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!


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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?

I hope your bee is feeling better! If you're still concerned, drop your question here and I'll try to answer promptly (keep in mind I'm on the U.S. west coast, and sometimes I'm simply not around at the right time). The response to this page has been incredible, and I keep adding to this page based on hearing so many bee stories.

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1739 responses to “How to help revive a cold or wet bee

  1. I have a couple of questions:

    What should you do when you find a bee that needs help, but you don't have any sugar (that isn't brown/honey/other bad)?

    Is it okay to use icing sugar in the bee boost elixir? I'm guessing not because it contains corn starch, but is it?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Salt-filled-jars

    1. First off, icing sugar (aka powdered or confectioners sugar) isn't ideal for bees, owing to the 3% or so cornstarch mixed into it so it doesn't clump. The indigestible starch would give bees diarrhea.

      If you do find a bee that needs help, nectar is always a good solution if there are bee-friendly flowers nearby. I've gently transported bees (using a fallen leaf to carry them) onto nearby flowers in the sun. Simply placing a bee that needs help in the sun often helps too, by warming them up enough to fly. If you're gentle and unafraid of bees, they also often appreciate the warmth of our skin too.

      Ideally, find a cluster of bee-friendly flowers where you've seen similar bees, and place the bee gently on one of them. If the flowers are close enough together, a tired bee can walk (rather than fly) between the flowers, gaining energy from the nectar of each.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  2. Hi, Yesterday I found a Gold-tailed Melitta bee inside a Campanula persicifolia flower. It was all damp because we had some scattered showers. Our temperatures have been cool, around 50°F for the high. I expected the bee to be gone this morning but it was still there. We've had a steady rain all day and it hasn't gotten much warmer. The bee is still alive. I saw it move. I put an umbrella over the flowers so it doesn't get drenched. We've got more rain in the forecast tomorrow so I don't know if I should leave the bee in the flower or bring it inside. I don't have sugar to make sugar water with. But I don't know if the bee could survive another night outside damp and cold. We might be around 60°F tomorrow. I could just pick the flower and put it in a box. The umbrella is somewhat protecting it as long as we don't get any wind overnight. But if I bring the bee inside, it might be inside more than a day until the rain stops. Unsure what the best option would be.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to E.

    1. I have an update on the bee. Today was drier than yesterday but we still had scattered showers. Luckily the umbrella didn't blow away even when the breeze picked up a little this morning. I was concerned when I heard the wind and rain this morning but bee was still there. This afternoon I saw the bee had climbed up the stigma where it was still drying off but looking much better. I checked an hour later and the bee was gone. The sun is out now. It's still cool but hopefully the bee can make it home now or out doing being a happy bee. It was in the flower for almost 2 days.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to E.

      1. I apologize for replying late, I was traveling when you wrote. I'm happy your bee dried off and flew away happily! It can take bees several days to leave a flower sometimes, depending on the weather. I've seen some totally rain-drenched bees take several days to warm up and dry off (I've seen this after late summer rain showers, as well as after early spring showers).

        It was kind of you to put out an umbrella to speed up the drying process for your bee! They can't fly when they're drenched, and if there's no sun, it can take them a long time to dry. Bees can survive cold and damp nights, so long as no predator discovers them while they're unable to move. 60°F or so is fine for a bee, especially with intermittent sun, so long as they're not soaked!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  3. I found 3 bee hiding in my outside cat house. It’s cold and rainy today. They burrowed into a bed I have out there. They started to move around when I picked up the basket, I didn’t know they were there. I put it back in the cat house but it’s gonna be about 60° over the next few days. I live in an apartment so I don’t have any place to keep them. Should I call a wildlife place? I don’t want them to die

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Renee

    1. If you can leave them out there, that'd probably be best for them. 60° is already a pretty good temperature bee-wise, and it sounds like they were just temporarily sheltering in your cat house, probably waiting out the rain. They won't have any trouble finding their way home if they leave from the same spot, and I bet they'll head out once it's less rainy (even during a break in the rain)!

      Reply

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  4. While weeding today I noticed a small hole near where I was pulling some tree seedlings. I thought the hole was from one of the larger seedlings and I covered it. A bit later I noticed a honey bee foraging on the ground nearby where the hole was. Now I think I covered a nest/hive or maybe what was going to be one. Is there someway I can help this bee or should I leave her alone?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Nicks

    1. It wouldn't have been a honey bee's residence, as they nest in tree cavities or similar above-ground cavities (or beekeepers' bee boxes). Around 70% of bees are ground nesters though, so it could belong to a bee. In spring, I'd often see aggregations of holes in the ground that were abuzz with activity. Bees that nest in the ground tend to choose well-drained, sunny areas with little ground cover. There's a photo of a typical mining bee hole on this page if you scroll down a bit: https://savebees.org/habitat/homes/

      I think naturally these holes do get covered from time to time (leaves falling, other mammals' activities, etc.) So long as the other landmarks around the burrow are still recognizable, the bee whose burrow it is will simply uncover it. Avoiding covering holes that might belong to bees would be a way to help in the future (and planting pesticide-free, bee-friendly flowers)! Leaving areas of sunny soil with little ground cover is another way to help too.

      Reply

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  5. Today in my garden I was mesmerised by a bee stroking a flower in my garden, I have not seen this before, it was like he was penetrating the petal, not the pollen but just the petal with his front leg not antenna, he was gently stroking her. I also had a dream that night of a queen bee that caught fire of a red flame but the bee had a protective coating turning the flame blue, it reminded me of an alchemic process, and a transmutation.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lilly

    1. Bees certainly have a magic to them, I love watching them too! They have their own unique personalities, when one spends awhile with them. I wonder what bees dream of when they sleep? 🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  6. I saved a queen buff-tailed bumblebee a couple of weeks ago- she can’t fly and so I gave her some honey which she loved and helped her, although she still couldn’t fly.

    I decided to take her inside and I bought an insect enclosure that I have made into a home for her- I have been collecting flowers for her and even taking her outside to different flowers for her to get more nectar etc. this has all been going really well except today she isn’t good- her proboscis and tongue are permanently extended and she is moving incredibly slowly. I read online she could have been possibly poisoned? She is still alive but struggling. This has been going on for hours. I tried to give her a flower she likes but she couldn’t do anything with it and I gave her some sugar water which she drank a little of but she is still in the same way. I just wondered if you had any insight. I don’t really know what else to do for her and I don’t really know what’s going on. I am extremely sad by this as you can imagine, I am aware she will pass at some point but this seems very strange. Any advice or help would be very much appreciated. Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to bluebell Queen

    1. I think she's sadly near the end of her life now, from what you say. There are various reasons that bees may continue to keep their tongues out, one of them being acute pesticide poisoning, but that's not the only reason (and probably isn't in your case, as she's been doing well up until today, and I'm sure you've not exposed her to any poisons in the flowers you've offered). I've only ever witnessed the behavior when they're very near the ends of their lives, unfortunately.

      Bumble bees suffer from a variety of pathogens, one of the most common being internal parasites. One of the reasons that it's warned not to offer honey to bumble bees, is that occasionally this causes transmission of bee diseases (owing to the close kinship between honey bees and bumble bees). But this is only a chance, and one of many possible transmission routes. Bee pathogens are also spread between bees simply by visiting flowers. One of the reasons bumble bees have been known to self-medicate (by visiting nicotine flowers, surprisingly) is that it helps control these internal parasites, so that the bee may live longer.

      A queen bumble bee will also have strong instincts to establish a colony, and I'd imagine that having been unable to do so (having lost the ability to fly), this has had an impact on her well-being too. Research shows that bees experience emotions (of a bee kind), and yet there is no way for her to establish a colony without the ability to fly, which must feel unnatural to her.

      She should naturally have a longer possible lifespan (through the end of summer), but she may also have suffered some other unseen injuries from whatever event it was that took away her ability to fly.

      All of this is speculation on my part, as there is no way to know for sure what is ailing her. I think you've made her last days far more comfortable than they would have been otherwise (a large bee that can't fly is easy prey, and it's also hard for them to manage to get enough nectar to avoid starvation, when they can only walk). I know it's hard to witness these final moments, but you've certainly done a great deal for her, and it's lovely that she's spent time outdoors too, visiting flowers, with your help. I think you've helped her as much as you possibly could 💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you Elise for your support and message and such kind words. I have really grown attracted to her- she’s so lovely and I feel so privileged to have had this relationship with her. It’s extremely sad to watch her. I have been offering her sugar water occasionally to see if she can get her strength back as I read online that this could help if she has been poisoned. She is still hanging in there bless her. Thank you for this incredible page and your information as well. Bees are so precious and beautiful.

        Thank you again x

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Queen Bluebell

        1. That was supposed to say attached not attracted

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Bluebell Queen

  7. I found a bee drowning in a cold cup of mint tea yesterday, I put him outside on a paper towel with some forget me nots and the few other plants in my garden, it was raining so I put a cover over where he is on the table to allow him to dry off, he is not trapped at all and can fly away at any point. Well he's still there today, he's dry now and still seems to be eating from the flowers I've pprovided. He's climbing over the stuff I've left there and seems to be able to move fine. But it's been 24 hours and he's not flown away? I'm not sure what else I can do for him. I didn't intend on adopting a pet bee 😅 but he doesn't seem to want to go anywhere. I've seen him flex his wings a little bit but no attempts to fly that I've seen.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hannah

    1. Has it been cold-ish as well as rainy? That's most likely to be the reason your bee is taking time to leave, because bees don't easily fly when they're cold, even when they're still able to walk around. Once there's direct sunlight again (in which to bask), your bee should warm up enough to fly off. In the meantime, it's good that you've provided shelter from the rain, so that your bee can dry off fully! They don't fly well in the rain (though they can handle a little light rain), so I'm thinking your bee is simply biding his or her time before venturing away from the nice dry shelter you've provided.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for the reply! It's been really heavy rain and pretty cold we arnt due sun for a another couple of days. He's a HUGE bumble bee, if he doesn't move today should I bring him in over night? Rather then leaving him in the cold again?Poor little buddy must need alot of energy to fly he does look much brighter and fluffy today.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Hannah

        1. I'm wondering if you have a queen bumble bee, given the size! It won't hurt for your bee to get cold, so long as they're not out in the rain. If you were to bring your bee indoors, I'd definitely advise keeping the enclosure in a cool area close to the outdoor temperature, so as not to confuse the bee into thinking it's getting warmer, and that it's time to try to fly off. So long as your bee seems content, I think the spot you have currently that's sheltered is a good one. Naturally, your bee would seek shelter from the rain under leaves or flowers, but they often still get wet that way, whereas it sounds like it's easy to stay nice and dry with your setup! I wouldn't expect your bee to try to leave before the weather improves though. And even once it does improve, it may take several hours of basking in direct sunlight before being ready to fly! Placing your bee gently on nearby bee-friendly flowers may help on that day (so long as they're in direct sunlight), because the energy from the nectar will help to get going again as well. While your bee is still with you, I'd continue to provide fresh flowers from time to time (if these are cut, since they don't keep their nectar forever) or if you have one, a potted bee-friendly flowering plant is another option to put within reach!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. They flew away! Just went out there to check again and it's flown off, we had a couple off dry hours and it was a bit warmer so I think he or she took the chance to get home. It's one of the biggest bees I've ever seen so I'm really glad I managed to help, thank you for the advise 🙏

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Hannah

  8. Hey! I live in Utah. I found a great northern bee in my house. I attempted to nurture it back to health by placing it in a small cardboard container with a honey water saturated cotton ball under a small lavender tree outside. It has been crawling around for 1 and 1/2 days now but won’t fly away. What else can I do to save it if anything? Thank you!!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Syd

    1. Have you tried moving it to a spot in direct sunlight? Warmth often gets bees going again! Does it appear to be injured in any way?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  9. Hi Elise! I'm arrianna, I'm 31 years old and I live in a small suburb town in Utah. I was coming home early yesterday morning, we just had a cold freeze come thru for a few days, and I noticed a lethargic bee on our porch. I remembered seeing a video on tiktok last year of a girl who found a dying bee, revived her with sugar water, and the bee stuck around until it ended its life cycle. Anyways, I decided to make a habitat In a clear Tupperware and I made a sugar water mix and put it on a clean sponge. The bee instantly perked right up! But the weather is still yucky, and I am nervous to let her go too soon. I compared our bee to your pictures, and I believe we have a queen! I don't want to release her too soon, just to have the same thing happen, but I also don't want to keep her too long that she also dies. What should I do? She is buzzing, trying to climb up the side of the Tupperware. I think she wants to go, should I trust her survival instincts and release her? Also, i have been able to texh my 6 year old son about bees this way and how to help a sick bee in the future! Its been a great experience, but i dont want to hurt the bee in any way. Please help! Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Arrianna

    1. I am so sorry I wasn't able to answer your question in time (I've been away traveling). In the future, if there's a cold snap over a few days, you can place your bee's container in a cool area (such as an unheated garage or outdoor building) so that they're not warm enough to expend energy trying to fly. Then put your bee out in the sunlight (in a now-open container) on the first day of better weather (note that it may take bees a couple hours to warm up in the sun enough to fly off; they often spend this time grooming).

