink so we put her in a box but I’m worried she’s stressed and it’s making it worse. I want to keep offering sugar water even with her inside the box but wondering if leaving her be to warm up would be best? How long should I wait between checking in so I’m not causing undo stress? We love our carpenter bees and even made them a home to use if they wish (though the usually prefer the porch wood haha) but really hoping this one pulls through. Any pointers or even things specific to this bee type to help improve her odds? Much appreciated by myself and my guest.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lauren

    1. It's definitely good to "listen" to your bee (each one is different in their own ways, individually as well as between species). This one sounds as though she was likely looking for a place to shelter until the weather improves. Usually carpenter bees shelter inside their nesting tunnels, but as I mentioned, they don't all do the same things, and perhaps this one was caught out in the rainy weather unexpectedly, thinking she had time to make it somewhere else.

      If your bee looks as though she wishes to get away, you could try warming her up inside her enclosure in a warm indoor room, keeping a close eye on her as she warms up. As soon as your bee looks very active, try putting the box open out on the porch. Your bee will probably be surprised by the change in temperature (and the rain!) if you do this, but she might well be warm enough to get back to wherever she'd planned to be heading (especially since that may well simply be a small excavated hole in your porch)! Although I know it's getting later where you are, so I'm a little tentative about recommending this for sure, but it does depend on her too, and her desire to be on her way again, even if it's late in the day and cold out.

      If your bee has no interest in the sugar water, that's fine, she may not be particularly hungry. If you have better weather in a day or so, you could also keep her in an enclosure indoors, but only if she seems relatively content (and in a cooler room, where she doesn't waste energy trying to get out). I realize that's a bit of a judgment call! Bees often have to wait out spells of less-than-ideal weather, and the colder they are, the less able they are to move (which leaves them fairly defenseless if they happen to choose a poor spot to wait). It's for these reasons that I often encourage folks to keep their bee overnight—plus it's also a way to bring people and bees together, which tends to bee beneficial overall!

      Since there's no way to explain to a bee that we have their best interests in mind, they may feel some stress. I think the stress can be reduced by placing things in their enclosure enabling them to hide if they wish (some fallen leaves, for example). Keeping her cool (matching outdoor temperatures while keeping her out of the rain and away from predators) also helps, since bees naturally slow down when they're cold. I'd probably check in on her at least every half hour or so to begin with, and if she's hardly moving, check less often. At night, so long as she's in a cool location, she should be fine unwatched. You might also try dropping a bit of sugar water in the center of some cut bee flowers (ideally ones you've seen other carpenter bees on during the day) and putting those inside her enclosure, to give her the option of lapping up some energy without the stress of a human watching overhead!

      I've been meaning to write more about carpenter bees, as they're much maligned pollinators. It's interesting that they can be semi-social bees: in environments with more nesting resources, each female tends to be solitary, but in environments with fewer nesting resources, females tend to pool their resources by living together. They reuse nesting cavities too, which end up being multi-year projects. There's some interesting information about their lifestyles here (albeit with mention of deterring them too): https://extension.psu.edu/the-eastern-carpenter-bee-beneficial-pollinator-or-unwelcome-houseguest

      I'm so happy to hear that you consider your carpenter bees to be welcome guests! Feel free to let me know if anything changes with your bee, and I'll try to respond quickly with thoughts.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  76. Thank you for your help Elise, I had a honey bee on my screen barely moving today. I brought it in and gave it the sugar water you suggested through an eye dropper and with in 15 minutes it came back to life and started buzzing. I placed it on my window seal and it left shortly after that. Thanks again for your help!😄

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Debbie

    1. That's wonderful to hear! It's amazing how quickly bees often recover with a little extra energy boost 🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  77. Found a bumble bee in a container of water. Looked almost dead, very wet. Placed it on a pice of kitchen roll and offered the end of a teaspoon with some sugar water which she eventually drank from. After half an hour her legs which looked all over the place, started to look more normal and she started to dry her body with her legs. Another half hour passed and she started to fluff up and had another drink from the spoon. It's too cold to release her tonight so we've put her under a ventilated see through grape carton with the teaspoon of water with the view to releasing her in the morning. My question is, would it be a good idea to put a few small flower heads in with her overnight? Many thanks Elise

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tone and Treeze

    1. I'm so happy to hear that your bee is feeling more revived, and that she's had some sugar water. I think it'd be a nice idea to put some small flower heads in with her overnight. Even though they lose their nectar fairly fast once cut, I think it still might help "raise a bee's spirits" as it were (the more research that's done, the more it seems as though bees are subject to various states of mind, for instance being delighted at times, and at other times stressed). It strikes me that a happier, more comfortable bee will recover better.

      Make sure to keep her enclosure somewhere relatively cool tonight, so that she doesn't waste any energy attempting to escape, thinking it's warm enough to be out and about. Also make sure there's no way for her to fall into the teaspoon of sugar-water (she likely won't need anything more to drink until morning anyway, so long as she's somewhere cool and not expending energy).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  78. Thank you for your website. I appreciate what you’re doing. Yesterday I found a bumble bee outside which seemed to be struggling. It was on a road and seemed unwilling to fly but can walk. I brought it home and tried to feed sugar water but it was refused despite being easy to access. All it seemed to want was my warm skin and my black jumper or socks to crawl into. So I brought it in yesterday evening in a box as you suggest. You said about light so we moved it to a box with light but it just kept trying to get out. We then tried it outside but it didn’t seem to like any flowers we tried it on and only wanted black fabric and skin to walk on. We aren’t sure if it’s been feeding or not but it’s had access at all times. As it still doesn’t want to fly or be on flowers so we brought it back in again. We have put it back in the original dark box now for a rest in the warm as that seems to be what it wants. But we don’t think it’s prognosis can be good if it won’t fly or be happy on flowers. What do you think we should do? We are happy to do anything to help it.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rowena

    1. That's good that you're "listening" to your bee! Although I could be wrong, it does sound as though you simply have a cold bumble bee there. Is your weather forecast more promising tomorrow? 12°C is cold for a bee, though a well-warmed bumble bee might well still be able to fly at that temperature (so long as it's not raining too).

      Definitely make sure that your bee isn't so warm tonight that she wastes energy trying to escape. Placing the enclosure in a cooler room helps slow them down for the evening, mimicking outdoor temperatures—all without the danger associated with being stuck on a road, or seen by predators while being unable to move.

      In the morning, assuming your weather is more favorable, I'd place her on flowers in direct sunlight and leave her there for awhile... sometimes it takes them several hours to get going again, and so long as she's on bee-friendly flowers, she'll be able to sip nectar while soaking up warmth from the sunlight.

      If it's a cooler day, you might try warming her up well indoors first, before placing her outside on some bee-friendly flowers and keeping an eye on her to see how she behaves. If she's well-warmed up, she should be able to fly.

      Let me know if anything changes, or if you have any further questions. It's kind of you to be offering a helping hand to a bee!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you so much for your help. She’s downstairs now where it’s a bit cooler. Unfortunately it’s due to rain tomorrow as well and we think she may have an inured wing. She moved her wings a little a few times but asymmetrically so we think there is likely a problem beyond being cold now. Hopefully with some good fortune tomorrow she’ll be a bit perkier and the sun will be shining. We will take her out and see if she’s up to it or if not she can stay longer. I really appreciate your advice. Long live all the bees.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Rowena

        1. I wish there were things we could do to help in wing injury cases! I have seen bees hold their wings asymmetrically (when they're cleaning, for instance), but I admit it's a possibly concerning sign. I looked up your weather forecast, and Sunday looks potentially promising? It'd be good to see how she does once she bathes in the sun for awhile.

          All bees have two sets of wings, by the way: a larger and a smaller wing on each side, which they use together as one wing. Before flying, a bee hooks each set of wings together (with a row of tiny hooks on the leading edge of their hindwing, which grab onto a ridge on the rear edge of their forewing).

          If you end up keeping her indoors in her enclosure for most or all of Saturday, simply keep an eye on her from time to time. You might try dropping sugar-water onto the center of cut bee flowers in her enclosure, if you haven't already.

          I hope she perks up with better weather, and that any possible issues with her wings don't prevent her flying!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Thank you for your information about their wings. 🐝 It is very interesting to know that. It was sunny for a bit and so I took her outside but she again didn’t seem to want flowers, and chose my hand again so I brought her back in. Then she stung me when she got stuck in the back of my top but she’s no less welcome. She has a box to live in with nice things in it. She seems very keen on the sock in it. Although we have given her moss and flowers as well. If it’s nicer weather we will try putting her out again or we could just keep her here for the rest of her natural life if she keeps choosing the hand over nature. We will keep giving her the choice to leave if she wants to though.

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Rowena Lawrence-Thorn

            1. It's quite amusing to think of a bee so fond of a sock ☺️ It's also kind of you to offer her a home for as long as she wishes, even after a bit of stinging! I've spoken with a few other folks who've kept injured bees, and it seems as though it can work out quite well for both people and bees, if the bees choose to live with them. It certainly beats trying to survive outdoors without being able to fly, which is a dangerous life for a bee, and inevitably one that will end quickly (either from starvation or predation).

              Like all living creatures, their desire to live is strong even when injured, so having you helping her makes all the difference! It's hard to say how long her natural lifespan might be... it's typically fairly short for bumble bees (one or two months), but without the ongoing wear-and-tear of foraging she may live a little longer than average. If she were a queen, she'd live for about a year (having been born in late summer, hibernated through winter, and in spring founding a colony lasting throughout the ensuing summer; if she were a queen, she would look unusually large though, and she's definitely not a he, as males are only about in late summer).

              Do let me know how it goes, I wish you and your possibly long-term guest all the best! 🐝💛

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    2. Just to add it’s about 18 Celsius in the house and about 12 Celsius or less outside and due to rain this evening.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Rowena

  79. Hi, a bumble bee landed in the doorstep. She didn't move, but rolled onto her back, stretched out her back legs, rubbed her tum with her front legs. It was a showery warm and sunny day. I brought her in after 15 minutes, fed her as you suggested, but she remains with her head pressed into the ground and her back legs rubbing together. She's made no effort to drink. I'm worried she's been poisoned.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lizzy

    1. I apologize for replying so late (I've been dealing with some unusual disruptions in the neighborhood). Your bee's symptoms don't sound good, and I'm sad to say that I don't think there's anything you can do for her. Bees shouldn't ever be rolling onto their backs like that, even if they're exhausted. I wish I could give more advice to help her. There's no way to know for sure if she's been poisoned, but it's certainly a possibility. Even with occasional rain showers, bumble bees are typically able to forage happily enough, and get back to where they wish to be at night, so long as it's still warm and sunny some of the time. If she's still with you come morning, I'd try placing her on some bee-friendly flowers in the sun, but I think that making her comfortable is likely all you'd be able to do for her at this point. It's kind of you to care about her, I wish I could offer happier advice.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi Elise, thanks for getting back to me so quickly! Sadly you were right and the poor soul suffered on for a couple of hours before becoming permanently still.

        I'm going to place her beneath my honeysuckle tomorrow morning. Looking back on it all, she was thin looking and sparse of hair, so maybe she just got old ( I'd like to think that anyway).

        Thanks so much for your good advice, from now on I'll be looking after any struggling bee I find.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elizabeth Lewis

  80. Hi!

    This afternoon I came across a drowning bee in my dog's water bowl. I scooped her out with a leaf and after having read an article on your website I moved her to a flower in the sun. Unfortunately the sun was setting and it was getting colder so I moved her again, to a different flower, so she could catch the last rays. I also gave her some sugar water.

    I left her for a while but when I went back she hadn't moved and was still soaking wet and it was cold outside even for me, so I picked her up again and took her inside where I put her inside a large metal basket-like container with some more sugar water and a few flowers I picked from the garden. Her wings unstuck and she dried perfectly and started walking around. I decided to keep her in the "cage" overnight because I was afraid she would be too weak to fly and she might walk and fall, and because I wanted to put her back near where I found her so she wouldn't get lost. I am however afraid that maybe after she had dried up I should have just let her go? Will she still be okay in the morning? Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Fran

    1. She should be fine come morning! Is she a large, fluffy bee like a bumble bee, or a smaller, less fluffy bee like a honey bee?