      That said, queen bumble bees are resilient and accustomed to weathering cold snaps after emerging from hibernation. They often shelter inside closed flowers or under bark or leaves, although when they're cold, they can't really move much. So if you let her go, she should have found her way to some shelter outdoors too!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  10. Are you crazy? Carpenter bees are drilling holes everywhere and they need to die. Honey bees need to live, and thrive!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jim

  11. My Daughter found a bumblebee on the floor on Wednesday evening. It climbed onto her and she brought it home and we gave it sugar water which it drank. It didn’t fly off after even being in the garden for an hour. We kept it in a safe place overnight with some bee friendly flowers and in the morning we let it in the garden but it still won’t fly. It took more sugar water and it walks around and on my Daughter’s arm and myself but won’t fly away. We still have it currently and don’t know what to do. It does wiggle its bum and clean itself with its back legs I think? Do we just leave it outside and let it crawl off? My Daughter is worried it will get hurt. Also, its wings don’t look ragged but I’m not sure. Any advice welcome. Thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hobbitgirl

    1. I really apologize for replying so late that I was not able to have helped (I've been away traveling for some time). I hope your bee was able to fly off in the end. They often need a good few hours of sunlight when they're cold, before they're able to fly off. Wiggling bums and cleaning beehaviors are all good signs though!

      One thing to do in the future is to gently place or nudge the bee onto a bee-friendly flower (one that you've seen other, similar bees visiting) that's also in direct sunlight, and then either keep an eye on them for awhile, or check on them every half-hour or so. Unless there's something else amiss physically, they'll usually get more and more energetic, sipping at the flower and cleaning themselves, performing some "test buzzes" with their wings, before flying off.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  12. Hi

    I rescued a bumblebee two days ago. After a bit of research I think she has been poisoned as she is very wobbly on her feet and her tongue is constantly out. I’ve tried giving her sugar water and I’m not sure if she is taking it? She has not died yet. I’m not sure what else I can do? She is in a shoe box and I keep replacing bee friendly flowers for her. She had her head in one but, again I’m not sure if she can eat?

    Can you help?

    Thanks

    Vicky

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Vicky

    1. I am so sorry I wasn't able to reply sooner (I've been away traveling). In cases like these, when bees have their tongues out constantly, they're sadly almost always very near the end of their lives. It is kind of you to have tried to help her, and to have given her safe shelter at such a time.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  13. I found a bee at around 6 pm pacific time. It's a cloudy day with no sunshine. It was drowning in my pool, and I took it out using a net. I placed it outside on the concrete, and it was moving around. I thought it would recover but it didn't, so I moved it onto a flower (a rose). It seemed like it was drinking the nectar, but beecause of its angle I couldn't see its tongue out. Now its 8:30 pm, completely dark out, and lightly raining. The bee is not moving on its flower except for small, occasional stirrings in its antennae. I used rose petals and covered it a little, so that the rain wasn't falling on it. I think it's sleeping, but it's going to have a low temp of 44 degrees Farenheit (6.6 degrees Celsius) and I don't know if it's going to bee okay. Will the bee survive a lightly rainy night at 44 degrees mostly covered but with no real shelter??

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sally Geske

    1. I apologize for replying so late (I've been away traveling). It is very kind of you to have replied to a few other peoples' bee questions here, when you wrote.

      Your bee should have been just fine out overnight at 44 degrees, especially partially covered by petals. When bees get cold, they enter a state of torpor, so they don't lose much energy, but they can't react or move much either. An hour or two in the sunlight on a following day almost always gets them moving again, unless there's something else amiss with them physically.

      As for light rain, bees can get quite wet, and still be alright (so long as they're not immersed in water for long, that is). It just takes them a little longer on the next sunny day, in order to dry themselves fully before they're able to fly again. I know you found your bee in the pool. Sometimes, if bees spend too long immersed in water, they sadly do not recover, but I hope your bee made a full recovery.

      I'm guessing you checked on your bee the following day? They're usually in exactly the same spot as the night before, in such cases. Hopefully you had some sunshine in the following days for your bee!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  14. Hi there,

    Whilst out running the other day I noticed a bee on the pavement who was moving very slowly so I stopped and I managed to get the bee onto a leaf and transported her home safely. She is very slow and sluggish and has been residing in my hamsters old plastic hideaway in my garden where she can leave if she wants to. It has been three days now and there’s very little improvement. I have tried sugar water but she hasn’t had any and I am not sure what to do. Any help is very much appreciated! Best wishes, Lottie

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lottie

    1. I literally am in the same boat. I found a bumble that shivered, then virtually stopped moving. He has spent the night in the house in a box as it got cold last night. I am debating putting out this am in the sun in the box with some sugar water.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Tanya Michelle

      1. I think you should do just that. =) Good luck.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Sally Geske

  15. hello,

    My names Megan I was wondering if you could officer any advice?

    I took in a Bee 2 days ago and he’s been living in a shoe box in my utility room, I’ve given him sugar water, fresh water and a couple flowers each day (don’t worry I remove them after an hour so they don’t wilt in the box) .I also put him out in the sun each day for a few hours. He drinks and goes into the flower and seems to enjoy this but he can’t fly and one of his arms if stuck to his chest (broken?) I also find him on his back quite often. At this point is it too late for him? Or is there anything else I can do? Do I keep doing what I’m doing as I am making his death more comfortable or am I just prolonging his death?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Megan Storie

    1. I am sorry to be replying so late, after you reached out about your bee. It sounds as though you were definitely making your injured bee more comfortable with everything you did. An injured bee, particularly one that's unable to fly, is easy prey (ants readily target such bees, even while the bees are still alive and struggling). You were very kind to help your bee enjoy sunlight and flowers each day, even while there was no way to resume a normal bee life. I've so often wished there was a way to restore their wings (they can live without one or even several legs, but not so easily if it's a hind leg). It's so kind of you to have cared so much about your bee 💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  16. I found a queen bumblebee on my porch. After 9 hours of care protected in my greenhouse with a warm grow lamp, sugar water and flowers she remains wet and uncoordinated. Is she dying? What can I do to help her feel better? I’m really worried.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Beth

    1. I realize my reply is far too late to be helpful (I've been away traveling for quite some time), but for any future bees in similar situations, I'd continue to have done what you were doing. Time often helps in such situations, especially when a bee is soaked through to such an extent that it's taking many hours to dry. Sadly, there are times when they've been soaked and hungry for too long before they're found, leading to exhaustion, but I hope your bee recovered with continued warmth and time. It was very kind of you to care so much for your bee 💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Unfortunately we lost our Queen Bumble after 24 hours of around the clock care. She was too far gone when we found her, but we sure tried! My 9 year old daughter and I had a lovely memorial and buried her in our fairy memory garden. Thanks to your website and the things I read here, we’ve since rehabbed 4 other struggling bumblebees though, who we think came to us because they saw how much care and love we poured into our Queen Bumble! I’m so appreciative of your website and expertise and appreciate the response even though it was too late for our first bumble! It really inspired my daughter in particular who was terrified of bees to see that they won’t harm her! 🐝

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Beth

        1. That is so lovely to hear of your four bumble bees since then, and of your daughter's feeling about bees now, after initially fearing them! There is something so special about connecting closely with bees and being able to help them when they're struggling. It is wonderful to hear stories like this from those who care about bees so much too! The more bees we have, the better the world will bee, and I'm so happy to hear that there are four other bumbles in this world thanks to you both 💛🐝

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  17. I found what I think was a female Field Cuckoo bee in my garden two days ago. It was a wet day and there are few flowers about yet so I popped it in a plant pot overnight under some trees out of the rain. Unfortunately, it rained all night and next day the bee was not moving so I brought it inside, gave sugar water which it drank and kept it in a shoe box in the garage with greenery and a couple of crocuses. The bee took more sugar water and started moving about so I opened the lid and put some clear bubble wrap over the box (with holes in) and kept garage light on as it’s quite dark in there. I closed the lid at night and the bee was still alive this morning but seemed more sluggish so I offered more sugar water and eventually brought the shoe box inside and put it under my desk lamp while I worked. (Not too close, though) The bee then started moving about and seemed to be trying to dry its legs and wings, and then started to buzz its wings so I was really hopeful it would survive. I had decided to keep it in the kitchen overnight tonight but when I opened the lid to check on it just now the bee wasn’t moving and I think she has sadly died. I wish this story had a happier ending… could I have done anything else?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gill

    1. I am so sorry not to have replied in any kind of timely manner (I've been traveling for an extended period of time). I'm guessing yours was a queen bumble bee (by the time of year)? Queen bumbles can withstand intermittent rain and chilly temperatures pretty well by hiding out under leaves or flowers to try to wait out inclement weather. But they're at the whim of the elements and predators when they're unable to move much, so it can be helpful to house them briefly during cold and wet snaps of weather.

      I'm guessing you had a run of wet, cold days, which made it hard to find any good day to release your bee? The night that your bee was not moving much may possibly have been owing to it being cooler at night in the kitchen, since they are naturally more energized when warm, and more likely to be inactive as temperatures fall. Even when bees are hardly moving, it doesn't mean they're necessarily dying (it usually means they're just feeling cold). On the other hand, it may also have been an indication that your bee was no longer doing well indoors or in an enclosure.

      It's hard to say quite what to do in the future, as each bee and every situation is a little different, but it's good to continue to keep your bee's enclosure area as close as possible to natural outdoor temperatures (minus the rain). That way your bee doesn't warm up and hope to go out, before it's a good time to do so weather-wise (and they don't need much food when they're hardly moving). It's good for them to enter the state of torpor that they'd naturally enter if they were outdoors (just safe from rain and predators). Once the weather improves, you could then warm them up indoors before opening their enclosure, ideally placed in direct sunlight and near to bee-friendly flowers.

      It is very kind of you to have cared so much for your bee, and to have reached out to see if there was more you could have done 💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you, Elise. If I find another bee, I’ll follow your advice more closely. 😊

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Gill

    2. I'm sorry your bee died. It is always a painful thing, when a living being you tried your best to help dies. I am not a bee expert, but when she started buzzing, maybe she wanted to go outside? Depending on the time of day, perhaphs it would have been good to release her. I am not sure though, as I said I don't know much about bees.

      Please don't beat yourself up about her, too. You tried your best, and sometimes we don't always succeed. It won't change anything. Thank you for trying to save her, that is an extrodinarily kind act and it made the world a better place. I wish you the best.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Sally Geske

  18. Hi,

    I found a curled up bee and I made it sugar water but it is now really covered In the sugar water. I’m not sure what to do?

    I ended up setting the bee on a flower in a plate and there were 2 bees that kind of started to fly around its area.

    Thank you in advance,

    Krista

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Krista

    1. I am sorry for my late reply, too late to do much good other than for future similar situations. It's kind of you to have tried to help your bee at the time. A curled up bee may likely be nearing the end of its life, but if a bee is energized enough, it can clean itself off pretty well. Ideally it's good only to place a tiny drop of sugar-water in front of your bee, so that they don't end up so sticky. If the two other bees nearby were of the same kind (especially if these were honey bees), then they would probably have aided the first bee by cleaning it (particularly if it was a nest-mate). I hope that was the case!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  19. Hi Elise, Saturday (today is Tuesday) I found a big bumblebee (probably a queen) on the pavement. She was not moving and I thought she was dead. After picking her up I saw she was still alive and I put her in a flower and gave her some sugar water, which she drank. I waited for a while for her to regain her strength and fly away, but unfortunately she didn’t. I brought her home with me and put her in a box without a lit with the flower I put her in and some grass and sugar water, on the balcony.

    It was quite cold in the weekend (even snowed), but she was still alive but moving very little. I checked up on her everyday and gave her fresh flowers but she never moved a lot.

    3 days forward, she’s still alive to my surprise and I gave her some fresh sugar water and just normal water (she was thirsty!). She didn’t seem able to walk much and wasn’t really moving. I went to research more on how to help her and stumbled across your website. After reading the advice, I brought her inside to warm up. She started vibrating and after that she started to walk around a bit. She became a lot more active! That made me very happy, but unfortunately I see that her hind legs don’t work and seem paralysed. She’s walking by dragging her body forward with her four front legs. Also one side of her wings seems to be sitting different from the other one (which was like this when I found her). She doesn’t want any sugar water since I brought her inside and she's napping every so often.

    I’m afraid her hind legs and wings wont get any better, but maybe she’s still just very exhausted. What advice would you give?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amy

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your bee, she does sound as though she's struggling. When bees are cold and exhausted, they do often have trouble moving as you've seen, but it's very worrying to hear that she's dragging her hind legs like that, as well as holding her wings differently on one side compared with the other.

      I really hope too that she improves as she warms up more, but I think you may well end up simply making her comfortable in her last days. I do think it's a very kind thing to do, to provide bees in such a condition with a safe place with plenty to eat and drink, since if they're out on their own, they're often found and torn apart while still alive by ants or birds.

      I'd be inclined to bring her some fresh flowers, perhaps dropping a few tiny drops of sugar water on those(since otherwise they lose their nectar soon after being cut). It might feel reassuring to her, to have something natural like that nearby, with all the smells.

      Do let me know if she improves at all, as it would be really good to know. Sometimes they can hold their wings strangely for awhile (in asymmetric fashion) and still be alright after warming up and cleaning themselves fully. But her hind legs are a particularly worrying sign (especially as she needs those to gather pollen to provision her nest, assuming she's a queen, which I'd guess she is given the time of year). I really do wish you both all the best 💛🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  20. I wondered if I could ask for some advice, we found a bumblebee outside earlier this evening, she was barely moving, we thought she was dead but her feet were slightly waving when I picked her up. We brought her inside as it was only a 4 degrees celcius outside. We gave her some sugar water but she still isn’t moving. I think she is still alive though. What should we do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Immie

    1. I’d give her time in the warmth to see if she revives. She may well just be very chilled, and so she may take several hours to warm up. Hopefully she’s at least on her feet (rather than on her side or worse)? Other than warming her up to make sure she’s alright, there’s nothing more to do besides keeping her overnight somewhere safe. Will your weather be improving over the next few days, and are there bee-friendly flowers nearby for her?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi, so unfortunately she didn’t make it to this morning. She was very cold and seemed to have some injuries on her. She was also laying on her back the whole time.

        But thanks very much for your help.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Immie

  21. Hello, we are in the UK and found a bumblebee this afternoon on the sidewalk. Took him home, offered some sugar water which wasn’t wanted. Left him in the garden for a bit to see if he’d recover but he was very still. As it got dark it started raining and getting cold so I’ve taken him inside now with some sugar water in a shoebox. The problem is, I live in a place that currently has a lot of construction and I don’t know where the last flowers i’ve seen are. I’ve got to leave tomorrow morning and can’t take him with me. The weather forecast says it will be 5 degrees celsius feeling like 0-1 degrees. I’m worried about what to do with him. He has perked up lots since coming into the warmth, but not sure what to do with him tomorrow. Grateful for any advice

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kendra

    1. I'm guessing you found a young queen, , as they're most likely to be around at this time of year, assuming she's a large-ish bumble bee? It's always tumultuous weather-wise in early spring, when these young bees are emerging from their winter hibernation.

      Assuming she's a freshly emerged queen bumble bee, she doesn't need to be released near where you found her. But she does need to be near flowers, or within flying distance of flowers. If she were on her own, she'd try to hunker down near some flowers, while waiting out any cold and rainy weather. Sometimes bumble bees shelter inside or under flowers, and sometimes under leaves nearby.

      If you can find any patch of flowers, that'd definitely give her the best chance. Even if you could take her just a little bit of the way with you, and drop her off where you see the first bee-friendly flowers? Maybe crocuses or winter honeysuckle might be around somewhere? If that isn't possible, I think my advice would be to warm her up indoors really well in the morning before you leave (putting her enclosure in a warm room, even near a heater so long as you keep a really close eye on her), and then offer her more sugar-water mix, so that she has some real warmth and energy built up to be able to fly some distance, in search of flowers herself.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you so much for your helpful advice! I went on a walk and it seems there’s almost nothing in bloom at the moment. There is a patch of daffodils on a wall by a restaurant that seems the safest/most protective option given it’s meant to rain lots and be cold tomorrow. But I did also find some rosemary outside someone’s home, but it’s quite a bit more exposed. I’m not sure what to do. If it doesn’t seem safe enough I’ll take her on a part of my train journey with me! Thanks again :)

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kendra

        1. Go with the rosemary over the daffodils for sure, even though the one is more exposed than the other! Rosemary is a great plant for bees, but daffodils (kind of surprisingly) offer little nectar at all these days, because of the selective breeding they’ve gone through for showiness. So long as she can hide amidst the rosemary sprigs or beneath leaves underneath the plant, she should be alright even in cold, rainy weather. Definitely the more sheltered the better, but rosemary is such a bumble bee favorite it may be her best bet. Bumble bees can get wet and be alright too, so long as they’re not immersed. It just takes them longer to get going afterwards, since they need to be able to dry off fully in the sun once it comes out again. I wish her and you all the best!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  22. Hello, I apologise, this may be a long question.

    I found a bumble bee yesterday on the pavement in my garden not moving. I gently nudged her to check if she was alive and she started moving so I offered some sugar water (which she didn’t take) and moved her under a flowery bush in my garden. I went back to check on her a few hours later and she still wasn’t moving so I decided to bring her indoors as it was cold and starting to rain. I put her in my conservatory and gave her some sugar water which she took that time and also a flower which she seemed to take the nectar from. Then she started buzzing and flying around my conservatory so I led her back outside to the same flowery bush but I think she may have used up all of her energy and just burrowed into a flower and stayed there. I thought I’d just leave her be as I thought she must be fine having been able to fly around but when I went back this morning, she was still there in the same position and it was raining quite badly again so I decided to bring her in in a shoe box with small holes at the top and some more sugar water again. It’s night time now so will be keeping her in over night but I think it will be quite cold and rainy for a couple of days atleast and temperatures will be dropping to 6 degrees Celsius on Friday according to the weather app. She seems to be fine when I bring her indoors and walks around the box fine and then goes still again when outside in the cold. Just wondering what I should do, when would be the best time to release her and what I can offer her in the meantime etc. Thank you very much for your help

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emily

    1. I apologize for my late response! How is your bee doing? All her behavior sounds normal for this time of year. I'd imagine that she was burrowing into a flower and staying put, as her way of sheltering from the elements. Though she's safer with you out of the rain, while she's so immobile! It's not surprising either that she buzzes about in a warmer conservatory, and walks around once she's warmer too. It sounds just too cold and rainy out right now, for her to do much other than attempt to shelter until it's warmer.

      Do you have any days closer to 12°C on your forecast? She'd be much more likely to get going on a sunny day with temperatures above 10°C. Ideally releasing her on a sunny, warmer day into the flowery bush she liked nearby would be good, so that she has time throughout that day to forage and begin to search for a place to start her colony (since I'm guessing she's a queen bumble bee freshly emerged from winter hibernation, given the time of year).

      While she's with you, I'd check on her from time to time, keeping her enclosure somewhere cool-ish so that she doesn't get expend energy thinking it's warm, when it's still cold out. Naturally, she'd be sheltering wherever she could find, but it is a risky time of year for queen bumble bees, and we need each and every one of them to have the best chances they can! It's very thoughtful of you to keep her safe until the weather improves, and she'll be just fine in an enclosure if you offer sugar-water from time to time in the day, and place some natural objects of interest in there too.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you very much for your help!

        I went back through some previous questions you helped with and have kept her in the shoe box with some greenery and have been giving her sugar water every so often as you suggest. She seems fine and is walking around the shoe box. The conservatory she is in is cool so I will keep her in there until the weather picks up. It says it’s still going to be quite cold for a few days and will pick back up again to 11°C on Tuesday with some sunny spells so planning on releasing her then.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

  23. Found a queen bee on my balcony not flying, at 2pm yesterday ( its now 7.11pm )I gave her sugar water to hydrate her. And bought her inside to try warm her up a bit . I put her back outside this morning and been keeping an eye on her, she's still moving, just about . But still not able to fly or move away . Its starting to rain and queen bee is currently in an open container with a cloth with sugar water and some greenery. Is there anything I can do to help her ? I'm putting a lot of trust In her as I'm actually allergic to bees and wasps but I know she needs help.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Leanne

    1. That's very kind of you to help her, even with a known allergy! Do you have any warmer weather coming up, closer to 12°C ideally (or above)? Given that she's a queen bumble bee, she'll need a good bit of energy and warmth to get flying again. It often takes them several hours of basking in direct sun rays (as well as drinking nectar) before they're able to fly. You'll know she's readying for it when she starts doing little "test buzzes" with her wings.

      When it's colder, they're often still able to forage (even if they're not warm or energized enough to fly) if they still can walk up and down flowers (early spring bulbs like crocuses are good for this). Do you have any good patches of early spring bee-friendly flowers in the area? Since she's a queen bumble bee, you could also take her in a covered container somewhere, and release her into a patch of nice flowers (winter honeysuckle is another one that might be around).

      Since it's late where you are right now though (and raining), I'm sure she'll be staying put tonight. Do you have warmer, dryer weather on the way? If you get some good bursts of warmth, then putting her out in the direct sunlight on such a day might be enough for her to get going again from your balcony. She just needs to be nice and warm, as well as energized (which the sugar-water will do)!

      Oh, and by the way, it's definitely unlikely for her to feel any threat from you, but if she does, she'll raise her middle leg, as a kind of warning that she feels uncomfortable (if she's really concerned and feels you're too close, she'll raise both middle legs). So long as you're not seeing that behavior, there shouldn't be anything to worry about from her. When cold, they're quite incapable too.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  24. I'm so happy to have found your site! We had a 50 degree day today and I found a bee staggering on our driveway. He fell over a couple of times and looked completely un-beelike. I carefully moved him to a warmer spot in the sun and he stayed there past the sun going away, not moving. I offered some sugar water and he drank it (which was amazing). I have fed him 3 times so far and he has not gone anywhere. The sun will be going down soon and so I've put him in a shoebox with some dried leaves, covered but with an airhole, and he is on our 3 season porch. We are supposed to have rain and snow tomorrow (Wed.) and then temps in the 20s and wind on Thursday. If he makes it through tonight how should I consider the upcoming weather and temps to release him?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mrs. Bun

    1. How is your bee this morning? I apologize for replying a day late, I hope all is well there!

      It sounds from your weather forecast that you'll have a bee guest for a few days at least. If the weather forecast I'm looking at here proves to be close to what happens, then I think your best bet is to keep your bee safe probably even through Saturday. They don't do well in high winds, nor are they able to move around once temperatures drop below 50 or so (though if they're basking in direct sun, they can walk around a bit clumsily closer to 50F; typically they're not able to fly in the low 50s, becoming able to fly in the mid 50s if there's also enough sunlight).

      Keep checking in on your bee from time to time! So long as the shoe box is in a coolish spot, your bee is probably not going to be doing a great deal other than quietly sitting and waiting for warmer weather. They're accustomed to variable weather at this time of year, but unseasonably warm weather confuses them, causing them to emerge too early, before there are enough flowers around.

      Is your bee a large fluffy bumble bee, by chance? I ask because it's common in early spring for young queen bumble bees to be emerging from their winter hibernation. They take their cues from the warmth of the soil, but sometimes that can cause young bees to emerge far too early (heavy rain, high winds, and below freezing temperatures are all dangerous for bees). It's a good thing you found your bee when you did! Oh, and it's not surprising at all that your bee didn't leave, even after being placed in the sun. That's probably owing to not being warm enough, and maybe also exhausted, possibly not having found much (or any?) nectar.

      Let me know how your bee is doing today! Not moving is normal enough. Especially if it's a large fluffy queen bumble bee, she'll be able to walk and clean herself long before she's able to try to fly. Large bees need to be pretty warm and energized to gain lift-off!