      In either case, she probably wouldn't have moved much further had you taken her back out after she dried, since she'd probably be too cold to fly at that point (and yes, they do 'bumble about' and even fall when they get cold, especially if they're too cold to fly, but still trying to walk). So she's safer with you in all likelihood for the night, rather than cold and unable to move (as well as easily spotted as prey on a flower).

      Make sure you keep her enclosure somewhere cool-ish overnight, so she's not expending energy trying to get out, thinking it's warm enough to be flying outdoors. In the morning, put her out near where you found her, in warm sunlight ideally. She should be on her way once she warms up fully!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  81. Hi there, I was on my building's roof today, and saw this big bee (almost a quarter sized) that was barely moving ,and had its abdomen area throbbing. It was trying to fly, but couldn't really do it, and kept using its back legs to clean its abdomen/butt area. I couldn't tell if it was injured so I tried so many things: sugar water (using both a shallow plastic lid and a dropper to put puddles near its face), moved it to a less windy area, and also a sunnier area - I even put it on a slice of pineapple. It really wanted nothing to do with me and kept moving away from me. I think I saw it suck a little juice off of the pineapple slice for a second before it went off of it. Not sure what else I could do? I have pictures of it, but not sure how to post them.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Serra

    1. It sounds like a queen bumble bee who was cold (since they're so large, it takes quite a bit of energy to fly).

      I don't think there's anything else you could have done, and it sounds as though she would have been fine after flying off. Everything you reported was normal, from her abdomen throbbing (a kind of heavier breathing, since they breathe through little apertures along their bodies), to her continued cleaning (they're clean little creatures, and often clean themselves while they're warming up), to her trying and failing for awhile to fly.

      Moving your bee to a less windy and sunnier area is definitely helpful (as is offering sugar-water). They're not typically attracted to fruit, but perhaps she did try a little! Even though they're cold-blooded, bumble bees can also warm themselves up by decoupling their flight muscles from their wings and vibrating them (which makes them appear to "shiver").

      Feel free to reply to my email with photos!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you! She seemed to be gone by today, hopefully she found her way. Glad I did everything I could do to help her, that's good to know for the future. I appreciate your love for the bees, our planet, and sharing your knowledge.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Serra

  82. It's been a bit colder at night here, not normal for this time. And I have been finding "dead" bumble bees in my yard. I don't use pesticides and I have been making a more friendly environment. Why do I keep seeing dead bumble bees all over my yard?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Shannon

    1. What are your temperatures currently? There are a couple explanations that come to mind. The first, more hopeful one, is to wonder if these bumble bees are really dead, or simply cold and unmoving. Being cold-blooded, bees caught out in cold or rainy weather often cling to the undersides of flowers, waiting for however long it takes for warmth and sunlight to return.

      The other thought is that somewhere nearby, perhaps someone is using pesticides? One should never see large numbers of dead bumble bees, that's highly unusual. The only time I've seen large numbers have been after acute pesticide poisonings, and along roadsides at certain times of year. Dead bumble bees could be a result of someone using pesticides nearby, even while your yard is bee-friendly.

      Feel free to reply to this email with photos. Dead bees are distinctive with their legs curled in towards their bodies (often with tongues protruding), whereas cold living bees look normal enough, they're just not moving. I hope you simply have cold bees there!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  83. Thank you so much for your reply yesterday! I have a new dilemma today for the same bee. She is still alive, I've moved her to a cooler location. Today's issue is that our efforts to make sure she has safe access to sugar water have led to some sticky spots in her box, which she got stuck on! Is there a way to "wash" her, to get rid of the excess stickiness?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bianca ("B")

    1. Yes, there is a way to wash her gently, though it's good to be very careful. Keep in mind that bees breathe through tiny holes along the sides of their body. That's not to say they can't get wet (they do get rained on occasionally, and get wet when they've not found a perfect place to shelter in). But she can't be immersed in water.

      What I've advised others (and had positive feedback on) is carefully dropping just-slightly-warmer-than-room-temperature water on the sticky spots... not too much, your aim is to moisten and dilute the stickiness. If you have a clean dropper, that's helpful. You'll want to warm her up afterwards too, so that she can dry off. Once she's warmer, she'll also most likely begin cleaning herself, removing any last sticky residue loosened by the water.

      If the sticky spots aren't on her wings, it's of less concern, by the way. But if there are any spots on her wings, it's important to dilute that dried sugar-water so that she can freely move her wings. You'll probably want to have her in a room where it's warm while you're doing this, as it takes them a little time to warm up, so even with her box open, a still-cold bee isn't going anywhere.

      Keep a good eye on her afterwards, ensuring she's warm enough to finish cleaning herself, but not so warm that she starts to buzz around inside the box, which could be stressful for her, since it's still not good flying weather outdoors yet (hopefully tomorrow)!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  84. I found what I think is a baby bee lastnight...it was on my hand keeping warm I think. I found your website and made a little box home and gave some sugar water too. Today it hasn't had any sugar water and is just sitting there although it has had a little walk around. It's around 10 degrees and it's a little before 8am uk time as I write this. Concerned first time bee momma 😟🥰

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to BeeKind

    1. I apologize for my late reply, I'm on west coast US time, and fell asleep earlier (and awoke later) than typical, so I'm only just seeing your message. Do you have any warmer weather coming up, closer to 13°C (ideally above that)? It's not particularly concerning that your bee is just sitting around, not drinking sugar water today. If it's cold, your bee will be naturally slowed down, and since she's not flying around, she won't be using or needing much energy.

      If you have better weather on the horizon soon, you might consider keeping her indoors in a cool room in her enclosure, since she's safe with you, and she'd otherwise simply be sheltering outdoors, immovably cold (which would make her easy prey, were she found). She'll drink if she's hungry, so occasionally offer sugar-water, but don't leave it in her enclosure (so she doesn't clumsily get sticky while you're not looking, and also so as not to attract ants).

      Once you have a warmer day, move her enclosure into a warmer room, and offer more sugar-water to give her an energy boost. Ideally, your warm day will come with sun, and you'll be able to place her box in direct sun, near some bee flowers. It may still take her awhile (a few hours) to warm up and get going that day (placing her gently on a flower is a good option too once the day is warming up).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  85. Help! Found a struggling queen bee 2 days ago. Gave her some sugar water on a cotton round to avoid drowning. She hasn’t moved. I used a Qtip to see if she has succumbed to the cooler temperatures. Her reflexes are still in tact.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gloria

    1. I'm guessing you mean a queen bumble bee? How has she reacted when placed in the sun (if you have sun)? Have you tried warming her up, to see if that gets her moving again?

      When they're cold, bees can be quite immobile, but given warmth (and a sugar-water boost), they usually respond quite quickly. If you don't have any sun, but it's still above 55°F outdoors, you might try placing her on some bee-friendly flowers to see if that helps. If it's cold though, she may simply need to wait until it's warmer to fly.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  86. I found a lovely bumble in my driveway last night, close to sunset. She was very still but alive. I found your site, and I brought her in the house, made a box up for her and gave her some sugar water. I could see her drinking, so I was encouraged. This morning, I could hear her buzzing in there! Here’s my question: it’s only 34 degrees today with snow flurries!! It is forecasted to be 56 degrees with sun on Friday, will she be ok for 2 more nights in her bee hospital? Do I keep giving sugar water?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bianca (aka “B”)

    1. She'll be perfectly fine with you for two more nights! Just make sure to keep her enclosure somewhere relatively cool but still protected (mimicking the outdoor weather to some extent, but without the snow flurries)! Keeping her cool will naturally slow her down, so she doesn't waste energy buzzing around her box. She'll definitely be much better off waiting until Friday, when there's sun and temperatures closer to 55°F!

      I would look in on her occasionally during the day, offering sugar-water from time to time (especially if she's been moving about a bit more). If she's buzzing/flying, move her box somewhere cooler. She'll let you know if she's hungry by extending her tongue into offered sugar-water (if she puts a middle leg straight up in the air, it means she feels a little concerned that you're a bit too close)!

      Depending on where you put her box, it is probably wise not to leave sugar-water in there (owing to ants finding it, and attacking her while she's too cold to defend herself properly). Also there's the risk she'll fall into the sugar-water accidentally if you're not keeping an eye on her. She won't need much if she's mostly inactive.

      Once Friday comes, you can take her enclosure out and place her in full sun, also offering sugar-water that morning to top up her energy. It may take as many as a few hours before she leaves, but you can give her a head-start by warming her enclosure up in a warm room indoors first, and then releasing her once the day is warming up well (often late morning, depending).

      If anything changes or you have any other questions, just let me know! I've spoken with many folks who kept bumble bees for several nights at a time. Outdoors, they'd simply be sheltering somewhere (likely under leaves or a flower), immobile owing to the cold, so she's safer with you currently until the weather improves 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  87. I found a bumblebee curled up on the ground this mirning. it was around 45°F. I didn't think it was alive until I moved him and he started to twitch his little legs. I brought him inside where it was warm, I didn't have sugar but I had stevia, I mixed it with water and tried to get him to drink. no use. he was moving, cleaning himself, but then fell flat on his lil face. he shot out some liquid, I assume was emptying his bowels? and then some yellow stuff came out from his back end :( he laid motionless, so I put him in a flower bed. is there anything I could have done differently?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to shay

    1. I'm sorry to hear that your bee didn't make it, but it sounds as though your bee was most likely near the natural end of their life when you found them. The yellow stuff that you saw was simply bee poop, and it is likely a natural feeling, to go before expiring. There's nothing else you could have done, other than keeping your bee safe and comfortable so close to the end of its life 💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  88. We have appx 20 acre property that we are working on slowly so we go every few days, and we found a bee swarm in a low bush about head level. It was large but when we went back hours later It was double the size or more. we went back about 3 days later to find it gone, except about 20 bees. All on top of each other, I thought maybe it was the queen hanging out while the workers got her hive ready, but another 4 days went by and those same bees are still hanging out. What should we do?

    I wanted to cut down the branch but don't want to hurt the bees.

    Fyi, I rescue bees from my pool all the time and I tried giving them a better place to get water but they still use my pool.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Starfish

    1. Hmm, I'm not sure what to advise honestly (I'm more experienced with wild non-honey bees than honey bees). I'd contact one of the beekeeping associations close to your area (I believe these would be the Houston Natural Beekeeping Association, the Houston Beekeeping Association, or the Harris County Beekeepers Association). The name, phone number, and email address is available for each association's main contact person here: https://texasbeekeepers.org/local-beekeeper-associations/

      Usually beekeeping associations will offer advice on dealing with local swarms, and someone might even come out, depending on whether or not there's a queen bee there still? From what I know of bee swarming though, twenty bees seems way too low, they swarm in their tens of thousands, staying together with the queen in the center, only sending out a handful of scouts in different directions.

      That's too bad about your pool, perhaps you could float a few odd things in it more permanently, so they're more likely to be able to scramble back to safety? Honey bees certainly are drawn to water!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  89. Hi I found a bumblebee on its back in my garden. so I put it in my strawberry plant bed and offered it sugar water. It had a drink and I went about my gardening as it was a warm day I thought it would just be tired,at around 8pm noticed it was trying to fly but could only manage afew inches off the ground. I decided it would be best to bring it in for the night, so I made a shoe box up of so greenery, cherry blossoms and dandelions. When I held out the cherry blossoms it did seem to eat from them. I then brought it in and kept it over night. This morning as I opened the lid I could here it buzzing around do I was hopeful it would fly away. I took it out side but the same thing happened again, it tries to fly but can only manage a couple of inches. So I offered it sugar water but it wasn’t interested, I picked new cherry blossoms and it did seem to eat this. The weather isn’t fantastic today (7c/44f) and it does look like it will rain so I am unsure of what to do. It’s currently resting in its shoebox with the lid off on the window sill, I’m hoping it’s just to cold for it ? Any advice on next steps would be grateful :)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kirsty

    1. It definitely could simply be too cold for your bee... I've seen them try to buzz and fly, only to fall from being too cold (but able to fly once warmed up). Other than keeping the shoebox open in the direct sun throughout the day (and offering more sugar water), there's little one can do (another way to offer sugar water is to add drops to the center of picked bee flowers such as cherry blossoms, by the way).