      I know Sunday sounds like quite some time from now, but your shoebox is a safer place for a bee to wait out the weather than anywhere else outdoors right now. When they're really cold, they can't move even to defend themselves, or to get out of a sudden deluge of rain. They'll try to shelter outdoors, but it's much safer for your bee to be somewhere frost-free and predator-free right now! They do quite well in boxes too, waiting out the weather.

      My only concern is looking further along in your weather forecast. Are there any early spring flowers in your area yet? Naturally, they'd shelter in or near a patch of early spring flowers, either hiding inside the flowers themselves (when flowers close around them protectively, like crocuses), or hiding beneath leaves or pieces of wood or similar near a patch of flowers. It's hard for them to find a good spot like that when the weather is shifting so much though, since it needs to be frost-free and safe from rain, while also warming up once the sun hits it, so they can move again. Perhaps you know of a likely spot?

      Oh, and if yours is a large bumble bee, there's no need to release her near where you found her, because she won't yet have established another home, and she'll do best in a flower-rich area (bumble bee queens first spend time foraging to top up their energy after their winter hibernation, before starting to scout around for abandoned rodent holes or similar tunnels in the ground, which they then turn into a home for their new colony for the season).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Oh, Elise, he was doing so much better last night when I gave him his sugar water at dinner! Then only an hour later he got out through one of the airholes in the shoebox and was flying around the enclosed porch bonking into the windows. He ended up on the floor barely moving. I put him back in the box and kept him warm but he curled up on his side and only waved a couple of legs for a bit...then no more. :( He was not a big fuzzy bee, to answer your question. I am very sorry he didn't make it - if I have another bee to care for I will be sure the air holes are smaller. Thank you for all your help. You have a great site!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Mrs. Bun

  25. In this warm up period in Feb, seems likely some bees will re-emerge. There are NO flowers blooming (or, none I can see), so should I put sugar water (1:1) out in a dish in the garden? Woujd that e helpful, or is that unnecessary? 🤔

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Leslie

    1. It's a good thought, but I'm leaning towards it being unnecessary, unless you see bees reemerging there and searching for flowers, with nothing at all available in the area for them. Flowers are always better for bees than sugar-water, because flowers have various amino acids and such in their nectar that is beneficial for bees. Sugar-water is good for emergencies, but like any creature, sometimes bees will prefer easier sources (like a dish of sugar-water) when they'd be better off (healthier) foraging from flowers.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  26. Hi ! I found a bumble bee this morning on the path and brought her home (assuming it’s a her). When offering some sugar water on a spoon I accidentally got some on her wings and I feel dreadful. She’s moving along now though which she wasn’t doing 4 hours ago. What do I do now ? It’s 8°c here in the U.K. and very windy.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gina

    1. It'd be a female bumble bee at this time of year for sure, and if it's a large-ish bumble bee, then she'll be a queen (which would also be most likely at this time of year, since bumble bee queens emerge from their winter hibernation around now, foraging for themselves until they start new colonies).

      Did she try to clean off the sugar-water on her wings? Did they stick together at all that you saw, or was it only a little sugar-water? So long as she has enough energy, she'll be able to clean herself off just fine. Occasionally, if it looks as though the sugar-water is drying (or has already dried) and might cause her wings to stick together (since bees have four wings, a pair on each side), it can be helpful to drop a very small amount of slightly-cooler-than-lukewarm water on the spot, in order to dissolve the sugars. But I'd tend to recommend against this unless it really seems necessary, since bees don't like getting wet! It has worked for a few folks with sticky bees though.

      It's possible that you may find it a little hard to tell if her wings are sticking together or not, if she's not attempting to fly. You might still be able to tell by closely observing her as she moves around though, since they do flex and move their wings at times naturally.

      Is your weather going to improve any day soon, and are there flowers emerging yet (spring bulbs, perhaps) in your area? You can keep her safely for a few days there, just keep an eye on her behavior, and keep her enclosure somewhere relatively cool, so that she doesn't expend too much energy, nor get confused and think that it's time to fly when it's still so chilly and windy out.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  27. I rescued a queen Bufftail yesterday, it was on the ground whilst we were out on a walk, it was end of the day, cold and starting to rain. I picked her up and after searching around for an appropriate flower, I found nothing, it's obviously a little early for her. So I had to take her home. I think she took a little sugar water and became quite energetic, but then settled back down to sleep in my hand. Popped her in a box overnight. This morning she was lively, took her out and showed her the sun, she was warming up and buzzing (I had offered her sugar water again, but she wouldn't take it) she took off, but just didn't have enough energy to go far. I have her back in her little box, sat on the edge in the sun in the kitchen. What should I do? There are just no flowers etc to offer her at the moment and she's not strong enough to fly. Thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sophie

    1. I have heard that bumble bee queens are emerging too early in areas of the UK this year, before there are any flowers for them. Usually their timing cues for emergence (warming soil being the main one) coincide better with the emergence of flowers.

      I'm not surprised that she has energy enough to fly in the warmth of the sun, but not sufficient energy to fly very far. Bumble bee queens often don't fly very far at this time of year. I've often seen them with enough energy to crawl and bumble around a patch of early spring bulbs, but not sufficient energy to fly any distance from the patch. Do you know of any places you might be able to find early spring bulbs (such as crocuses) that may be coming up soon?

      Queen bumbles can wait out cold, rainy weather, and often do at this time of year, however usually they're able to do so near a patch of flowers, retaining their energy by moving very little (hiding out under leaves or inside closed flowers) until the sun comes out and the flowers open, at which time they can begin foraging again. So she should be fine staying with you for a few days, if you keep her enclosure in a frost-free but fairly cool spot, which will naturally slow her down. As long as she's not using much energy, she'll be alright, even if she's not sipping much sugar-water mix (though I'd definitely still keep offering that while you have her).

      If you can find a spot to take her where there are early spring bulbs emerging, it'd be worth doing, but it sounds like those simply aren't available currently. In which case, keeping her with you would give her the best chances. Otherwise, if it's sunny, she'll expend energy outdoors, without finding any flowers to replenish her energy.

      I really hope there are bee-friendly flowers emerging soon for your bumble bee queen, and others like her emerging from their winter hibernation! Given experiences with other bumble bee queens housed at this time of year with folks, she should be fine even for a couple of weeks with you, but she'll be eager to be out foraging if it's sunny. I would watch her behavior closely, keeping her cold at night, and slightly warmer during the day (to where she can crawl about a bit, ideally drinking a little sugar-water to ensure she's not hungry).

      I'd release her as soon as there's a sunny day that's above 12C or so, as well as bee-appropriate flowers available (even if it's some distance from where you originally found her, since having recently emerged and into an area without flowers, she will not yet have begun the work of establishing her colony).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for your reply. I will keep a close eye on her and take it day by day. The weather has closed in again this evening and it doesn't look good for the next week, but things may change.

        Thank you so much for your advice. I will give you an update when I release her. 🙂

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Sophie Holden

  28. I have a bee on my daffodils and he's been there for 3 days. Is he dead? I move the flower and he doesn't move

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tina

    1. Daffodils don't tend to be attractive to pollinators, owing to the amount of selective breeding that's been done with these flowers (highly ornamental flowers often lose other characteristics, such as plentiful pollen and nectar, so become far less attractive to bees). Then again, you have a been on your daffodils, so clearly the bee thought it a possible food source, but it's unusual to see them there (though they adore other early spring bulbs like crocuses),

      If it's very cold, your bee may appear dead even when you move the flower, but still be alive. Is it a large fluffy bumble bee, by chance? I ask because it's around the time that queen bumble bees may be emerging from their hibernation in your state. They often spend days barely moving, waiting out the cold weather (and rain), until the sun shines on them and gets them moving again.

      If you happen to have other more bee-friendly flowers nearby (such as crocuses), it might be worth gently relocating your bee. But if the sun will shine on her, and if she's still clinging to her flower right now, she's probably fine where she's at until the next sunny day.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  29. Yesterday late afternoon I found a bumble bee on my drive. It had been raining so ground was wet. It’s 13 degrees here (day time).

    I moved the bee into a paper bowl overnight, gave it some sugar water and I’m delighted to have found it alive this morning!

    The bee is now trying to fly a little so I guess I should move it outside but it’s still wet and there really aren’t many flowers around for it to reach any pollen.

    My question is, should I still place it outside or keep it safe for a few more days (with sugar water)?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Joanne

    1. Is your bee a large fluffy bumble bee? I'm guessing so, since this is the time of year for bumble bee queens to be emerging from their winter hibernation. These queens can tolerate colder temperatures than one would think, and at 13C they should be able to move about a bit, if not fly, when the sun is shining on them directly.

      Though with few flowers about, that can be problematic. Bumble bee queens do well foraging on early spring bulbs (such as crocuses) at this time of year, since they can clamber up and down them, rather than needing to fly between them. Crocuses also close up when the sun isn't shining on them, giving such bees a protective overnight shelter in which to avoid rain.

      Bumble bee queens also have an additional trick for warming up, whereby they decouple their wings from their flight muscles, and then "shiver" in order to generate heat.

      I'm thinking you may still have her with you (I realize I'm writing later, since I'm in a different timezone), and it certainly won't hurt to keep her for another day or more, if the weather continues to be rainy rathe than sunny. If you do keep her, make sure to keep her in a relatively cool (but frost-free) area, so that she doesn't get frustrated, thinking she might be able to fly off.

      If I'm right in guessing she's a large bumble bee queen, then the location to which you return her does not need to be the one in which you found her. If you know of some patches of early spring flowers that are bee-friendly (ideally where you see other bees foraging), you might release her there instead, ideally on a sunny day after she's nicely warmed up from being with you.

      If you have any more questions, let me know! Feel free to attach photos or videos by replying directly to the email from my website.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  30. I have a carpenter bee my husband rescued and being on the East Coast, he/she was cold. I have it by a sunny window and I gave it sugar water. It's alive and energetic. what else can I do for it in this bitter winter?

    Adel

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Adel

    1. I am so sorry that I was unable to answer your bee question in a timely manner (I've been traveling off-grid).

      It's very kind of you to have taken in your carpenter bee, and if something similar happens in the future, I think the only thing to be done is to release your bee once it's fed, warm and energized (ideally on a day that's sunny, even if bitterly cold), so that it can find its way back to wherever it was overwintering. Carpenter bees overwinter in the nest tunnels that their mothers built, often keeping warm nestled together with their siblings.

      It'd be very difficult to know where the right nesting tunnel is though, in order to release your bee at the right entrance. That's why I think that warming your bee up and releasing it on a sunny day near where it was found, would give it the best possible chances.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  31. I found a lethargic bumble bee while taking down my seasonal gazebo. I brought the bee into my heated garage to warm up. Where can I safely put this bee for the winter?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Melissa Hollings

    1. I am so sorry that I was unable to answer your bee question in a timely manner (I've been traveling off-grid).

      It's very kind of you to have cared about your bee. For the future, if you find a lethargic bee in early winter, I'd advise releasing it on the sunniest of days that week, ideally after warming it up and offering a sugar-water solution, to give it its best chances.

      If it's a rather small bumble bee at that time of year, unfortunately they don't last through the winter (only the queens hibernate, awaking in spring to start new bumble bee colonies).

      If it's a large bumble bee at that time of year, it might well be a queen, who'll be searching for a spot underground in which to hibernate safely for the winter. Much as we know a fair amount about the spots they tend to choose, individual queens always insist on choosing these spots for themselves, so it's impossible to place her where she needs to be. Instead, giving her a boost of warmth and food is all we can do, before letting her take her chances.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  32. I recently saved a cold bee from some hail here in NM and I have released it. However, the bee just keeps walking around in circles without trying to fly at all. Should I be worrying about this?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bob

    1. I am so sorry that I was unable to answer your bee question in a timely manner (I've been traveling off-grid).

      For the future, I'd say that a bee walking around in circles is a worrying sign. If they circle in ever-larger loops once they're flying, that's normal though; it's their way of locating themselves based on remembered landmarks. But if they're just walking in circles repeatedly, I'm sad to say it tends to be a sign of acute pesticide poisoning, in my experience. Occasionally they can still recover with time, but it's usually a sign of some neurological damage, impairing their otherwise excellent abilities to find their way back home.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  33. How can I save a really cold bee that is shaking

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Luke

    1. I am so sorry that I was unable to answer your bee question in a timely manner (I've been traveling off-grid).

      For the future, it's not necessarily a worry to see a bee "shaking"... if it's a fluffy bumble bee, it's actually their way of warming up. They have a little trick whereby they decouple their wings from their flight muscles, then vibrate their muscles to warm up. To us, it looks like a strangely shivering bee! For them, it can warm them up just enough to be able to get going again on a cold day.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  34. Hello! Yesterday I found a bee in the front garden upside down and completely soaked. I brought him/her in and put in a box. After a few hours she started moving around and trying to get out the lid and was much dryer. The sun came out so I popped her in the flower bed but stil with sugar water a rose.

    It rained again later and I went back out, she was back on her back. She’s been back inside in a bowl (lined with tissue to help dry, some flowers, leaves and thick sugar water) with a sieve on top (I have a cat!).

    There’s been minimal movement since she came back in, the odd leg raise and some twitching here and there but not the walking around she was doing originally. She’s fallen on her back and face quite a few times too.

    She does seem quite bit so I’m inclined to say she’s a queen but could possibly be a worker getting to the end of his life?

    The weather looks pretty rubbish the next few days (I’m in northern England) so unsure wether to keep her in or let her out to the flower bed

    Thanks!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lee

    1. I am so sorry that I was unable to answer your bee question in a timely manner (I've been traveling off-grid for quite awhile).

      For the future, I'd suggest that for a bee that ended up less energetic when re-found, having not flown off after being released earlier, it'd be best to keep your bee indoors until a sunny (even if still cold) day with no threat of rain, releasing her after first warming her up well and offering more sugar-water solution.

      Unfortunately the behavior you described (especially the repeated falling) may well have been indicative of a bee nearing the end of their life. Especially if your bee was exhibiting this behavior after warming up indoors again, and having had some sugar-water.

      It's so kind of you to have cared about and helped your bee, even if she was near the end of her life. Late autumn, verging on early winter, is always a challenging time for bees (just as early spring, verging on still late winter, is similarly challenging). Any help one can offer them is always good at such times.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  35. Hi, I found a bee lying on my drive. I tried to give it sugar water and I went away and when i got back it was still there. It got dark and so I brought it in the house from other predators. The bee started to show signs it was walking. But it’s still not feeding or drinking. It keeps walking away from it. Once it’s away it just stands still. Is there anyway of saving my bee?

    It’s not moving it’s wings so I’m thinking may not be able to fly.

    So what shall I do?

    I hope you can help. My bee is just stood still.

    Thank you so much. I look forward hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely

    Sarah

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

  36. Have noticed a bumble be yesterday or even maybe a day before. I was surprise to still see it inside a empty plastic garden container from one of the plants I had bought in the spring. It is much colder here now. Last week we had a light snow fall which did not keep as there were still days of 7-8-10 and today just 4 degrees C. However, at night it is below 0, tonight -10C. I put sugar water in a empty cap but not drinking it. After I nudged her/him, it did buzz it's wings for few seconds. I don't know what to do. This is November 5 and the weather is not getting better. I will try to take in today in a box and remove from outside for tonight will freeze. HELP!!!!!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tania

  37. The weather here in TN has gone from 75° to around 40° in a matter of 48 hours. I found a bee right on our pathway leading to our front door…he was still alive, but barely. I scooped him up, brought him inside and set up a little sanctuary in a casserole dish. (Ventilated, of course.) I didn’t have time to look up proper ways to help a bee out, so I sliced a banana and gave him a small cap of water. When I got back home, I googled how to help a cold bee and stumbled upon this page. I gave him sugar water and he is lapping it up. It’s cool to watch him drink…I never knew they had such long straw-like tongues! I added some leaves and a piece of paper in case the glass from the casserole dish got too cold. I really hope he makes it through the night. it’s supposed to get up to 70° on Saturday, so I’ll take him outside then and see how he responds. If he’s not ready just yet, he’s more than welcome to stay as long as he likes. :)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gabby

  38. I found a bee in my garden 3 days ago its still there its very cold to touch can i put it under a uvb heat lamp on a very low temperature to help warm it up ?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jess

  39. Hello! Thank you for your site. I live in Nova Scotia Canada, right now our temperatures are becoming colder and as I write this, it’s snowing outside. The other day there was a little bumble bee in my porch inside my house. I was unsure if they were alive or not but upon taking a closer look I noticed small movements. Soon They were moving and crawling but not flying. They appeared at first to not be alive.I did offer sugar water but they would not drink it. I placed the bee in a small container with an open top and have kept them overnight now three days. Is it possible this bee is hibernating? If so what can I do to help?They are sitting upright and have not rolled to the side or on back. I am not noticing any movement. There was a point they were on their back struggling so I helped them turn the right side over. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mickie

  40. Hello,

    I rescued a very water logged bee from our pool. It looks to be a carpenter bee. I scooped her up on a leaf and set her in direct sun- very hot today-near 80 degrees. She was clinging to leaf and seemed to have a little life left. I googled, got this page, offered sugar water which she drank up a bunch. Definitely got her energy up- my pug looked close and she jumped and scared her away , lol. But now she’s trying to get moving and it appears that the bottom part of her body is separated largely from the top yellow striped area. Have no idea if that’s normal or if she is injured. It will only go down to 63 degrees tonight. I don’t have any blooming flowers but have mums potter from store outside. Should I set her there? I will try to send picture of her physical situation. She seems so ready to get up and go but her body isn’t letting her. I don’t know how to help. 😞

    (Not able to attach video or pic. I’m not sure how to on here.)

    Thank you- Julie

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jules

  41. Today I helped a waterlogged bumble bee with a little warmth and honey inside of a shallow ceramic pot to stop it wandering away before it was capable of flying off under it's own steam.

    It soon perked up and immediately flew away when back outside in the sunlight.

    My question:

    It secreted a clear liquid from it's back end prior to release.

    I was wondering whether this was sting venom as it may have aggrieved by the slippery pot, or simply excrement?

    Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tom

  42. I found a bee on my decking barely moving an hour later still there so I put it in a small box with leaves and sugar and water and tried to warm it up. It stayed overnight night next morning I put some flowers in seemed to be trying to climb the box so put in garden on a plant. Well it’s still there and I don’t know what to do.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Deborah

  43. I have numerous spring summer and fall flowers that pollinators love. I also have so many bees. Right now because flowers are becoming extremely limited because of the cold once again, the flowers will die and there will still be bees looking for flowers, Is there anything to feed them?

    Temps are now dropping to low 40s and lower next week

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mich

  44. Hi, it's early morning here and there has been a lot of rain fall the past few days. Just found a bee in my garden soaking wet and cold. It's still alive! Very sluggish at the moment but moving when I touch him. I have brought him inside in a ventilated box with some flowers and sugar water but he is still not moving. Will he be OK? Do I just leave him in the warm to dry up and get warm. Really want to give him a chance. He is a big chunky bumble and would be nice to try and help him. Thanx in advance.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Stacey

    1. If it’s an unusually large bumble bee, it’s likely (given the time of year) that she’s a young queen. Before winter, these queens individually dig small burrows in the soil in which to hibernate.

      I would let your bee dry off indoors and warm up, as you’re doing. I’m hoping you have some weather coming up above 12°C or so without rain? It can take quite awhile for a bumble bee to warm up enough to dry off completely, but while you’re not able to watch your bumble bee (at night), it’s good to keep your bee in a cooler area closer to outdoor temperature.

      So long as there’s a day with sun that’s above 10°C or so, she should be ready to go again once she’s dry! You can give her a boost by warming her up well indoors first on a good day to release her, and offering more sugar-water mix. Given that she’s such a large bee, don’t be surprised if she doesn’t fly off right away. Particularly because she may be investigating the ground too, for good spots to hibernate (they like nice, loose soil with a north-facing direction).

      Even though your bee has been so sluggish, you should see a marked improvement once warmed up and dry!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  45. Just rescued a bumble bee from my screen door. She is drinking sugar water from a soaked paper napkin in a ventilated enclosure (colander with a glass plate on top. It’s getting dark and I’m worried about releasing her. Temp is about 55 degrees. Should I keep her overnight?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lisa

    1. Yes, I’d keep her overnight in her enclosure, somewhere similarly cool to the outdoors, but safe for the night. Tomorrow looks like a warmer day there, even with cloud cover, so tomorrow morning, I’d warm her up well indoors first, and also offer her more sugar-water mix, and then put her enclosure outdoors (once it’s warmer out) without the plate on it, so that she can leave as soon as she feels ready to do so! That’s a great idea, a colander ☺️

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  46. Hello I have a little bee situation that I could use some help with. It just turned fall and the weather just started getting colder. And I was walking into my house. When I saw a little bee on my chair by my door and it looked. He was struggling to walk around moving very slow, not reacting to my attempt at communication lol. I figured the poor guy was getting cold and possible dying. so I put a jar down and he climbed right in. I brought him into the warm house so he could regain his strength I even put a little water in a bowl near him as if he were a pet haha. I had to go drop my car off at the shop so when I came home a half hour later he was flying around completely normal and seemingly happy. at that point i didn't know how to care for him so I figured his best chance was to go find his hive or a place to call home. I had no idea what kind of home to build him or anything so I left the door open giving him the option to leave and I think he did. if not or in the future is there anything specific I can do for them to help better? I've always loved bees and I'd like to teach my son how to properly care for a bee in need of help. I know we are losing bees and even in some cases eradicating them for "climate change" I don't wanna get into the politics I just know they need our help and I want to be able to do so. thank you for your time. -Cris

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Cris

    1. That’s wonderful to hear that you care so much about your bees, and teaching your son about caring them too! So to answer your question, it kind of depends on the bee. If it’s a slim bee that’s not too fluffy, it’s often a honey bee. If it’s a big fluffy bee, it’s often a bumble bee. Honey bees have a hive (with many thousands of bees) that they like to get back to each night. Bumble bees have places they go at night too (they have colonies number in the hundreds), but for them it depends on the time of year (and whether they’re male or female) where they might go. In late fall, you may find very large bumble bees, those are likely to be young queens, and they dig little holes in the soil to hibernate all winter long. You may also see smaller bumble bees staying out all night on flowers… those are males, and unfortunately they don’t make it past the end of fall 😔

      So if you find a bee that’s struggling, the first thing to try (especially if it’s still daytime with flowers out) is putting it on a flower where you see (or have seen) other similar bees. If you’re near home, offering a few tiny drops of a mix of 50/50 sugar/water is often a good idea, to give your bee a quick energy boost. And this advice works no matter what kind of bee it is!

      If it’s getting late, or cold (low 50s), or rainy, or dark, it can be nice to house them overnight, simply to protect them from predators, since a cold bee can’t move much (being cold-blooded), nor can they fly easily in the rain. Sometimes they “try their luck” with the weather though, and can definitely benefit from a helping hand if the weather changes unexpectedly! Keeping them in a ventilated enclosure overnight (at a cool temperature) works really well. In the morning, ideally when it’s sunnier and warmer, you can warm them up first indoors, offer more sugar-water, and then place their enclosure uncovered outdoors. Within minutes (or at most a couple hours, depending on the bee and the temperature), they’ll fly off! If it’s sunny, you can speed up the process by putting them directly in the sun, as they love to soak up its warmth while they’re waking up 🐝💛🌞

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  47. Hi, I have some cosmos annuals still looking fantastic. Everything else has died off. I'm noticing bumble bees still on them. The bees looked cold and lackluster today. I gave them drips of sugar water, which made them happy, and they began to move around. Shouldn't they sleeping by now? Should I carry on feeding them? They seem to stay all day on the same flower.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Pen

    1. Given the time of year and the behavior you describe, I think it’s likely your bumble bees (especially if they look relatively normal-sized or small, rather than very large) are male bumble bees congregating on your flowers, having no colony to which to return at this time of year. They’ll spend days and nights out on flowers (hoping to meet young queens there). If they warm up during the day, they’ll probably feel on the cosmos flowers (or sugar-water drops, if you provide them). However, being males, their days are sadly numbered, as they don’t survive the end of autumn.