      It is possible that there's some wing damage to your bee, but your temperatures seem low enough that it's likely just cold. Once your weather is warmer (closer to at least 13°C/55°F), your bee should be able to take off, even if it takes them a few hours of warming to get going. Sometimes bees do spend several days waiting out chilly weather, hardly moving at all. Sheltering safely is the best thing to do during such weather spells (beneath leaves, underground, or like your bee is right now with you).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks Elise for advice we are currently on day 3with bea (her nickname) you may be right about some damage as yesterday the weather did get warmer and she was actively buzzing but still didn’t taken off. Everyday when the weather allows I Put her outside in my strawberry patch (which my cat has now taken to guarding from birds lol) with a very small branch off the cherry tree and then I bring her in, in the shoe box on the evening where I put a few drops of sugar water in the blossom for the night she seems to eat them and off she goes under her leaves for the evening. I will keep trying to put her out in the sun but it looks like I may of acquired a pet bee for now lol

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kirsty

        1. Yes, you may end up taking care of Bea for awhile, if you're happy to do so! Is she a particularly large bumble bee (do you think she's a queen)? Or do you think she might be a (smaller) worker bumble bee?

          Someone who contacted me recently ended up keeping an injured male carpenter bee for a month. She and her bee sounded quite happy together, with feedings on flowers during the day, I believe some supplementing of sugar-water, and a safe place to rest each night. Had her neighbor not sprayed a shared garden area with pesticides without her knowledge, I think her bee would have lived out its entire natural lifespan with her (which can be close to a year for carpenter bees).

          Bumble bee workers don't live for so long (usually a few weeks), but bumble bee queens may live for up to a year. And it may be that as far as the workers' lifespans go, they'd live longer if they weren't out foraging each day (honey bees are like that... workers in summer that forage daily live short lives measured in weeks, but when it comes time to overwinter as a ball of bees together, the workers live for months instead).

          Let me know what happens, I'd be interested to hear. It sounds like you're providing as natural a life as possible for her currently. If by chance she heals from whatever is preventing her from flying, then one day, perhaps you'll see her take off. Otherwise, you'll have a fuzzy bee companion for awhile 💛🐝

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  90. It’s chilly today. Found a medium size bumblebee on my lawn. Looked you up and voila! Fed the little guy sugar water out of an eye dropper while holding him on my fingers. Out came his proboscus and he’d had a long drink. Recouping in a container of dry leaves and dandy lines. Moving around a lot better. I’m gonna feed him again at bedtime. Hope tomorrow is warmer and that he makes it thru the night. Thought I might get stung but he was so gentle. Thanks.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Di

    1. That's great to hear! Good idea with the dropper too. Your bee may not need a drink at bedtime, if it's not moving around much (though feel free to offer some, as it'll choose if it wants to have any or not). Bees wind-down naturally as evening comes on and temperatures drop, so don't be surprised if you find your bee sluggish later on (it's good to mimic approximate outdoor temperatures if possible, while still keeping the bee's enclosure safe from the elements and tiny predators such as ants and mice).

      I'd imagine your bee will welcome an energy drink tomorrow morning, once the day begins warming (though don't be surprised if it takes awhile for your bee to get moving, as bees seem to wake up slowly, in my experience). Hopefully tomorrow will bee warmer (though occasionally bees end up waiting out several days of cold or rainy weather, before they're able to fly about foraging again).

      Yes they're gentle creatures, I'm sure your bee appreciated the warmth of your fingers, as well as your kind help! 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. My little guy had a good rest and a big breakfast. I found a yard with tons of bumble bee loving flowers and placed him lovingly on a bunch with his relatives. He went right to a bud . He hasn’t opened his wings yet which worried me a bit but it’s a beautiful day and hopefully they’ll strengthen today. I think I have too much time on my hands lol. However my brief time with this cutie gave me such pleasure. Oh, he’s living across the street from me so he can come and visit. Male worker bumble bees don’t sting right?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Di

        1. That's wonderful to hear you had a beautiful day for your well-fed and rested bee, with plenty of other bumble bees around, and all the good bee flowers! Nice to bee right across the street too ☺️ You are right, male bees don't sting: bees' stingers are modified ovipositors, originally used for egg-laying rather than defense (by their waspier ancestors).

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  91. I found a bee yesterday and mixed water and sugar put in sun brought in at nite nd still not flew away just walking about but keep rolling on it’s side or back what can in do I got flowers but don’t want it to be suffering can someone help me

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jax

    1. If your bee is still not able to stand on its legs or fly, and is not improving after drinking sugar water mix, or when warming up in the sunlight, then unfortunately there is probably something else wrong. It may be suffering from an unseen injury, dealing with internal parasites, exposed to pesticides, or it may simply be near the end of its life (older bees tend to have frayed wing edges).

      I wish I could offer more advice on helping your bee further. I realize it's late there now, so it's not as though you can try your bee outdoors on the flowers again tonight. Did the bee extend its tongue and drink any sugar water, that you saw? Sometimes putting drops of sugar water in the center of cut flowers helps a bee realize that there's energy to be had. Also, it does take them time to warm up, depending on how cold they are, maybe even a few hours. But it does sound to me as though there may be something wrong in your bee's case, other than simply being cold and lacking energy.

      If it's beyond help, but still alive, it'd be good to make your bee as comfortable as possible. I'd likely place a bee gently on flowers, or keep it undisturbed in a semi-enclosed spot open to the air in the day. I'd place bee flowers in the box, and locate it somewhere that ants won't discover and carve up the bee while it's still alive. I'd likely bring it in at night, leaving the enclosure in a cool spot away from any discovery by ants or animals.

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  92. Hello Elise. This is the second day in a row that I have woken to find a cold and exhausted bumble bee in my living room. I don't know if it's possible for the same one to make the same mistake 2 days in a row, but today I'm worried. The bee I found yesterday wasn't nearly as still as this one, and after just a short time, I was able to let it climb onto the cherry blossoms on a tree I have. Immediately, it started drinking nectar and in just a few minutes was able to fly again. The bee I have today, was on its back trying desperately to right itself and had stopped trying when I found it. I had to follow the sound. Anyway, I scooped it up with a scrap of paper and let it slide gently into my hand to try to warm it. The wind is terrible today and it's not much above 50 degrees. The bee was struggling, naturally it was scared, I don't know if talking in a soothing tone works for bees or not, but that's what I did, and it didn't seem to work. It just struggled until it couldn't. It was on its back, not moving at all in the palm of my hand. I held it for about 30 minutes and it started trying to right itself again and when it started to crawl from one hand to the other, I brought it out to the cherry tree and held it to a blossom, but it didn't have the strength to hold on, and the wind was really whipping so I brought it back into the house and put it in a small box, where it just laid on its side, exhausted again. (I'll have to take the towel out now though.) That's when I turned to the internet, and yours was the first site that caught my eye. I made some sugar water with organic, raw sugar and spring water and tried putting a tiny drop on its proboscis? Under the tip of it like you instruct. It took a long time, but it did start to move again and seemed to go for the branch full of blossoms that I put in the box with it, just in case, but my hope was dashed once again when this bee started trying to get out of the box. It has been in the same position for almost 2 hours now. I put sugar water in the cap of an empty gallon water jug and put a couple pebbles in it so it wouldn't tip over if the bee tries to drink, but I'm losing hope. It's still alive, but won't try to move. I was wondering what kinds of greens to line the box with. It's supposed to remain windy and they are calling for rain again tonight, so I don't want to put the bee outside. Also, you write to put things that may be interesting in the box. I was wondering what kinds of things they might be. I really want to save this bee.

    Thank you so much for your time, and all the information you've provided to people who care.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Suzie

    1. Thank you for providing so much detail, and for caring for your bees so much! I hope it’s not the same bee making the same mistake too! First off, I wouldn’t lose hope, as a cold exhausted bee can seem much closer to death than it actually is. I would certainly keep her in her enclosure for the night, since wind and rain are difficult at the best of times for bees, and no good at all when they’re so much out of energy. I think the cherry blossoms (small twigs with blossoms) are a good thing to put in the enclosure, as you’ve done already. Since flowers don’t keep their nectar for long once they’re detached, I’ve sometimes dropped small amounts of sugar water mix on the centers of the flowers, so that the bee is able to get energy quickly, whilst still “naturally” drinking from a flower (sometimes, though not always, individual bees have a hard time recognizing a small dish of sugar water mix as food). I’m happy to hear you protected against the bee falling clumsily into the sugar water mix too. In terms of other things to put in your enclosure, sometimes they like to hide under dead leaves, as it likely makes them feel safer and more protected. I would keep the box somewhere cooler (but indoors) tonight, and keep checking on your bee from time to time. It’s probably going to look very sluggish for awhile, but so long as she’s had a little to drink, she should be fine, even if she’s moving very slowly. It’s not the best sign that she’s not always able to stay on her feet, but I think if she has sugar water available (both in a dish, and drops on the flowers in her enclosure), she should be able to improve with time. You might keep her enclosure somewhere indoors that’s a bit warmer currently, so that she has enough energy to stay on her feet, and also to drink some more sugar water mix. Not so warm that she tries to buzz off, while it’s still such intemperate weather outdoors, but warm enough that she’s able to move about if possible. Let me know if you have any further concerns as you observe her, and feel free to reply to this email with photos/video should you wish. I do wish you and your bee all the best!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for responding so quickly, Elise. I took the towel out of the box and lined it with fresh green moss and put a couple pieces of twig just for something different. I hope the moss is alright. I know it has Iodine in it, but I'm hoping it won't hurt her. I put her box in my bedroom. It's the coolest room in the house but is heated. I will pick up some dead leaves for her and thanks so much for suggesting the sugar water in the blossom centers. I never would have thought of that. She was starting to move around a bit but was dragging her big back legs. I get very emotional when another living thing is in distress. Sometimes I wish I hadn't been born with so much sensitivity, but times like this make it bearable. Thanks again Elise. I'll let you know if anything changes.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Suzie

        1. Dear Elise,

          It's a very sad day for me. The bumblebee died late this morning. She started dragging her back legs late yesterday afternoon. She managed to burrow under the moss last night, so I was hopeful when I brought her back out of the bedroom. She was having a hard time getting out from under the moss, (Just small chunks), so I thought maybe she was cold. I put her box in the sun and tried to warm her in my hand, but her back legs were still not working. She was also curling up often. I had a feeling she was in pain. She pulled herself onto my sweatshirt and just stopped moving. I had to touch her once in a while to make sure she was still alive, but eventually her legs started curling around her abdomen, and about an hour later, she was gone. I'm so sorry I couldn't save her. Thank you for your help, and for this website. Most of all, for caring.

          Sincerely, Suzie

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          Leave a Reply to Suzie

          1. I was just thinking about you and your bee. I had almost written earlier, to say that the behavior of dragging her large black legs might be a sign of unseen injury (that symptom seemed more than simply one of exhaustion, especially when she didn't perk up with warmth). We've no idea what happened to her before you found her. At least she had a comfortable and safe place to rest, rather than being targeted by ants while still alive, as often happens to injured bees on the ground. It's really good of you to care, I know how it feels seeing these little creatures in distress, but you did all you could for her 💛

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  93. Went and checked on my bees today we had a bad storm yesterday and the lid blew off the one box ..it was raining and turned to snow I put lid back on .would the bees have survived threw this cold weather ?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chris

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that. It depends on how long the hive remained open. Honestly it's unlikely that they would have survived, but it really does depend on the length of time the lid was off, the amount of rain and snow, and the health of the colony itself going into this. Colonies will try their utmost to survive by huddling together, but you'll have lost some bees on the outer edges, and likely brood too.

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  94. I have found a bee with paint on its wings what can I do to help it I have it o a plate with flowers and things to keep it on its feet for now in my porch

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Zoe

    1. I wish I had a happier answer for you. It depends on the amount of paint, and whether the bee can still move its wings properly to fly.

      If the bee can't fly, there's little you can do besides making your bee comfortable. Cut flowers won't keep their nectar for long, so you could either set your bee up in a warm but sheltered area outdoors with a flowering plant, or offer sugar-water as a substitute food.

      Putting your bee out if it can't fly is likely an invitation for it to be prey though, but keeping it in an enclosure isn't an ideal life either.

      It's worth hoping that your bee might still adapt to flying, even with paint on its wings. I don't know if it's warm enough where you are for it to have tried flying?

      It's an unfortunate situation for a little bee, I wish I had a better answer for you. I think trying some kind of solvent would simply hurt the bee, much as it'd be nice to remove the paint. It might just be alright if it's not too much paint (too heavy), and so long as the paint isn't overlapping its double wings (bees have four wings that fold atop each other at rest, and which catch on little 'hooks' so that each pair on either side of the bee forms one wing surface in flight).

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  95. This morning I found a Bumble Bee slowly making its may around. It would walk just a little, then stay in the same spot for long time. Its wings aren't detached yet. The weather here is not above 13°C/55°F, and it's quite windy out. What should I do do help/save this little one?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Brady

    1. How is your bee doing now, if it is still nearby, that is? If it's a large bumble bee, it's likely a queen recently emerged from hibernation. It is common for recently emerged queens to spend some early spring days moving very little, owing to cold weather. If it's quite windy as well as cold, it's not at all surprising that your bee opts to clamber around the ground looking for shelter, rather than taking flight.

      The key is that they be somewhere relatively safe while they're unable to move much (to defend themselves), and for there to be food within close reach. One thing to try is to offer a boost of sugar-water and a little warmth (from your breath, skin, or a brief stint indoors in a ventilated enclosure) so that the bee has some energy to find a safe place to stay until the weather warms up. You might also try placing your bee on a patch of low-growing, bee-friendly flowers if there are any nearby (I say low-growing, since bees are clumsy when cold, and will fall from taller plants, lacking the energy or warmth to climb back up). They'll often find their own shelter amidst these flowers, while awaiting better weather.

      You also have the option of housing your bee temporarily (as described above on this page) until weather conditions improve. The goal is simply to ensure your bee is somewhere it won't be easy prey, until the weather improves. It's worth noting that bumble bees can handle slightly lower temperatures, especially if there's any direct sunlight, since they do have the ability to generate a little warmth on their own. They'll typically try (on their own) to find places offering nectar that are also sheltered. For instance, I've seen them curled up inside crocuses at night, since these flowers close tightly and keep the bee dry, with plenty of food close by!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. So the bee is now it a little home. It's still sluggish. Unfortunately I have offered sugar-water 1:1 to it twice now but it doesn't seem to want it, and it fell in when It was circling the bottle cap it's in. Is there any way to dry her?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Brady

        1. She should be able to clean herself, so long as she's warmed up a bit and is moving better. It's ideally best that they clean themselves, since they're delicate creatures. So long as nothing looks as though it'll dry stuck together with sugar water (her wings, for instance), I'd let her take care of any cleaning to be done.

          In some cases, it may be helpful to drop ever-so-slightly warm (but mostly room temperature) filtered water droplets on your bee, simply to rinse off excess sugar before it dries. But so long as she's warmed up a bit, I'd imagine she'll clean herself off, and top up on energy in the process. She'll air dry just fine inside an enclosure too.

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  96. Found a carpenter bee in the waterbowl outside. Scooped him up and brought him in. It's only going to get to about 54⁰ out today. Is that too cold to release him? I gave him some dandelions because he had no interest in sugar water. He seems to be having a good time eating from the flowers currently. I don't want to keep him longer than necessary but also don't want to release him if it's too cold for him to survive.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amanda R

    1. That's good you thought to offer dandelions! Sometimes they don't recognize sugar-water as actual food, since it doesn't look and smell like a flower. Do you have any sunlight today? 54° is low, but I think it's warm enough for a carpenter bee if the sun is out. And if your bee was already out, then it is probably close to warm enough.

      I think the thing to do would be to ensure your bee is dried out fully first, well-warmed indoors (in a temporary enclosure). Then try releasing it outdoors near flowers and see how it behaves. Ideally being nice and dry, well-warmed and fed, it should be able to fly off to wherever it had planned to go, before it fell into the water bowl!

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  97. My house has carpenter bees and has for years. We protect them but the 4 that are here this year see to be under attack. Well friday I found one of the males is hurt and is flightless so I have been taking care of him as best as possible. How can I help him have a good rest of his life? I feed him flowers and water. He hangs out on my shirt and we spend time in the grass. He sleeps on a plush pillow beside me. I just him to have the best time he can for whatever time he has left.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tiffany

    1. Aww, it sounds like you've developed quite the bond with your carpenter bee. And I think it's wonderful you protect them every year too!

      It sounds like you are taking good care of your bee. I'm sure your bee appreciates your warmth while hanging out on your shirt! Carpenter bees have surprisingly long lifespans for a bee, of around one year (and up to three years for certain females). However, lifespan is dependent on their overall health, and having been attacked and lost their wings is not conducive to long life.

      I would continue to offer sugar-water to your bee, and protect it (as you've been doing) from further harm. Freshly-picked flowers will retain their nectar for a little bit, while potted plants with flowers will continue to produce nectar, so you might try bringing in some flowering plants in pots too (choose flowering plants that you've seen other carpenter bees feeding on in your area).

      As far as having a good remaining life, other than shelter and food, and being gentle and kind with your bee, there's little else to be done. I wish there was a way to give them new wings (some monarch butterflies receive wing-repair treatment). I'd take your cues from your bee, as it'll let you know if it's agitated at all. I would doubt it would live as long without its wings, as it may have suffered in other ways owing to having been attacked, but giving it time on flowers in a safe area should help provide it with additional nutritional boosts not found in sugar-water alone.

      I have heard that giant resin bees (native to Japan and China) have been seen attacking carpenter bees. These non-native bees have mandibles that are not strong enough to create their own nesting cavities, so they love using ones that carpenter, mason and leaf-cutter bees might use as well. If you see a sticky, resinous substance on the outside of nesting cavities, that's a sign of their presence (although it's a little early in the year for them, as adult resin bees usually emerge in early summer).

      I wish you and your bee friend well 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. The bee is still thriving and doesn't seem to be going down not even one bit. He has actually become a favorite friend of the people I see running errands. Soon as I walk in everyone asks "WHERE'S BEEYONCE?"

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  98. Yesterday was a beautiful sun 70* day that turned into a nasty high wind storm and low 50s. After work I decided to take my hammock down due to the high winds. That then I found a bumblebee taking shelter on my hammock so I gently scooped him up and placed him in an empty flower pot I had let him rest overnight. This morning is in the low 50s and still a bit windy. I put some fresh cut grass and some sugar water in his flower pot. He's very stiff. Weather is not to warm up for another 3days. Is there anything more i can do?

    Hope he makes it.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Saphirebaby13

    1. It's so kind of you to have gently relocated your bumble bee.

      Your bee should be fine for the next three days outdoors, so long as the flower pot provides some shelter. It is not at all surprising that your bee appears very stiff when cold.

      One thing to watch for would be attracting ants if you leave the sugar-water outdoors, as they can move at lower temperatures and might possibly harm a cold, unmoving bumble bee.

      Another thing to do is to place the flower pot somewhere where the sun will hit it, once your weather warms up again. Also, if it's not a clay flower pot, it may be hard for the bumble bee to climb the sides (unless it's an upturned flower pot, weighted down and positioned such that the bee can crawl out from beneath it when it wishes).

      Other than that, your bumble bee should be just fine until the weather warms up. It probably won't need sugar-water until it's time to fly again, so you could simply offer sugar-water again in 3 days time, on the morning of the day when it will warm up again.

      On that day, make sure your bee is in a sunny and warm location... the more it is bathed in sunlight, the faster it will get buzzing!

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Update. He happily fly away this morning. Thank you

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  99. Hi there! I’m in Atlanta. While walking my dogs tonight, I came across a bee on the sidewalk that wasn’t moving. I crouched down and gave it a tiny pet and could see it was still alive. It was 6pm, chilly (54 degrees), windy, and the sun was going down.

    So I ran the dogs home, made some sugar water, and came back. The bee is small. I poured some sugar water on the ground and it immediately started drinking it. It did get some on its feet so I was a little sad about that. I stayed with it about ten minutes and it drank that whole time. Then I went home.

    Three hours later, I’m laying in bed and couldn’t stop thinking about my little bee friend out there in the dark and cold laying on the concrete. And now with wet feet. So I went out to check on it and it was still there.

    I’ve brought it home and put it in a little container for the night. Thank you for your advice as it really helped me help him (I think it’s a him).

    His wings aren’t tattered and he has hair so I don’t think it’s old. I don’t see any injuries. He’s a little wobbly/clumsy so I think he was just very cold. Drinking regular water too.

    Do their tongues always hang out? Are their very front two legs always in the bent position? He’s only using the back four legs. Climbed onto my finger and didn’t sting me.

    I’m an accountant. Not a bee expert but I don’t believe it’s a bumblebee or a carpenter bee. Maybe a honey bee.

    I hope he survives the night and just got caught out in the cold. Thank you for all that you do!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Denise

    1. I hope your bee feels good by morning! Keep in mind that a cold bee can look a great deal like a lifeless bee. Warm your bee up in the morning and offer more sugar-water. Don't be surprised if it takes your bee a while to get going, with false starts and more clumsiness.

      Bees' tongues should not usually hang out visibly. However when they're in need of rescuing, it's not uncommon to see their tongues hanging out: it's a sign that they're starving (it can also be a sign of pesticide poisoning, but let's hope not).

      In terms of bent legs, I wouldn't worry too much, it's a sign of exhaustion in this case I think, as well as being cold. Your bee should feel much better once it warms up again, having had a safe place to rest, and sugar-water to drink.

      Wet feet aren't ideal, but as soon as your bee is rested and restored, it'll be able to clean its feet of any residual sugar. It's kind of you to have gone back out to check on it and bring it in 🥰

      Hopefully the morning brings some warmth and sunlight! Even if it's not all that warm or sunny, you can give your bee an extra boost of warmth and sugar-water in the morning to help it get going again. I wish you both all the best 💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. It’s Denise again. Went down this morning and my little bee friend had gone to bee heaven. The lawn people for our townhome community were here yesterday. I hope they didn’t somehow have something to do with this. I think it was pesticides because his tongue was way out. I’m a little broken this morning. Thanks for your help. Big sad.

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  100. I live in northeast Ohio and I found a bumblebee on the porch. I moved it to a safer place yesterday. This morning I checked on it and it was still in the same spot. We're having some pretty chilly temperatures and rain here for the next several days. I did bring it inside the house and it drank quite a bit of sugar water. What should I do with it now? Thanks.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Anna

    1. Good to hear that you topped up your bee with energy, and relocated her to a safer spot overnight! There are a couple of options for helping your bee further. I'm guessing it's a queen bumble bee because of the time of year too, so by helping her, you help several hundred future bees ☺️

      The most hands-off option is to find a good sheltered spot for her near some low-growing early spring flowers. Bumble bees like to be out of the rain, and at this time of year, I've seen them take shelter under leaves, under flower petals, or even inside the flower itself (if the flower closes at night). Assuming she's a queen (a particularly large bumble bee), you don't need to worry about releasing her near where you found her either, which frees you up to look for the perfect spot elsewhere. Ideally the spot you find would also be bathed in sunlight (once the weather improves, that is), and not make it easy to see her from above (by a bird that might wish to eat her). If you warm her up a little indoors, offering more sugar water, and then place her in such a spot while it's still daytime, she should be able to find a good place to shelter for the next several days. That's what she would do without help too (but we can help by placing her in an ideal spot).