      Only the young queen bumble bees survive winter, and they do so by burrowing into the ground (each young queen makes her own tiny burrow in which to overwinter). Bumble bee colonies are annual in that respect, with only the young queens born in late summer surviving the winter, before founding their own colonies in early spring. They emerge as soon as the first spring bulbs are coming through the ground, foraging and searching for a suitable location for their colony (often an abandoned mouse burrow).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  48. Hello Elise! I love your site and the info it provides. Our household helps all wildlife, big and small, and recently have bee helping our visiting bees. We have lots of flowers but the bees prefer eating from our hummingbird feeders. That is not the issue. We put out feeder bowls with marbles and sugar water to lure the bees away from the bird feeders and feed them. Question: Is it okay to feed the bees and when can we safely stop feeding them. We live in Mississippi where it is fairly warm year round, though we can get some frozen, wet days. I have read some mixed info of "it's bad to feed them," to "go ahead, you're helping them." Our first concern is helping but not harming them. Can you offer any advice? Thank you so much! Regards,

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to SJ

    1. I’m so happy you appreciate the website, and I’m even happier to hear that you care so much about your local bees!

      Ideally your bees would be drinking nectar from flowers, because they’d also be getting some essential amino acids, minerals, and other trace nutrients in the nectar (and the balance of these depends on the type of flower, which is why visiting different kinds of flowers is also good for bees’ health).

      That said, it’s hard to stop them from drinking sugar-water from an easy source like a hummingbird feeder! And this is where it kind of depends on the type of bee too… honey bees (the slimmer, less fluffy banded bees that live the hive life with a beekeeper) are often fed on sugar anyway (especially through winter), so you wouldn’t really be changing much about their lives (though ideally honey bees would also be foraging on fresh flowers).

      It’s still best only to put fresh water in a bee saucer with pebbles or marbles (bees need fresh water too, which in summer honey bees use for cooling their hives). That said, much as feeding sugar-water isn’t the best thing for bees (especially if there are abundant flowers), I do see your point that it’s one of the few ways to keep them away from the hummingbird feeders. If it’s just honey bees I’d not worry as much about leaving sugar-water out as they seem to live well on it, and they have beekeepers taking care of them. If you see other types of bees visiting though, I’d tend to take away the easy source of sugar-water, because it’s a bit like fast food!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  49. It is fall time where I am at, and the weather for the next week is supposed to be 40-50s F and rainy. I found 2 bumblebees frozen on flowers this morning. I brought them inside to warm up and placed them in a shoebox with some flowers and sugar water. The issue I’m having is that once they become active they freeze up again when outside. Is it ok to release them back into the cold temps and if not, how do I keep them alive in a box… and for how long? Winter will be here by the end of October so time seems limited. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Em

    1. Bees are very temperature-sensitive, being cold-blooded, so I’m not at all surprised your bees freeze up once they’re outdoors again. At this time of year, male bumble bees spend nights out on flowers, simply waiting for the next burst of warmth before moving about again. They do this because they don’t have a colony to return to at this time of year.

      Are your bumble bees relatively normal-sized, or are they particularly large? I ask because if they’re really large, they’re more likely to be young queen bumble bees, who are doing their last rounds of foraging, before hibernating for winter in little burrows they dig individually in the ground.

      If you have some warmer weather still to come, you might want to wait to release them, as otherwise they’ll quickly become frozen in place again. They can tolerate short bursts of temperatures below freezing if they have some protection, but anything below freezing is dangerous for them, and they can’t easily fly unless it’s in at least the low 50s. If you have a day of low 50s when it’s still sunny, you might try warming them up well indoors, and then putting them out in the direct sunlight to see if they’ll buzz along on their way.

      Technically bumble bees can survive for several weeks in a box, so long as they have access to sugar-water and ideally freshly cut flowers from time to time too. Sugar-water will keep them going, but lacks the amino acids and other trace nutrients found in different flower nectar. It’s also important not to keep them too warm in their box, as that can fool them into becoming energized and expecting to be able to fly off, potentially expending lots of energy. Try to keep them at around the same temperature as it is outdoors, so as to keep them in sync with the season.

      Unfortunately, if they are male bumble bees, they don’t make it past late fall. Young queens do, but they do so by finding nice diggable areas of soil in which to stay safe from frost over winter (they each dig down 4 inches or so, in loose well-drained soil, often on slopes that are north-facing so as not to awaken too early, and also so as to avoid rain puddling up in their little burrows).

      It’s kind of you to have taken your bees in, seeing them so frozen! I hope this advice helps, and that there’s still a little time left in the season for them outdoors, before winter sets in there.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  50. Hi. I found a huge bumblebee on my garden floor barely moving. I piped my hand next to her and she walked straight on!

    I gave her a small amount of sugar water and a selection of what flowers are left in my garden.

    After research she appears to be a queen-but she only has one wing! She has attempted to fly but obviously she can’t. She busy moving around her little habitat I’ve built and brought into my conservatory.

    I’m sure she’s likely at the end of her life given her wing situation-I’m just wondering is there anything else I can do?

    Many thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Corinna

    1. I just took a look at that bumble bee rearing guide that they use at the Logan Bee Lab, and it's a great resource, however it assumes starting in early spring with wild-caught young queens who have just emerged from hibernation.

      What I do know about hibernation spots is that young bumble bee queens favor loose, well-drained soil. They may burrow as far as 10cm or so (possibly even a little deeper, depending). I've seen them hibernating inside plant pots before, but they're quite individually picky in terms of the spots they choose. Occasionally they overwinter in log piles or under deeper layers of undisturbed leaf litter, but usually they choose to dig a small burrow into the soil.

      Bumble bee queens use nighttime temperature drops as a cue for hibernation (they cannot withstand freezing temperatures for long, and anywhere below -5°C is particularly dangerous). Since they don't want to come out of hibernation too early, they tend to choose north-facing slopes of soil, so as not to be fooled by feeling warmer before the first flowers are out too. They also favor sloping soil, because that way they're more likely to stay dry, with rain less likely to flood them out.

      I am not sure whether it's possible to encourage her into hibernation there in a less than fully natural situation, but I'd be interested to know if she might take to it, if you wish to give it a try. She would definitely still need access to flowers and sugar-water in the meantime, so as to keep her energy up (otherwise she'll feel an impulse to continue foraging instead of readying for hibernation).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hey, ok I’ve a few ideas of where to put her once I know she burrowed. I think perhaps offering a few different options could be an idea here with different pits/soil.

        I’ll keep the fresh flowers up for her and fresh sugar water. I have very few left in my garden-am I best finding local wild? Also how long does she forage for before hibernation/when do I need to have her hibernation boxes ready?

        I’ll keep her in my conservatory for now. It’s not heated and provided it’s not sunny it’s always the coldest room as the doors open most of the time. I’ll think of the best place for if it gets sunny/I leave the house and it’s warm etc.

        Feeling privileged I can try to help my favourite fuzzy insect!

        Thanks again! Corinna

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Corinna

    2. I’m so sorry to hear about her wing! She could still go into hibernation (since young bumble bee queens simply dig individual little burrows in the ground for that), but come spring, she’d not be able to make it, since queens do all the initial rounds of foraging while they establish new colonies, before new workers are born.

      This is a difficult situation, since young queens (which she would be, given the time of year) have a long lifespan by bee standards, of around a year or so, and she probably is only a month or two into that. Her instinct at this time of year would be to fill up her energy reserves by foraging, before finding a nice spot in the soil into which to burrow for the winter. She’d then emerge in early spring, as the weather starts to warm up and the first flowers appear.

      I wish we could do something more, when they experience wing damage like this! It’s kind of up to you what to do. I think if you house her, you’ll end up with her for quite a long time, and it won’t be the life that she expects, but it might… hmm, again, this is hard to know how to advise you, as she will not make it on her own with her wing missing, even if she does go into hibernation.

      I kind of wonder (but this is a bit of an outside chance)… she’s probably already mated, given the time of year. I know that some bumble bees are kept very successfully in captivity (during research projects for example). It is just possible that she might overwinter with you, and if you were to provide her all the flowers she needed in spring, she might just start building out her colony, which she would then never leave, after the first workers are born. She really only needs wings for a week or two in early spring, at most. Is she otherwise energetic, now that she’s warmer and has had something to eat?

      Let me know what you think. I have a handbook somewhere on rearing bumble bees that I’ll find, in case you might find it helpful. If this sounds like too much, let me know that too! I wish there was a way to help her live her normal life, but other than trying to get her into hibernation there with you, and then helping her forage in early spring, I don’t think there’s anything else to do. And it is a bit of an outside chance, whether she’d take to this plan. On the upside, you might see a colony being built too, in early spring, and they’re such gentle creatures.

      To get her into hibernation, she’d need temperatures to mirror the outdoor weather, with cold nights, and she’d need well-drained soil into which to burrow. They’re picky about hibernation spots, but, well, let me look again for that handbook on bumble bee rearing, it might have some additional tips. I know there’s a fellow in England who sells nesting boxes for starting colonies (which would be useful once spring comes around), and there are also various DIY versions that you might offer her when the time comes. She’d not be much trouble in hibernation (you wouldn’t see her again until early spring). But again, she might not take to this, it really does depend on her. All her instincts will be to fly right now (and again in early spring), and that must be very hard on her, to be unable to do so.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi Elise,

        Thank so much for your quick reply! The info for this specific situation is very much lacking or really irrelevant online so I’m so glad I found your page!

        Wow! I’m so happy there’s an option here! This is really one of those situations that I simply couldn’t turn my back on. The way she practically flung herself on my hand was something special so if I can help her in any way I have to try!

        She is super energetic (well she was-I’ve just checked and she’s asleep (resting) hanging onto a big leaf I’ve popped in her current flower box.

        All you’ve said about her instincts are absolutely what I’ve observed. She did try to fly off my hand earlier when she climbed on when I was popping more flowers in, but panicked when she couldn’t. She could’ve stung me (she ended up my sleeve slightly) but she didn’t-she did release a bit of venom…..but I took the hint. She’s doing everything she should be as a new queen by the sounds of it. I’d love any advice on how I can help her and if we can help her in spring to build her colony that would be such an honour! I live rurally so daffodils are absolutely rife in spring.

        So…what do I do from here?

        Thanks again Elise!

        Corinna. ❤️

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Corinna

  51. I have about 20 sweet little bumbles in my sunflowers that have been caught t in the cold.. what can I do with so many? Worried about them

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jax

    1. I think you’ve found a little group of male bumble bees who no longer have a colony to go back to (that’s how it is for the males at this time of year). They spend their nights in flowers, knowing that morning may bring young bumble bee queens to those flowers!

      Because they’ve no place to go back to at night, these male bumble bees are always taking some chances with the weather at this time of year. Some days may be so cold and wet that they simply stay put, hardly moving at all. Males often do congregate in the same flowers too, so it’s not uncommon to see a number of unmoving, cold, often damp bumble bees in autumn.

      So long as you’re not expecting torrential rain, they should be alright where they are!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  52. Not a question anymore! I'd just like to say thanks for sharing this info i feel so glad to know I made an impact yesterday when i all but brough i bumblebee back to life.

    I was working on summitting an 11,500 foot mountain when I saw a bee iced over in the shaded snowy north face at about 10,300 feet. I thought he was a goner but after breathing on him for a f minute he began to move his little wings and then his abdomen and eventually started walking around. After another minute of warming the little fella up I walked him over to some thistles in the sunlight and he was buzzing around seemingly grateful to still be alive.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hunter R

    1. I’m so happy to hear your story! It’s amazing how, with a little timely warmth, bees can be revived. I’m sure your bee was happy to have your help at such a critical moment in life like that! 💛🐝✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  53. I rescued a very soggy wet bee on a rainy day over a week and a half ago. Had it in a dry protected space outside for a few days and then brought it indoors because it was not making attempts to fly away and the nights were getting as well as being windy and wet. Our weather is currently weird for the time of year, going from cold and wet to very warm. She did and does show interest in flowers given to her. She grooms herself, warns me off with the middle leg raised and her wings do move. I have placed her outdoors on sunny days to give her the chance to fly away, but she is still with me, nearly 2 weeks later. I have offered sugar syrup, sometimes shows an interest. I do not know what to do next to help her, any advice

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to MareaF

    1. I asked a question 3rd October. I am still looking after the bee and would very grateful for any advice or guidance on what to do. I give her new flowers each day, I can see that she drinks from them, is interested in the pollen and even seen her take sips from the sugar water. She buzzes sometimes and the wings move as if to fly, but no take off. It’s been over 2 weeks, the flowering plants are starting to die off, what do I do next? Should I try and make a nest?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to MareaF

      1. I do apologize for my delayed reply, I’ve not been feeling well these past few days. Do you happen to know if your bee is a queen bumble bee? If you reply to the email you receive from my website with photos or video, that may be helpful for me to help further too (I’m thinking she may well be a young queen, given the time of year and also the fact she’s still with you).