      The other option is to keep her in a ventilated box overnight (somewhere cool, because the cooler the temperature, the less bees move, and there's little point to her expending energy while awaiting better weather). There are suggestions on this page for doing so, and the reason I suggest it is that it keeps bees safe from predators such as birds (since they can't defend themselves or quickly escape when they're cold). It's also a way for folks to observe a bee closely while helping it, building a connection that I think is important. But only do that if you're comfortable! They're able to survive outdoors even in chilly and rainy conditions, the idea is simply to tip the scales as much in their favor as possible, since we need every bee these days!

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  101. Hi! My father recently brought in a bee, thanks to you’re guide, I now know for sure it’s a bumble bee.

    Anyhow, this little one has been moving, we gave him as much as we could regarding sugar. Possibly a bit too much, and my father gave him honey.

    We’ve had him for round about 2 days now. It seems he can move more but keeps on falling forward. My father said to realise him tomorrow, but I’d still like to help.

    Right now, it looks like it’s cleaning itself. I’m keeping her on my hand, I hope that’s not something bad.

    She keeps on moving her legs and tilting, I’m worried that this is something more than just an exhausted bee

    Please awnser as quickly as possible!

    My regards, Nina

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Nina

    1. That’s wonderful that you’re taking care of your bee! I wish I could give you a definitive answer as to what’s afflicting her, but it could be a number of things, some serious and some not. I assume you’ve tried warming her up (ideally in direct sunlight)? If she’s on your hand, that’ll help warm her, and if it’s warm outdoors, going out with her on your hand into the sun might help restore her. Bumble bees are fairly clumsy when they’re cold, so falling forward and tilting can simply be a sign of being cold (bees really do like to be nice and warm). It can also be a sign of some kind of physical damage though, or even old age. Do you see any damage to her wings? If her wings looked ragged at the edges, that can be a sign of old age. While she’s cleaning herself and moving about, I’d still hold out hope of reviving her (even if it turns out that there is nothing you can do). I would continue offering sugar water, and see if warming her up well helps (I don’t know what time of day it is there, if it’s late wait until tomorrow morning to begin warming her up). Feel free to reply to my email with photos or video too, that might me help diagnose her issues further.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  102. I frequently save bees from our pool a lot of the times their lifeless and I bring them back just fine but sometimes I noticed the bees proboscis get stuck and it's like they can't retract it back into their mouth what can I do to help?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ally

    1. That’s great that you’re bringing back many of your bees to life! Have you tried leaving a shallow dish of fresh water out, with pebbles in it to make safe drinking spots for bees? As the weather warms, bees do seek out fresh water (especially honey bees, since they use it for cooling their hives). They’ll probably still go to the pool sometimes, but if you leave your dish nearby and keep it consistently topped up with water in the same location, that should help steer them away from the dangers of the pool over time.

      I used to think that seeing a bee’s proboscis stuck out was a sign simply of impending bee death. I’ve done some more research this morning though, and it looks as though it can be associated particularly with starvation, suffocation, insecticide poisoning, and food contamination (this wasn’t a nice study to read)! I’ve certainly heard anecdotally too that honey bees and bumble bees experiencing acute pesticide poisoning often die with their tongues sticking out (in the case of acute poisoning, there are usually other signs too though, such as excessive twitching and convulsions).

      Unfortunately I don’t think there’s much you can do to help if they won’t retract their proboscis, other than making those bees comfortable in their last moments. I’ve restored some bees before in this state, by putting a drop of sugar water directly under their proboscis, but those must have been times when they were very hungry, but not to the point of starvation, nor poisoned. Bees that do not retract their proboscis are likely past help, sadly.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  103. Hi there, I hope you can help me. I found a bee last night (bumble bee) it was not moving so I brought it home offered it some sugar water but it didn't want it. The warmth of the house brought it back to life and it was flying round the kitchen seeing as it was night time I kept it in the house over night but now that a new day has come i don't know what to do as its raining outside and its only 8°c outside so my question is what can I do with it? I must add I tried it with sugary water again this morning but again it wasn't interested.

    Thanks

    Hannah

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hannah

    1. If you still have your bee, I'd suggest doing one of two things:

      Are any of the next few days likely to be closer to 13°C? If so, house your bee in a ventilated box as described above, and keep the box somewhere cool so that she doesn't waste energy flying inside her box. Release her on the sunniest and warmest of your upcoming days. Time of day would ideally be late morning, once it is already warming up outdoors. Warm her up indoors before releasing her, offering sugar-water again in case she'll take it. Since she's likely a queen bumble bee at this time of year, you can choose any good spot to release her, ideally near early-blooming flowers (bees love flowers from spring bulbs, such as snowdrops, crocuses and squill).

      The other option is to release her outdoors, even if it's still cold. Bumble bee queens are emerging at this time of year, and on cold days, simply move about very little (or not at all) outdoors, while waiting for the weather to improve again. The key here is to find the perfect safe spot. Somewhere your bee won't be easy prey, and a spot where the sunlight will fall for awhile once it's sunny.

      For example, bumble bees love crocuses, which grow low enough to the ground that a cold bee can slowly walk between flowers, even if she's too cold to fly. Flowers like crocuses have the added advantage of providing a natural overnight home for a bee, since they only open when the sun hits them. I've seen bumble bee queens sheltering for days at a time inside closed crocuses. The flowers close tightly enough to shelter a bee from rain, and there's food right there whenever she wishes. If you find a good patch of flowers, release your bee well-warmed onto one of the flowers, ideally in the middle of the day (the warmest part of a cold day), so that she has time to choose a spot to settle in for the coming days.

      (Apologies for my late reply, I'm in a different time zone and only just had a chance to look at this... your question is a good one, and I will fold my answer into this page for future bee rescuers like you!)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  104. I found a bee in the garden, wet and lifeless on the grass. I brought it inside the house and then noticed a leech attached to it which I have removed now.

    I have given the bee sugar water and it is now warming up in my air buddy which it seems to like.

    I’m just concerned about realising it back into the garden as this time of year it’s cold out and wet.

    What would be the best thing to do next.

    Kind regards

    Sarah

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

  105. I think I found a bee in my house. It’s black and white and bald and slow. It’s February here. 26 degrees today, very warm day. He doesn’t seem interested in the strawberry. No idea what to do with him in the cold. Would it be better just to kill him qucikly?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hippy

  106. Yesterday there was what may be a queen bee on my grass moving very sluggish. In wet windy weather. I put it under a bench out f the rain with some sugar water. This morning he was still there in worse weather. I have brought him indoors and put him in a cotton bud container under a lamp with some honey. Is this right? Or should I leave him back outside? Sometimes he looks like he has a bit of energy and stands upright, other times he's falling about. Can you please advise me. Many thanks, Lisa

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lisa

  107. I have found a bee outside. We are due a very bad storm within the next few hours. I have placed the bee on a flower which is in a pot but I am concerned as it is going to be very bad weather. Should I place the plant pot into a shed? And put it back tomorrow once the storm passes? Any advice would help. The weather is going to be very bad, a red weather warning! She looks to be a queen bee so I would like to save her if I can

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emma Kelly

  108. Help! We think our rescues bee has sugar water on its wings as it toppled over when on the spoon…. Now think the bee can’t open it’s wings because they are sugary … what do we do to help .. or is now moving so much more now that we looked after her in a box overnight …. We so want her to be able to fly away !!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Nicola

  109. When I found a Bee i try to do spr on it is that good or not

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to AK

  110. I have been trying to help a bumble bee for past 2 days. It is very weak but has fed on some hyacinths outside my workshop. Its going to rain and be colder tonight, should I take her home in a ventilated box for the night and feed sugar water? X

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Katrina

  111. I found a honey bee out in the cold on a log just frozen. I lightly tapped them but they wouldn’t move. I brought them inside to warm them up and they started getting movement back. I fed them some honey , tried giving them water, and even tried giving them some nectar. The bee still doesn’t have enough strength to fly away. They tried to but they aren’t strong enough to do so and end up falling to the floor. What can I do to help this bee gain enough energy? Or is there something wrong with them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mariana Herrera

  112. What should I do I found a bee should we let it out it was very cold

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Miss Deakin ⁷

    1. Keeping them overnight is okay. Just letting them out early when the sun is out is the best for them.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Mariana Herrera

  113. Hi, I found what looks to be a Queen on the sidewalk, in the cold and she was very still. I took her inside and gave her some sugar water and now she seems to be crawling all over the place. Should I put her back outside or keep her inside? Is so, for how long do I keep her? I don't want her to freeze.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Cara

  114. I believe I have a queen bumble bee which was found in our hitting. We got them out and placed them on the ground and got some sugar water for them. We left them outside and several hours later they are still there and aren't flying away. Now we are getting a box and adding some hay but I'm not sure what else to do as they seem very weak!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to K

  115. Hi, I know little about bees but I like them and recently I found a bee on the floor that seemed to be about to dye. I put her on a flower so she would at least die there and after a little while she started to move from one flower to another and finally left flying. Is this also a way to help them? Does it work the same as the sugared water?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bea

  116. Hello, I brought in a bumblebee last night. He wasn’t moving so I left a little sugar water in the container I put him in. A few minutes later he was moving and buzzing. I wanted to set him free today but it’s 36°F. What should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Les

  117. I have just bought my partner a bee hive building kit. It is only small but what do we put in the bottom to make them comfortable?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ali

  118. I saw so many bees seemingly dead in the snow.I brought them in to warm up. Am I doing them a disservice? Some are males and I know they are booted out of the hive at some point. Am I just giving them a second chance to suffer or will they have a chance to live?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Suzann

    1. Hi Suzann, have you found out any info? I’m in a similar situation and I’m looking for guidance. Thanks!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Les

  119. I have a female carpenter bee in my house. Want to keep it alive. What do I do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Me

  120. I have a carpenter bee in my house an want to keep it alive, already have her sugar water

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Meme

  121. Hi, thank you for this article, I have visited it plenty of times, as I attempt to rescue bees weekly. Do you have any solutions for them to stop drowning in water ? I’m using a short container not deep, and I’ve placed wine corks as well as bamboo sticks to help them. It seems I’m still finding a few that fall in. I’m able to revive most with the sugar water trick and keeping them warm. I have a second problem , two have stung me and I’m scared they will pass because of it. I asked my bio professor , I sent a photo and he stated it seemed it might make it because of something that was stopping the bee from releasing its internals. I just want to help them live . Any suggestions ? Thank you Elise .

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Deanna Ruelas

  122. Hello, I live in the northeast and it is getting quite chilly. Today was 46 degrees and I found a honey bee on the brick wall of my house. I moved it to some flowers in the sun but it has been there for hours. I am not sure if it is cold or at the end of life. I didn't want to move it inside in case it was going to return to a hive, but now I am considering it because it's getting dark and much colder. It will be in the 20s tonight. Any bee advice would be welcome.🙂 Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Donna

    1. OK just an update, I ended up bringing the bee inside with the flowers and some sugar water. It took no more than a few minutes and the bee was flying around the container trying to get out. I released the bee and it flew away. It is starting to get dark and it is cold, but I hope it gets home ok!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Donna

  123. Found big bumble Bee in garden three days ago.. November.

    Wet. Thought it was dead, brought it in, nurturing it with beehive revival kit... Not flying.. What shall I do with it now please, it's very still today other than the odd leg coming up..

    Thank you.

    Kym

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kym

  124. Found large bumblebee in our pool. Got it out rather quickly. Has been sluggish for 24 hours. Now in shoe box with sugar water. Any further ideas?