        If she is a young queen, she should be stocking up on her nectar energy reserves in preparation for hibernation. Bumble bees are quite choosy in terms of where they hibernate individually. Usually, they dig a small hole for themselves in the soil. They tend to choose north-facing banks of soil, because they’ll be less likely to be awoken too early by the soil warming up, and also a bank of soil helps any rain run off safely. They need protection from frost, so being underground is best, but they sometimes also overwinter in log piles or under a good layer of leaf litter.

        I say all of this, because knowing their hibernation preferences may help you offer her a place that she may choose outdoors. It sounds as though the flowers you’ve been supplying her with have kept her energy reserves topped up, probably sufficient for her to enter hibernation soon, now that the flowering plants are starting to die off as winter approaches. You might try placing her in a likely hibernation spot on a warmer day, and seeing if she starts to scout about, possibly digging into the soil?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  54. We had very heavy rain and it is late September, and I saw 2 pairs of bees on two separate aster bushes. They were very lethargic and when I gently shook the plant they slowly reached out one of their legs. Were they dying or drowning from the intense rain? Should I have tried to help them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Leriumtaw

    1. It’s the time of year when young male bumble bees have left their colonies to find young queens. These male bees typically spend their nights out on flowers, and when it rains, they hope they’re sheltered enough. Too much rain is dangerous for bees, since they breathe along openings in their sides, and they can also be dislodged from their flowers in heavy rain, falling into pools of rainwater forming on the ground below.

      The ones you saw slowly reaching out their legs weren’t dying or drowning yet, but they were slowed down by the rain (and probably it was colder too, when you saw them too)? Bees get very lethargic as they get colder. At night these male bees (who never return to the shelter of their colony) get cold enough that they can’t move much, simply clinging to their flowers or plants. Rain certainly makes this more dangerous for them! While it is natural for them to shelter among flowers, if the rain is too heavy or prolonged, it’s certainly much harder on them out there.

      It can be a little hard to know what to do for the best. One option is to bring them in, if you have somewhere cool and dry to keep them, and then release them once it’s stopped raining, ideally on a warmer fall day. Another option is to put some temporary additional shelter over the plants if they’re in your garden, but that has to be pretty sturdy to work. When it’s cold, the bees won’t mistake the lack of rain under the shelter for better weather, since they’re cold enough that they still won’t be able to move. A wet bee also needs warmth to dry off fully first before flying, so typically they’ll stay put.

      It’s kind of you to notice them out there, and to care about their well-bee-ing 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  55. A couple days ago we saved three waterlogged bumblebees during a tropical storm. We kept them inside a large mesh enclosure for a couple days during the storm and gave them fresh cut flowers from our garden, and BeeVive, a bee rescuing solution of sugar water. Two released very easily this morning. But one is not really moving around that well. We’ve tried putting her on flowers in our garden, we’ve tried giving her sugar water. She’s just laying there. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jenny

    1. How warm is it there today? It looks (according to a state-wide forecast) as if it may be somewhat sunny and warmish, but that you're in a for a few cooler damper days before it's sunnier again? I ask as I'm hoping she'll respond positively to soaking up sunlight. She may need a few hours of warmth and sunlight to help restore her. She may also have been waterlogged for longer than the others, or may simply be a bit weaker. You could also try moving her into a warm room indoors and keeping a good eye on her, to see if she starts to become more active (ideally cleaning herself and even buzzing her wings a bit). If she's still sluggish and inactive by the end of the day, I'd be tempted to house her for the cooler damper days, and then try releasing her once it's sunnier and drier. Have you seen her drinking any sugar water?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  56. Hello, I have a bee that when it landed on my shoulder, it was well and healthy. It was sluggish so I waited a little bit and then proceeded to put the bee outside once I came back outside, it had rain. The bee was covered in ants so I proceeded to pick it up since it was still alive. It’s still moving it’s missing one leg and it’s also missing its pollen sack so to speak I have it in my room on a flower with sugar water is there any way to revive it or should I just let it go?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to HElP

    1. How do your bee’s wings look? Feel free to reply directly to the email from my website with photos, though I realize it’s getting late now where you are. Being covered in ants is not a good sign, but it may just be that your bee was sluggish owing to the cold and rain. I would keep your bee overnight in your room with the flower and sugar-water, and try putting your bee out in sunlight (if you have some) tomorrow morning. Not necessarily too early in the day! Once it starts warming up above 60°F. With sugar-water and sun, I’d hope your bee would revive, unless there’s something else wrong. Bees can be missing a leg and still be alright, but it may mean there’s other unseen damage that the ants were picking up on too.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  57. how long do the worker bees "put up with" the drones after the queen is impregnated?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kim

    1. Until the end of the season (end of fall). If there are still drones hanging around after that, the honey bee workers actually pick them up and take them from the hive, dropping them elsewhere! They won’t let them back into the hive after that.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  58. My nephew and I rescued a black bee from our pool yesterday. After a couple of mins in the sun on a dry leaf it was so sluggish but idk if it was dying or going into a hibernation mode? Anyway I thought I should put it on my warm hand and blew warm air and it seemed to really perk up. We gave it a blackberry we broke open and the lil one seemed to enjoy it.

    I’m obviously not a bee person which is why I came here. I read about the nectar and I got a tiny lid and put some in it and added it to a container full of wild honeysuckle and dry moss and a strand of tall grass w fresh water in it. (It was about 50° at its coldest last night.) The bee was sluggish again later, around 60° but I put hot water bottles inside a towel and put his container between them. Then after some nectar (which I had to hand-feed it, putting some on the wall beside him,) and walking on my hand (“more nectar plz?”) it was strong enough to climb the wall and went into a “tunnel” in a washcloth I had placed on top of a large part of the container. Eventually I went inside. It got up to 70° this afternoon.

    I gotta say I got attached and “bugs” are not my thing. But we need these guys and my pool swallowed him. I expected him or her to be dead today but I couldn’t find him. Is there a chance it survived? There was tall grass nearby so it could have crawled away.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lola

    1. Aww that’s so lovely to hear your story! There is every chance that your bee flew off once the temperature warmed up, because of all the care you took, and the food that you provided too! It definitely sounds from what you describe (given your bee’s behavior) that you saved your bee from your pool in time. They’re adorable aren’t they, when they walk on us to warm up, and even seem to ask for nectar?! Yes, we do need every bee! It’s so kind of you to have helped yours live another day 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  59. Hello! I’ve enjoyed looking through your website and have tried to find the answer to my question, but haven’t been able to (but I may have missed it, there’s a lot here!). It’s fall and getting colder and I’ve been seeing lots of flowers and bushes with 5-10 bees all clinging and moving sluggishly. I’m guessing it’s the natural process and the workers dying out for the season, but I feel so bad just leaving them there. Is there anything that could be done or is it just the natural process?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

    1. Ah, yes, I did write a bit about this here, but this page particularly has ended up with so much information (gathered from answering various questions) that it’s not yet perfectly organized or easy to find everything, I do apologize!

      I’m guessing these are smaller bumble bees that you’re seeing clinging to flowers? At this time of year, bumble bee colonies are winding down for the season. New queens are born and take flight, looking to mate and then store up plenty of energy before their winter hibernation (each young queen finds or digs a little hole underground, or in a sheltered woodpile or similar, where she rests undisturbed and frost-free for the winter).

      Male bumble bees are also freshly on the wing around this time of year, and they don’t return to the colony at night like the workers do. Instead they stay out on flowers, often congregating together in areas that they deem likely to find young queens the following day. Although these male bumble bees can look in a bit of a sorry state at times (often wet with dew, clinging sluggishly to petals and stems on cold mornings), they do spring to life each morning once the sun hits them and they warm up again! And they do have a ready source of food, since they’re already in the flowers, so they don’t need anything from us, unlike stranded bees that often benefit from help. It’s so kind of you to think of them!

      Sadly, the males do not live past autumn. Nor do the older worker bumble bees (or original queen). But a new cycle does begin again with their progeny, in the form of young queens hibernating through winter!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  60. There's a bee stuck in his hole in my fence. ( he qas building at one point) I hear him buzzing but it's been several days. How do I get him out?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Brandy

    1. That’s very unusual! Do you happen to know what type of bee it is? If not, what’s the diameter of the hole? Sometimes bees buzz while they’re building their homes in tunnels in wood. They may even buzz to ward off potential intruders.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  61. I found a bumble bee that is sluggish. Still after 24 hours did not fly away, It is not cold outside, She appears to be moving her back end lots. She has been given sugar water and taken inside where it will be warmer. Is there something else I can do for her. She does not seem to be able to fly away.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to kathy

    1. Your weather definitely looks warm and sunny enough there. How does she respond to sitting in direct sunlight, does that help at all? How do her wings look (I'm wondering if you see any evidence of damage)? Does she spend a lot of time cleaning herself, or just moving her back end (and is that movement a kind of "pulsing")?

      Feel free to reply to the email you receive from my website with photos or videos, it may be helpful to take a closer look at her 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. She is cleaning herself lots and pulsing her bottom. Could she have parisites?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to kathy

        1. Hopefully you received my earlier email in reply to your photo? The cleaning behavior and pulsing aren't really abnormal, I've observed bees perform what seems like an excessive amount of cleaning, in preparation for their days! And the pulsing (a kind of heavy breathing, since bees breathe along holes in the sides of their bodies) is a way to warm up faster, in her case.

          If she does have any parasites, they'd most likely be internal (even if you see a mite on her, those aren't really a problem unless they're in great numbers... they hitchhike back to bumble bee nests and eat nest detritus; they're unrelated to the destructive honey-bee-specific mites).

          She looked like a young queen to me, so that probably lessens the likelihood of internal parasites or other bee ailments. Have you tried her in direct sunlight, ideally on a bee-friendly flower, on which you've seen other bumble bees feeding? It might still take her time, but large bees like her (she is large-ish, right?) need more warmth and energy to get into flight, compared to their smaller worker counterparts.

          She looks like a young queen to me because of her body proportions. Young queens emerge around late summer to early fall, in order to mate before stocking up on food and fat reserves, in preparation for hibernating individually in small holes or under leaves over winter. Let me know if she doesn't respond to direct sunlight after a few hours. If she's not tried the sugar-water, she may be low on energy as well. She may do better on a bee-friendly flower, or alternatively, try adding a drop or two of sugar-water to a flower and see if she drinks.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. thank you. the only flowers i have currently are marigolds, that is where i found her. She is in a terrarium where it is very warm, and the sun does shine on her but there is not any changes, she has no interest in flying.

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to kathy

            1. she does move her wings, but goes no where really.

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to kathy

              1. I apologize for my late reply, I’m back much later than I hoped. I’d try her outdoors on your marigolds tomorrow morning, ideally a spot where the sun hits her. If she’s really sluggish, try placing a cut marigold flower near her on the ground in the sunlight, with a few drops of sugar-water mix near the center of it. I recall your weather looked even warmer tomorrow, so I’m hoping that given a few hours, she’ll start to perk up. She looks in good health, but she does need to eat soon! It may take her a few hours before she’s more energetic, but if she’s out there in the morning, she’ll have the day ahead of her. Let me know if she isn’t more active by mid-day.

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  62. A bee has just drowned my friends pool and we got it out and it was moving around she was drying off its wings but now it’s not moving but it is still pulsing. What do I do??