    Thanks!!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Scott

  125. Hi, I found a bee in my kitchen this afternoon. The sun had already set, she looked dead but I could see her antennas moving. I placed her in a warm place and tried blowing warm breaths, she still looks paralyzed. So I gave her some of the water sugar mix, she drank it all. But still no other movements . What should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kimberly

    1. I would keep her indoors in a ventilated box overnight (in a relatively cool spot indoors overnight), then try releasing her in the morning, assuming you have some warmer weather tomorrow. It helps to warm them up well indoors first (just prior to releasing them), as well as offering more sugar water then as an energy boost.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  126. I have a very large wet looking bee that I found clinging to a wall

    Looking very sluggish. I have brought her in to dry and warm her up.

    I’m unsure if she is a queen bee or worker bee?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Selina

    1. Given the time of year, if she's very large, she's likely a queen bumble bee. Do you have any slightly warmer, less wet weather coming up? I'm hoping so! She'll be happier once she's drier and warmer, although I wouldn't warm her up too much tonight, since it's late in the day, and she might be fooled into thinking it's possible to fly again, while it's still a cold night out. Ideally, you'll be able to house her safely until the weather improves at least a little (closer to 12°C).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  127. I brought a struggling bumble indoors yesterday evening as it was getting cold. I didnt seem interested in sugar water, but did get a bit more active as it warmed up.

    This morning it is much the same, but still not the healthiest looking.

    The temerature outside is around freezing and is only forecast to reach a few degrees, I am worried that if I put it outside it will just get cold and die

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Pete C

    1. Is it a very large bumble bee, or a smaller one? I ask because at this time of year, large bumble bee queens are preparing to hibernate (or have already settled into their hibernation for winter), but smaller bumble bee males naturally die as the temperatures fall. Feel free to reply to my email with a photo if you'd like.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I was hoping to share a pic as my situation is the same as above. I found what I thought to be a dead bee on my parents driveway but indeed was alive. I’ve let her out a few times but she’s neither moved out of both bee friendly enclosures and I think it’s bc it’s too cold out. Below 50°. I have given sugar water and some fresh flowers, which one she hates lol I go back to my parents to celebrate Thanksgiving and will travel with her one more time to let her go. I understand this is probably it for her or who knows. She did leave one enclosure only to go back in. She was left on a wood flower pot filled with soil. I was hoping she would of left and dug herself in the ground but she didn’t. Shes tried flying but can not. I don’t see anything wrong with her wings and she can fly a few inches but no cigar. I hope that I am helping more than I am hurting. My nature best friend says I could be ruining future generations if she’s a queen and I don’t let her do what she need to do. Ugg. Thank you for your insight and help! Happy Thanksgiving!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to All things bugs

        1. It's probably just cold that's keeping her from flying far right now. It sounds as though you may not have a choice on which day to let her go, so if that's the case, I'd warm her up in the morning really well indoors close to a heat source (in her enclosure, as she'll be able to fly once she's fully warmed up). Keep a good eye on her, as you want her to be comfortable, and start buzzing her wings and looking ready to fly off. Offer her some more sugar water during this time too (it's important for her to have some energy for the day). Ideally a good start with energy and warmth will enable her to stay warm and aloft until she finds where she'd like to be. If she's a large queen bumble bee, then she'll be looking for a place in the ground to hibernate... but they don't like us to choose those spots for them, which makes it more difficult to help! This is a hard time of year for them, but with a little help, she may be able to survive to do her thing. You already saved her life, as she wouldn't have made it being stranded on a cold driveway.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  128. My husband returned home from work his lunchpail had a ice block in it to keep his lunch cold in the bottom was a sweet little bumblebee. I mediately took him out warmed him up . gave him a bit of sugar water and a warm environment it’s been raining and my husbands works pretty far away wondered if I could let him loose here at a friends with lots of flowers in her garden. Well she adapt because it’s not Where we found her?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bumbles friend

    1. Yes, your bee will adapt to a new area just fine, being a bumble bee! If your bee is a queen (a large fluffy bumble bee), then she'd be looking for a place to hibernate on her own over winter, and your friend's garden will be a good place for her to stock up on food, as well as a good place to overwinter. If your bee is a bumble bee worker, then she'll typically have no problems entering another nest, so long as she comes bearing nectar or pollen. If your bee is a male bumble bee (likely at this time of year, if your bee is smaller), then he'll be very happy in your friend's garden, as where there are flowers, there will be queen bumble bees to meet ☺️

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  129. I live in CT and it's November 11th. I'm dogsitting and was trying to open the back door but was having trouble. So I started walking away till I felt something on my shirt so I tried to get it off, (my first reaction). As I did that I noticed it was a bee and at that moment it stung me. But I'm a person who cannot kill ants or bugs, etc. So I went to find it a few minutes later and it was alive on the ground. I put it on my hand, gave it sugar water, per your advice and it really helped. But it's night time now and not very warm (obviously bc it's November). So my question is, I don't know where it came from. It had to have been inside the spaces between the slider door? I don't see any other bees anywhere. I don't want to just release it to fend for itself. I'm letting it stay inside overnight. It tucked itself under a folded piece of paper. I don't want to disturb it so I'll let it be. Where should I release it? Just right outside the slider door on the deck? In a potted plant outside by the door? I'm sorry for the long message but I can't help my concern. Everyone in my life thinks I'm weird bc I can't kill bugs, etc. But I feel so guilty and can't do it. Please any answer or advice would be a great help. I think it's a worker honey bee going by your pictures.

    Thanks so much for doing what you do!!

    Aileen

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Aileen Johnson

    1. Hmm, if she's a worker honey bee, then she wouldn't survive stinging you, as part of her body would unravel (leaving the stinger embedded in your skin). Perhaps she's some other kind of bee, since honey bees are the only ones that lose their lives like this when stinging?

      It's always a good idea to release bees near where they were picked up. Most bees will have landmarks in mind, and depending on the type of bee, it can be important for them to know where they are when released.

      If she's alright in the morning (and once the day has begun warming), I'd offer more sugar water (warming her on your hand again, if you're up to that). Then I'd gently place her outside the slider door on the deck, ideally in sunshine if you have any. She doesn't have to be put exactly where she was found, just close by, so anywhere on the deck by the sounds of it, and the warmer/sunnier the location, the better, even if it's not quite where she ended up when you found her. Your whole deck should be part of her map of her surroundings.

      It's good that you care about the small creatures too... I think it's rather strange when people kill bugs simply because they're bugs. After all, our world depends on them existing, they're such vital parts of our ecosystems. And beyond that, like all living things, they deserve their chance at life. Bees have been found to be amazing learners, even passing on learned knowledge between generations (we see this with bumble bees).

      I appreciate hearing that you care about bugs too, and are looking out for your bee's best interests 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  130. My bees seem to be stuck to my metal gazebo. I have noticed this happening inside the house on the glass windows this fall. I can send a photo to better show this.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Patti Burden

    1. Are these honey bees? I sent you an email just after you wrote, feel free to reply with a photo if you'd like.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  131. Hello,

    I found a queen on the ground Sunday, I took her home and gave her some sugar water which she had and left her outside that night thinking she would wonder off, when I got up she was still there, so I brought her in and have set up a show box with flower and leaves, she slept over night last night and has been very active today moving around a lot so, I experienced her have a wee (I think, she rubbed her abdomen and I watched a fluid come out) she seemed more active after, I decided to release her because the weather was dry and it was midday, she didn’t want any sugar water and didn’t seem interested in flowers, I found a lovely sheltered spot ideal for burrowing, I left her for a couple of hours and thought I would pop there and see if she is there, I left the box Incase, well I looked and turned around and she was hanging onto one strand or stalk, the temp has dropped so I’ve bought her back in. She is still active but I would have goes after a couple of hours she would have done more (Burrow down or forage) any idea why she doesn’t want too? She can move her wings but doesn’t want too. I’ve had to put the lid on the box because I need to do housework, any idea what to use until it’s bed time? She snuggled down about 6pm last night. The weather is due to get better in a few days, so maybe I can keep her until then. Also, could she be full and that’s why she doesn’t want the sugar water? Many thanks Tina

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tina

    1. If she's expended little energy, she's likely simply not hungry. Queen bumble bees also do need to be fairly well-warmed up before they're active, so even on a dry day, she may not have felt sufficiently warm to do too much (if there's any direct sun, it helps to put her in those spots, so she can soak up the warm rays).

      If I were you, I'd hang onto her for a few days until the weather gets better, offering sugar water during the days, but keeping her relatively cool throughout. On the morning of better weather, I'd warm her up nicely indoors, and see if she'll take more sugar water. Then find a spot in direct sun (if you have it), and see if that doesn't get her buzzing and on her way then!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi Elise,

        Thank you for the reply, it’s hard to know what’s the right thing to do, so, I appreciate it.

        She was still active in her box around 530pm, she had a wonder one my hand and my partner brought some cut flowers home including lavender (he’s a gardener) so she has enough nectar but I will offer her the beevive sugar water as well, it’s definitely meant to be Sunny the weekend so I will keep her, what should she be doing Nov, foraging or hibernating or both and is she likely to prefer the ground to hibernate. What is their sight like? I did notice her one antenna wasn’t as functional (it’s there but a little different and she uses the right one more) can they still function and smell good etc when one is slightly damaged?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Tina

        1. In November, your queen bumble bee should be preparing to hibernate, which includes foraging to top off her fat reserves ahead of winter. She should also be looking for a spot to burrow in the soil, just below ground, in order to stay safe and frost-free while she hibernates.

          November brings iffy weather though, so it's a matter of judgment on the part of each bee. If she's caught out in the cold and rain, she'll go into a state of torpor, from which she'll emerge once the weather warms slightly. Since each bee is precious, it's nice to keep them safe when they're not able to move, since they can otherwise be found by predators that are still able to move at lower temperatures.

          By the way, there's no need to worry about her antennae, I've seen bees with half an antenna missing that are still able to lead normal foraging lives. It helps to have another antenna as a backup. Their sight is good (and their learning abilities are excellent too)!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  132. Dear Elise,

    I have found an extremely weak (on its back) bumble bee inside my home. I guess it was inside my Halloween decoration that I git inside on Monday - today is Saturday. I offered sugar water, it took some now it is sitting in the corner of a box .... Temps outside are in the 20th at the moment, during the day maybe low 50th - frost at night for the next few days. What am I supposed to do to help it survive?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to BRIDGET

    1. I apologize for replying so late. Perhaps you found some suggestions on this page already, but if your bee is still with you, I would keep it until the weather looks better (higher 50s without freezing temperatures, ideally). Bees don't need much while they're with you, especially since it's a good idea to keep their box somewhere cool... that way they don't use much energy while you wait for better weather. It can be a good idea to leave sugar water in their box during the day, so long as they can't fall into it accidentally (and so long as there's no danger of ants).

      The idea would then be to warm up your bee well indoors at the beginning of the soonest upcoming day with better weather, making sure to offer sugar water, then placing your bee in the sun outdoors if possible. Depending on the type of bee, it may or may not survive winter naturally (honey bees need to make it back to their hive where they'll overwinter, for example, but only large queen bumble bees survive by hibernating).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  133. I was outside at a soccer game and a bee flew down out of nowhere. I lifted it up since it was upside down, but it’s really cold outside and it’s only 7pm, meaning it will only get colder and it will take a long time for the sun to finally come up. Any ideas? I want to help protect it.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to irene

    1. I'm sorry for my late reply, which is of little use several days later, so I do hope you found some ideas on this page to help your bee. Typically, if it's late at night, it can be helpful to keep them overnight in a ventilated box or other enclosure, in a spot that's similar to nighttime temperatures but not freezing. In the morning, once the day starts to warm up, you can warm them by placing their box in a warm spot indoors, also adding a few drops of sugar water for them (enough to drink from, but not enough to fall in, if they're cold and clumsy). Typically it's a good idea to wait for the day to warm up for a couple hours before releasing them. Sometimes (depending on the weather) it can even be helpful to hold onto them for a day or two, releasing them once the weather is more favorable (warmer/less rainy).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  134. I was fishing in a lake and happened across a little bee. I was in a boat far enough from land. So I swept him up and held him till he dried off. He was doing good. Cleaned himself. He even started trying to fly but wasn’t very successful after many attempts. Otherwise seemed good. I was on the water for a while and he just hung out on the boat trying to fly for a while. Then I noticed he became very docile and I held him as he died. I was so sad. Do you think he was just too cold? Needed to feed?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kali

    1. I think it's likely that your bee ran out of energy. I doubt your bee was too cold, if it was soaking up your body warmth. Bees tend to expend a lot of energy attempting to escape the water's surface tension. This might sound odd, but it's one reason to carry a small vial of sugar water on you, especially in spring and fall when there are fewer flowers and the weather is more uneven. At least it was a quiet and gentle passing for your bee.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  135. Hi! I have found a bee very lethargic in my home. I helped her to some sugar water and she perked up a bit, but she’s still dragging her rear and doesn’t even try to use her wings.

    It’s currently 11C here so I’m worried she might be a bit chilly or that there’s something else going on… how can I help her?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Andzelika

    1. Is she a large, fluffy bumble bee, by chance? 11°C is cold, but it's close to the lower edge of bee temperature tolerance (13°C is usually what I'd consider a minimum). Tonight I'd certainly keep her with you, if you still have her, leaving her container in a coolish room so as not to confuse her sense of day/night. Lethargy doesn't necessarily mean anything's wrong with her, other than being cold... same with dragging her rear and not using her wings, these again are often symptoms of simply not being warm enough to fly.

      If your day tomorrow looks to be decent weather, I'd start warming her up in the earlier morning indoors, offering her more sugar water, and then opening her container outdoors mid-morning so that she can ideally bee on her way. Don't be surprised if it takes her some time (a couple of hours) to leave. If there's any bright sunshine at all, definitely put her in the sun rays to soak those up!

      If tomorrow is cold and wet, but another day this week looks better, then I'd keep her in a coolish location indoors, offering sugar water from time to time (not too much, as they can be clumsy when cold, and you don't want her to fall into it and get coated in sticky water while she's cold). Then on the day with better weather, warm her up indoors, offering her more sugar water, and open up her container mid-morning outdoors.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  136. Help I found a small B I am not sure what kind it is It was raining today and the bee was laying on a fence post very sluggish I brought it inside and put it in a big mason jar but a coffee filter for a lead with a lot of holes in it. The baby is starting to fly but it’s dark out now and it is going to -3 or four tonight Celsius The high tomorrow is only +3°C with a low below freezing mark again my heart is breaking for this little baby I don’t know should I just let it outside Weather is warming towards the end of the week +9 with the temperature still below the freezing mark at night What do I do with this poor little creature I have a small cap in the jar with some sugar water I have not seen the bee take any yet hoping you can offer some assistance

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Denise

    1. I hope I'm not too late in replying, your bee should be fine with you for a few days and nights, while it's so cold outdoors. I wouldn't keep your bee too warm at night, put the jar somewhere cool (but not freezing) nightly, and keep the jar somewhere where it's not too warm during the day (keeping your bee cooler ensures it won't try to fly much while staying with you, and it doesn't harm them). I'd offer sugar water from time to time during the day, not too much to where your bee could fall in though, they only need a little! 9°C is still rather cold, but if that's the warmest day, I'd warm your bee up well indoors that morning (offering sugar water again, ideally seeing it drink), before trying to release it late morning (once it's warmed up outdoors a bit). This'll give your bee the maximum possible time out in warmer temperatures before nightfall, so that for whatever type of bee it is, it can get where it wishes to go 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  137. I had a lovely experience today. I wear fingerless gloves because of eczema and a bee decided to hitch a ride inside it! I had to carefully remove the glove and let it explore the inside and outside as I walked to my destination. It was incredibly curious and rejected every flower I showed it lol. Though it did at least take a look. It preferred to explore the glove or sit on the top in the sun.

    Was it tired do you think? When I passed the corner it flew off, almost as if that was its stop! As someone allergic to bees I was frightened at first but now feel very fortunate to share her little journey.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chloe

    1. I bet your bee simply wished to warm up on your hand/glove! Warmth can really give them a boost depending on the time of day/year. Happy to hear you shared in her little journey too, despite your allergies... bees tend to be friendly and docile under almost all circumstances! 🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  138. Hi I have found a bunch of bees 4 near my sunflower plants on the sunflowers and stem it’s cold and rainy today about 50-54°f the first two I for sure thought were dying I brought them inside an they perked up I picked the sunflower they were on I shouldn’t have done that but anyway I brought them back out when I realized they livened up aNd werent on there death bed but then I read ur article the suns almost setting I found one bigger one who’s now quite active after sucking down some sugar water, I have all 4 in a shoe box. Can I house them all? I also read in ur article that depending on what type of bee that they need to go back to the hive so I’m confused what to do. Keep them or not.. thanks jess

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    Leave a Reply to Jess

    1. Are they all quite fluffy? I'm guessing so, and if yes, then they're bumble bees, not honey bees with a hive. They should all be fine together if they all look very similar (the larger one might be a young queen, with three males, if they're bumble bees). Put the box in a cool location to match the outdoor temperatures, so that they settle down for tonight. Then release them once it starts warming up tomorrow morning, offering some more sugar water beforehand.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    2. Hi again, I’ve separated the other three from the largest because he/she was climbing on top of the others and very active in comparison. I guess I will keep them all overnight…??? but the weather for tomorrow is rain 100% and 54°f. They have organic raw sugar cane water, I’ve seen all of but one of them drink it, maybe the last one has as well and I’ve just not noticed. Any who, it’s 6pm here suns setting and it’s getting dark. the largest is trying to fly inside the shoebox. Debating releasing her(him?) because of how active it is.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Jess again

      1. Just saw your second message! If the largest one is trying to fly, maybe release her soon, so she doesn't wear herself out trying to escape. Though I bet she'll calm down if you put her somewhere cool for the night, to be released in the morning. Tomorrow's weather is not ideal for releasing them, but as I mentioned in my article, bumble bees often end up spending their nights out on flowers at this time of year, even in the rain. They enter a state of "torpor" that makes them appear half-dead, but they come back to life once it warms up a little! You can always give them a head-start on a cool, rainy day by warming them up in their box indoors first, and offering sugar water. They do generate their own warmth a bit too, so if they're able to fly tomorrow morning, then they should all be good to go.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

        1. Thanks for the response wondering if maybe they were okay where they were, hanging out on my sunflower plants.

          .. Besides flowers where do bumble bees live and normally stay during the night?

          The boxes are now on my front porch, no heat there 52°f out right now. They have quieted down. It’s dark now, not raining but rain is forecasted for overnight and tomorrow. I draped leaves into the shallow bottoms of solo cups where the sugar water is (the dishes are about 5mm deep) and I removed all flowers but I wonder if I’m doing anything better for them if the weather will be just as rainy and cold as it was today. They have all drank the sugar water when I first got them but not so much anymore. If it is raining tmrw morning what do you suggest I do with them? Thanks!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Jess

          1. Unless it rained very hard (washing them off the sunflowers), they'd likely have been alright there. Usually bumble bees live in nests (of up to several hundred individuals) underground, but in fall all the bumble bees leave their nests, basically young queens (large and fluffy) and male bees (smaller and fluffy). The males tend to hang out on flowers, awaiting female bees. The young queens are looking to mate and stock up on energy before hibernating in the ground for winter (unfortunately, all the males will die off relatively soon, as they have no place to go for winter).

            My advice depends on your forecast for the rest of the week. If it looks better mid-week, you could easily keep them in their boxes for another day and night, since they'll all likely be sluggish if it's wet and cold out. Likely they're safer with you too, rather than paralyzed with cold out on the flowers, where a predator might find them more easily.

            I'd peek into the boxes at various points tomorrow. If they start to seem much more active, even while the boxes are outdoors, then you could open the lids and give them the chance to go. You may find they'll stay until it's a nicer day!

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

            1. Hi Elsie, you’re great by the way! You have helped so many people and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your responses! It is a rainy crumby day, I’ve kept them over night, pretty sure they’re all males. Some bigger than others but none that are super super fluffy. Rain and wind is likely until tomorrow (wed) morning.

              My next and final questions lol They are certainly sluggish, haven’t moved all night, I’m thinking it’s doubtful they will take any of the sugar water being so cold, they only drank when I had them inside yesterday and warmed up, and since I think they’ll decide to stay put in their open boxes, should I bring them inside to warm up and eat at any point? Should I do this now (Tuesday 9:30am) and then leave them outside with box open? You mentioned that I could do this just before releasing them for a head start, which tomorrow is likely to be the better day.

              I have already taken the boxes and left lids completely open on my open porch so they’re free to go if they want but it’s a cold 52°f, windy and raining.

              Thank you so much!

              -Jess from CT!

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Jess

              1. *Elise,

                my apologies!

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Jess

                1. I'm on a different time zone than you, so forgive my later reply this morning. Tomorrow (Wed) sounds much better for their departure. That's the day I'd bring them indoors earlier to warm them up, offering more sugar water before putting their open boxes out in the sun (if there's sun).

                  For today, they'll likely not need much of anything, since they're cold and not moving much. I'd almost say to leave sugar water in the box in case they feel like it, but that's not ideal, since ants are more active at cooler temperatures, and might annoy the bees if they found the sugar water first.

                  So, if they're still out on the porch, I'd leave them there so that if they feel up to it, they can go anytime. Otherwise tonight I'd close up the boxes, and in the morning bring them in for warming up and breakfast before setting them out, ready to fly!

                  Reply

                  Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  139. I found a cold worker bee inside of grocery store while working. I put them inside a warm box with some sugar water and is now happily walking around. The problem is the weather is terrible and I want to take it home for the night. I want to try and release them in the morning, but I live a mile away from the store. Is that too far away to release them?thanks!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Miles

    1. If it really is a honey bee worker, I’d definitely take it back to the area outside the store tomorrow morning… it might not find its way back to its hive otherwise, but I’m sure it’s happy for a safe night with you! Keep it coolish tonight so it doesn’t get confused, then warm it up in the morning and offer more sugar water before releasing it 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  140. Hi there,

    So my partner are new beekeepers. Our hive is only a few months old and we set it on a rubber pallet. The pallet has different grooves in it and so we laid a piece of plywood down to keep the hive stable but off the ground. Plywood only covers half of the pallet and the grooves that are exposed have water in them from the rain. Today when we went to check the hive we were looking for the queen to make sure she was moving around and doing okay. Well she was on the bottom corner of one of the frames and I don’t know how but she fell and of course she landed in the water. We quickly got her out by putting a finger under her and she climbed on and we set her right back on the top of the frame and she walked right down into the hive on the frame. We are paranoid she might die. Would you have any suggestions for us? Did we accidentally kill her? Will the bees dry her off and she will be okay? She’s back inside the hive and we closed it up right after but we are nervous. Can you calm our nerves lol? Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gayle

    1. I’m so sorry I didn’t reply sooner (unexpected life issues)… but do not worry, your queen bee will be fine! Bees can take a little falling in water if they’re immediately taken out… and as queen bee, she’ll have plenty of attendants to dry her fully 🐝👑

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  141. Not a question! I just wanted to let you know that your first aid section helped me save a bee this morning! I would love to share my pictures/videos with you if you would like! I linked your website on my Facebook post.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

    1. I'm so happy to hear you saved a bee! 💛 Thank you for sharing my page, and yes I'd love to see your pictures/video 🐝✨ Feel free to reply directly with them!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  142. Is a 2:1 mixture alright with organic raw cane sugar? I just made a max of it in a kitchen oil bottle for a griddle, the one with a nozzle like a bottle of honey. I filled the bottle halfway with the sugar, then fully with water, shook until dissolved, and I now have a murky brown solution that particles of sugar can be seen in. Will this work for the honey bees that fall in my pool almost daily here in Florida? I have been giving them honey but just found your page saying I shouldn't. My two young sisters have appointed me as the "Bee Doctor", and I want to be sure the "Bee Medicine I just made will work!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Justin Fernandez

    1. Sorry to be replying so late! It'll likely work just fine as is, but ideally the sugar water goes into solution, without too many particulates. You might try warming the solution up a little (perhaps pouring the contents into a saucepan with a low heat, then once it cools, pouring it back into the bottle)? The solution should be a light-ish color too (with light-colored raw cane sugar rather than brown cane sugar).

      Happy to hear you're the appointed "Bee Doctor" with your own medical kit! 🩺🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  143. I brought my flowers in 2 nights ago to keep from freezing, I now have a honey bee hanging out in my bathroom, I did give a little sugar water and regular water it also has access to flowers. It is to cold out to release it. I feel bad for it and don't want it to die. What should I do for the poor thing. Or do I have a house guest for the winter😊 any suggestions would be helpful!! Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ruth

    1. I am so sorry I didn't reply sooner (some life issues), but if you still have your honey bee, it does ideally need to find its way back to its hive. It'll be able to survive winter in its hive, but it needs to be at least 55° F (ideally above that) for it to be able to fly there. You can help it out by warming it up indoors too, on what looks like one of the better days weather-wise. It would likely get a bit lonely staying with you for winter, even with access to flowers, if it's a honey bee! They're definitely hive creatures, huddling close together in winter.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  144. Its a 21c rainy day. I found a big bumblebee on my wet marigold. I moved it off and put it on the moss in the flowerbox. Im sure it was dying. I went to check it hour later and it was gone! Did it live? It really seemed to be dying!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Janet

    1. That's a fairly warm day. The likelihood is that once it dried off, it was able to fly away happily! It's easy to mistake lethargic bees for dying bees... often all they need is some warmth (and to dry off, if they're wet) before seemingly miraculous revivals. Sometimes nectar (or sugar water) is necessary, but if there are flowers nearby, they'll manage to get there, even if they have to walk instead of fly at first (large queen bumble bees especially).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  145. I have found a bee in left out orange juice. I have recovered him and put him in a box. But he seems lethargic and his wings are likely sticky. Is there anything I can do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rich

    1. If the bee is lethargic, it may have trouble cleaning itself before the orange juice dries. You could try very carefully dripping slightly-warmer-than-room-temperature water over the bee. But that is a little risky, you'd want to be very careful not to use too much at once (they breathe through the sides of their bodies). I'd probably try doing it though, since having its wings stick together from the orange juice would be worse. Bees are usually good at cleaning themselves, but not if they're already cold and lethargic. I don't know what time of day it is where you are, but even were your bee to warm up sufficiently to clean itself, the orange juice would likely have dried also in the process.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I’m in the UK, it is now dark. I’ve tried dripping some water on his back. He’s extending his wings, but he’s gaining any lift.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Rich

        1. That's good to know where you're at, daylight-wise, as it helps to know what to do for your bee. I'd leave it at what you've done for now, and keep your damp bee safe overnight in a ventilated box. I wouldn't expect your bee to be able to dry out and "buzz up" until being warm again, but I do think it's good to have tried to dilute any orange juice residue (especially on its wings), so that it's able to move easily come morning. For tonight, I'd keep your bee somewhere cool-ish indoors, so that it doesn't think that it's warm enough to try to fly in the box. In the morning, once the day begins warming (hopefully you do have a warmer day ahead, without rain!), I'd put your bee out in the sunshine and give it an hour or two to get going. It might not need that long, but it depends on the type of bee. I'd also provide some drops of sugar water in the morning. If it's a cooler day, you can also try warming up the bee first in a warmer room indoors, along with offering sugar water, and then taking its box outdoors. Let me know if anything comes up with which you need further advice!

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          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  146. Hello love i ve rescued a honey bee from spider web gave it some sugar and water but it went on his legs i took him inside to warm up as it was getting late 6pm and now in a box quiet i dont know id he ok or not he been buzxing around in box now quiet ahould i let him go now kr morning and how many holea doea he need on box ive done about 10

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Alexandra ferrey

    1. It'll be safest for your honey bee to wait to release it in the morning, keeping its box in a relatively cool location so that it doesn't start buzzing about and wasting energy. I would say that not buzzing is likely a good sign (too much buzzing in an enclosure can add stress, and occasionally cause bees to damage their wings trying to escape). Ten holes for air in the box sounds great!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  147. It is October in western Massachusetts. The bumblebees are still on my flowers and it’s 55 out on an. Do I leave them alone or do they need help? They are sluggish but can fly. Although there are many. Some are just I guess waiting for the sun . But as cold weather approaches if they are still here how can I help them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Susan

    1. At this time of year, what you're seeing are likely all male bumblebees, awaiting new queens dispersing from nests, who need to mate before going into hibernation for the winter. This is typical beehavior for males... so I would simply enjoy the autumn bee-watching! They'll be sluggish on these cold mornings, but they'll warm up quickly in the sun, and they're right on the flowers , so all the food they need is already there. Queen bumble bees are sure to come by later in the day, since they're stocking up their own fat reserves for overwintering.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you. There was many of them all the same in size. Still there eating. Good to know it didn’t warm up to much today. I’m sure they be okay until frost weather comes and hopefully safe by then . If not what do you do leave them or put them in a container for winter?? Clueless but I don’t want them to die. I plant flowers for the bees and milk pod for monarch butterflies. Do daily feeders for the hummingbirds . I sure don’t want to cause any harm.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Susan

        1. It's lovely to hear you care so much about your bumble bees and other wildlife. I'm sorry to say that life isn't too kind to male bumble bees (or older queens) by the first hard frosts. It is only the newly born, freshly mated queens who hibernate through winter, each alone in the ground, before awaking next spring to start new colonies. This year's queens (who in late summer gave birth to the new queens and males), along with all the male bumble bees, no longer maintain a colony through the winter, and so those bees will sadly all die from cold and lack of food. It's simply part of the natural bumble bee lifecycle, and I'd imagine that even if one were to try to intervene by keeping them warm and fed, their natural lifespan would not be much longer, and they'd not be outdoors roaming free, so it would be a strange existence for them.

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          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  148. Hi, we brought a bee inside as it was cold and just laying there early this morning. It's fed well on sugar and water, generally been asleep on the window cill. It's showing interest in going outside but it can't seem to open it's wings. Any advice on to what we could do for it? Kind regards

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kay

    1. Another quick note... I realize it's later in the evening where you are, so these would be steps to take tomorrow morning, assuming it'll be a temperate day tomorrow. Sometimes, depending on the weather, it's worth keeping bees fed and safe for a few days, before warming them up and releasing them on one of the warmer autumn days.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    2. Is it a bumble bee? They take a surprising amount of time to get going on cooler mornings, and it is likely that she's still cold, rather than anything wrong with her wings (if you see nothing amiss). So long as it'll be a reasonably temperate day today, I'd warm your bee up indoors (in some kind of enclosure) first, and see if she starts buzzing her wings, indicative of preparing for flight. Placing her near (but not too near) a heat source can help jump-start her day, giving her energy to fly and more time in her day, once she's released. Keep an eye on her throughout the time you're warming her up.

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  149. I fed a mason bee honey I've heard it can cause diseases. What should I do to help this bee?

    I'm very concerned.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mina

    1. I would try not to be too concerned about it (simply making sure to use sugar water for helping future bees in distress). It would really depend a great deal on the honey too, in terms of the likelihood of any possible bee disease transmission. My intuition is that if it's a more standard, ultra-filtered honey, it's less likely to cause an issue than an unfiltered, raw honey (mainly owing to the heat treatment of more processed honeys). Honey is also probably more likely to cause potential issues for honey bees, rather than mason bees, but I'm not certain on this point. In any case, there's no undoing it, and it certainly would have provided energy to your bee, so that's a plus.

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  150. Okay so I have a mammoth sunflowers outside my apartment. They get a lot of good sun but it’s starting to get colder because it’s fall I live in Pittsburgh. Anyhow I noticed this one particular bee has literally not moved from this flower in three days he’s moving just a little bit (or she) so they are not dead but like I don’t know if it got cold or wet or something because it has been raining a lot but like I need to save it LOL and I’m not sure the best way to do it. I noticed because the nights are going down to like 50° It seems to be moving but just barely and hasnt left that flower in days. there’s also this other one that looks like a queen it’s so big that also is now doing the same thing- its acting slow and hasnt moved since yestwrday around 3 pm- like it’s like really looks like it’s kind of frozen this morning like it doesn’t really move even and I can touch it and it doesn’t even really react.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chloe

    1. I'm assuming these are bumble bees? I wouldn't bee too concerned about either of the bees currently, though I do hope there are at least a few days of dryer, warmer weather coming up? Both spring and fall typically feature variable weather, and what happens is that when it is too cool (especially when it's also rainy), bumble bees tend to stay put, even if that means spending several days and nights out on the same flowers.

      Any queens out at this time of year are also new queens, having dispersed from their communal nests of summer, with plans to mate and then find a suitable place to hibernate overwinter. So it's unsurprising to find new queens out at night, having no place to call home as of yet. Male bumble bees also tend to spend nights out on flowers, awaiting new queens in the daytime.

      Bumble bees (especially queen bumble bees) also take more energy for liftoff than most bees, and that's another reason that on cooler, wetter days, you'll find the same bumble bees staying put. It's only a problem if, say, a bird spots them and nibbles them up while they can't move (since bees enter a state of torpor when cold), but most bumble bees manage to survive out each night, awaking to plentiful food each morning while spending their nights on flowers.

      So I'd keep an eye on both bees, and your upcoming weather forecast, but there's likely no need to intervene yet. In the event that no warmer, dryer weather is forecast for some time, you might try warming them up indoors in a ventilated enclosure, and offering sugar water. But that would only be something to do on a dryer day with temperatures closer to 60 F, around 10-11am or so, basically to give the bees energy to get going around when the day begins warming up... this can be especially helpful to young queens, as it'll give them a boost on a day that they might otherwise miss, to continue searching for the perfect place to hibernate.

      Queens are also building up stores of energy at this time of year, but it's best they get those from flower nectar rather than sugar water, for all the essential amino acids and other trace elements from which they benefit. Keep me updated if you'd like!

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  151. Thank you so much for this cool post.

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    Leave a Reply to Anderson

  152. I found a bee in my pool!! I believe it could have been in there for 10-15 minutes but got it out as soon as possible and warmed her up with my breath, she regained movement. I took her inside and placed her in a box as you suggested and attempted to feed her sugar water but I do not know if she is drinking it, she cannot balance either but still tries to move around. Her tongue is always sticking out and I (from what I have read) has been poisoned by the chemicals. I’m not an expert in bees nor insects but based off the situation, do you think she still has a chance? She has been inside for about 3 hours and hasn’t improved anymore since I brought her in… help!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mali

    1. It does take time for bees to recover, but she may sadly have been in your pool for too long. Bees breathe along the sides of their bodies, so being immersed in water is dangerous. I don't know if the pool has chemicals, but chlorine particularly wouldn't be kind to a bee, on top of almost drowning. Her tongue sticking out isn't necessarily a sign of poisoning, but it is something that you'll see when they're nearing their end. Other than warming her up, and putting drops of water near the tip of her extended tongue, there's little to do besides make her comfortable. I've seen many bees revive with time, warmth, and sugar-water, but it does depend how long she struggled in the water before you found her. If you don't already have a dish of fresh water with pebbles in it outdoors, you might try putting one out, with the hope of attracting thirsty bees to a safe drinking spot, instead of ending up in your pool accidentally.

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  153. I’m finding bee resin or spit or something on the mason bees tubes

    Looks like big bumblebee types spending hours on the outside of the filled tubes

    Just took the nest down and yes, this gelatinous substance all over,

    What is it and is it harmful?

    Thanks so much ….Connie

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