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hailey Hayes

    1. Your bee may have been in the pool for too long and taken on too much water through the little holes along their side, through which they breathe. But the warmer you can make your bee, the better, like if there’s direct sunlight, try that. Also give her some time, it can take awhile to recover. The pulsing you’re looking at is like a kind of “heavy breathing” in us as a result of what she’s been through. If you have some sugar around to mix up with water in a 50/50 solution, it might be worth putting a single small drop near her, ideally where she can find it easily (touching it to her antennae may help her realize what it is), just make sure it’s not so much that she can get all sticky walking or falling into it.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  63. The bee has wet wings. She is alive, lying on her side. In the warm.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Simone Egan

    1. Can you advise me please, she is still alive. Her wings are wet

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Simone

      1. Give her time to dry out, it may take several hours. Warmth and direct sunlight (if you have it) will help. If there’s no sun, then warmth and time will do it too. Lying on her side isn’t the best indication of her being in good shape (they’re usually not doing well at all, if they’re unable to stand on all six legs). But she may yet pull through. I don’t know how wet she got, and how much energy she’s lost. Have you tried offering sugar-water yet? You could try gently nudging her to her feet, but do watch her body language too, and if she’s more comfortable currently on her side, then I’d leave her be and simply let her warm up there. Let me know if you see any changes in her condition!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  64. Hi! So I read this article after I had already saved the bee just to see if I could have done anything different. And I’m delighted to read I did everything right! I went to a cabin with some of my friends in the mountains and there was a bee on its back. We thought it was dead but I got a little closer and it moved its legs. So I let it cling to my sweatshirt so I could flip it over off its back. It wouldn’t fly or hardly move and it’s about 55-60°. So I brought her inside and put her on a blanket in a closed room. She stayed there a whole 24 hours. The next day she was doing better. Walking around and hanging out on my arm. I actually got some sugar water after I saw she was already doing a little better and soaked a sponge in it so she could eat but not fall into a bowl and put her back outside in case she got the strength to fly. But I had her inside for about 3 days. I lost her one day so I thought she flew away but I found her again on the floor later on and moved her outside. I hope she finds the strength to fly away. We leave tomorrow and I’m afraid there’s not much more I can do for her.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kat Marie

    1. It sounds like you did a great deal to help her, that’s lovely to hear! I think with time indoors that she had to warm up, and the sugar-water you gave her to regain energy, she’ll be in good shape for getting back to whatever it was she was planning to do, before she lost energy and ended up on her back where you found her. It’s so good to hear that you cared so much about helping her! 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  65. I don't have a question about a specific bee this time, but about mosquito repellent. We've had a good bit of rain lately (yay!) which has brought about an overabundance of mosquitos (less yay!). We have some Pic Mosquito Repelling Coils that I've thought about burning while in the yard walking my cat, but I've noticed it has Pyrethrins in it. I researched this online and can see Pyrethrins are harmful to bees but I can only find info about this in the context of spraying it in the environment. Is it still harmful to bees and pollinators if it's in the smoke form burned locally in a spot not near my flower garden? And if so, is there a better alternative (such as citronella candles)? Thank you again for all that you do, and I'll be sure to drop a donation on my way out!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jesse

    1. To add to my earlier reply, here's what I heard from a person I consider an expert on both mosquitos and insects generally (Colin Purrington, whose website I also linked in my initial reply):

      "If the coils have pyrethrin they might be good repellents especially if they have some smoke. Thermacells work on the same principal and they seem to be effective. I'd just make sure to use them away from flowers so that the pesticide cloud doesn't take out your pollinators."

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    2. I've been waiting to hear back from someone about this, because honestly I'm not too sure about mosquito coil bee safety. I'm kind of guessing (not that I'm sure!) that the smoke will repel bees sufficiently so as not to cause them harm (as opposed to sprays, some of which are encapsulated, where bees may encounter high-levels of toxic pyrethrins without realizing ahead of time any need to avoid the area). I will update you further if I receive any more information about the safety of mosquito coils specifically.

      In terms of what works, I kind of hesitate to recommend any pesticides (I personally think we should do away with pesticides entirely), but I also recognize the significant dangers posed by mosquitos. I try to opt for screening material wherever possible, so as to have the lowest chemical impact, but that's not practical for walking around your yard! There are a number of other potential choices, and I'd recommend Colin Purrington's page here (even though he does include suggestions for using pesticides too):

      https://colinpurrington.com/fighting-mosquitoes/

      Citronella candles seem to be slightly effective, but not probably enough to help too much, unfortunately (they seem to be a fairly weak deterrent, unless used in vast numbers continually). There's another interesting article I read recently covering a study that compared a number of different repellants, both synthetic and natural (I've had very good luck with lemon eucalyptus oil in balm or spray form myself, but mosquitoes for some reason don't like me too much anyway)! Here's that link for you as well:

      https://theconversation.com/not-all-repellents-are-equal-heres-how-to-avoid-mosquito-bites-this-summer-207088

      It's kind of you to think about protecting bees from harm, as well as yourself from mosquito bites! I hope the above links help in terms of assessing other potential mosquito repellents, and I'll certainly let you know if I hear a definitive answer about the coils.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  66. We live in Santa Barbara and everyday on beach walks we see bees struggling in wet sand.. typically we just scoop them up and move them to dry ground…my concern is the salt water cakes their wings and bodies… should we spray a little fresh water on them and then place them where they can recover?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Peter

    1. I apologize for not replying sooner, I’ve not been feeling too good. I’ve also been puzzling over how to answer your question, as in the end I’m not too sure what to advise. I’ve not heard of bees ending up in wet sand on beaches before. The only similar thing I’ve heard of is bees reportedly being attracted to salt water swimming pools. I don’t know if it’s honey bees that you’re seeing, but those are the kinds of bees that are typically seeking water in summer, which they bring back to the hives to help cool them (by buzzing their wings above the water droplets like little fans, with a number of bees near the entrance functioning as an evaporative air conditioner).

      It seems that small amounts of salt are not harmful to bees, but it can be toxic to them if they ingest too much. I just looked up the salinity difference between salt water swimming pools versus sea water, and it seems that sea water is about 10 times as salty as salt water swimming pools. That makes me think that it’s salty enough to be of possible concern.

      I wonder why these bees are ending up in the wet sand in the first place? Perhaps the sea is the only source of water they can find in the area, even if it is so salty? It’d be great to have interspersed little saucers of fresh water with rocks in them (to cling to safely) for bees, but that’s hard to maintain in public spaces like beaches.

      My only concern with spraying them with fresh water is that, at least temporarily, they’ll struggle with all the water on their bodies. But then again, they’re already struggling when you find them. Bees breathe along the sides of their bodies, through tiny apertures (they don’t have lungs). So being immersed in water is always a bit dangerous for them. How are they acting after they’re scooped up, do they seem to improve quickly and fly off, as far as you’ve seen? Bees can’t fly easily when they’re wet, so they’ll wait to dry off, but if salts are left behind, I’d imagine that would make it slightly harder for them to fly. They’ll try to clean themselves while they’re still wet too, possibly ingesting more salts.

      I wish I knew what to advise! I do think it’s possible that a slight misting of fresh water might be helpful, simply to remove some of the excess salts. I think it’d make it easier for them to fly once they’re dry, as well as less risky in terms of ingesting too much salt. On the other hand, if these bees are desperate for water to cool their hives, and this is the only obvious source, then they’ll continue to take such risks, since if their brood chambers get too hot, the next generation won’t make it. It’d really be nice to have some “bee watering stations” around the area, simply saucers with rocks and fresh water, with little informative signs as to why they’re there.

      It’s so kind of you to care about these bees you’re seeing, and try to think of ways to help them further 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. No worries about the response time: thank you for the thought you put in. The beach is just below a 300 ft cliff that runs for miles. There is all kind of vegetation that grows vertically on the cliff. It can be quite windy so the amateur guess if they get blown off course and salt air / sea spray grounds them…. I had good success with a quick fresh water rinse of one and placed on a towel…. Let me know if you want pictures or a site visit

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Peter

        1. Ah yes, I've definitely witnessed bumble bees foraging in high winds near beach cliffs before (I kind of pictured a different sort of beach when you first wrote). You're right that winds could possibly knock them off course enough at times to get caught in the sea spray. I've been kind of amazed to see how well the bees I've seen have managed to deal with such winds.

          You have some small solitary bees in the area too (I saw a photo of one lately from someone's trip there, I believe also near the sea). That's good to hear that you're having success with a quick fresh water rinse! Did you use a mister? I'd love to know what works for you, so that I can give advice in the future when it's needed! I know for sugar water accidents, a few folks have successfully used a dropper with fresh water to rinse and dilute the sugar water on their bee before it crystallizes.

          I'd love to see pictures! At the moment a site visit is not easily possible, but I appreciate your offer! If you reply directly to the email from my website, you can attach photos or videos that way. I'd be very interested to see the kinds of bees that are having issues with the winds down there, ending up struggling in the wet sand. I'm still a bit surprised, as bees're usually only out in winds that they can handle, but perhaps they're foraging more widely given fewer flowers, or perhaps the flowers along the beach are particularly rewarding. There's also a learning curve for bees foraging, it's a skill they improve at over time!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  67. My father in law made a 5 gallon sugar/water feeder because he’s out of town this week. I see it has leaked. I don’t think they’ll starve but now I see bees all around the rim of the bucket. I think they may be stuck ?? Is it possible they are stuck in the sugar water.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Erin

    1. Bees can definitely get stuck in sugar water, though usually they’re able to clean themselves off pretty well (especially if their hive-mates help them do so). It’s hard for us to get a bee unstuck, since they’re so small and delicate, so it’s usually better to let the individual bee (or her sisters) do the cleaning.

      Hopefully the bees you’re seeing are just gathered around the rim lapping up excess sugar water, rather than being stuck there. If you observe them closely, you should be able to see whether they’re struggling to free themselves, or simply gathered around the rim feeding on the excess sugar water there.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  68. this morning around 6am I heard a buzzing sound so I knew they were bees, however they all were hovering in the air, not flying anywhere, not doing anything but hovering together so that when you looked at the skies it was covered in several bees. what exactly is happening with these bees?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to ursh

    1. I'm trying to picture how many bees you're seeing. The usual reason folks describe skies covered in bees are honey bee swarms. Honey bees wouldn't be native to your area, but they may well have been introduced at some point. Swarms are usually going places though, since scouts work out destinations before the main swarm moves.

      Another possibility would be some native male bees hovering in the vicinity, scouting for females. There are plenty of examples of male bees gathering in areas where females are likely to be spotted. I believe you have leaf-cutter bees (Megachilidae) and sweat bees (Halictidae) native there. The sweat bees are smaller, ground-dwelling bees, whereas the leaf-cutter bees are larger (closer to honey-bee sized), and nest in cavities such as hollow plant stems and wood tunnels made by beetles.

      I think it would be male leaf-cutter bees who'd be most likely to hover as you describe, scouting the area. Some of their bee relatives (carder bees, who're also in the family Megachilidae) are expert hoverers: the males hold their positions above favored plants, allowing only potential mates to forage on "their" plants!

      Hope this helps! It's all I can think of in terms of possibilities for the behavior that you observed. Hover flies often mimic bees, and they're expert hoverers too (the females do it to scout possible sites for their eggs, and the males do it to show off... apparently female hover flies find males that stay in one spot—regardless of wind currents—irresistible)! But hover flies don't make that distinctive buzzing sound that bees do, which you heard.

      I'll just add, I once experienced a swarm of honey bees flying overhead, and there was definitely a surprisingly strong buzzing sound, as well as a great many bees, which took awhile to pass over (almost as if the whole swarm was searching for a spot). Little bee droppings even rained down on me, but I didn't mind a bit, it was such an experience to see them all! They settled in a nearby cedar tree.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  69. Will it harm bees if I water my flowers when the bees are on them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jane

    1. It won't harm them so long as they buzz off quickly before they're hit with water. Do you mean hand watering? I'd imagine they'd get out of the way easily in that case. When it comes to automated sprinklers, those can catch them off guard. I've seen bees soaked by those, who're waiting to dry off in the sun before being able to fly again. The other danger to bees is that they breathe along tiny holes in the sides of their bodies, so large droplets of water can hold some danger for them (this is why bees rarely chance flying in the rain). So long as it's warm and sunny though, most bees easily have the wherewithal and energy to get out of the way of any unexpected stream of water quickly!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  70. I found a carpenter bee on its back. I read your advice about offering sugar water. I used two drops of clover honey and bottled water in a water bottle cap. The bee eventually revived and was able to fly away! I made a video of the bee using it’s tiny tongue lapping up the sugar water. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience!!!!!!! Have saved your website to my favorites!! Thanks for your great advice because it worked! Sincerely, Margaret A Gunter, Garner NC

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Margaret Gunter

    1. That's wonderful to hear that your bee revived with your help! If you'd like to share your video (I'd love to see it!), feel free to attach in an email in reply to the automated email from my website 🐝🎬

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  71. I found a bee upside down in my pool yesterday and presumed it was dead as its legs were all curdled to its body and it never moved for ages after rescuing it. I laid it on the table in sunlight and to my surprise after an hour or so I could see it moving/pulsating slightly. as it was due to rain last night I decided to keep it in shoe box with the lid slightly off and cut a fresh sunflower head off and a little lavender bud and left a little mixture of sugar and water. The bee seemed to get more energy last night but still has not tried to take off.

    Today it’s just been walking around the box and keeps moving from one flower to another but I cannot see that it’s trying to eat. I also haven’t been able to see it drinking. It doesn’t seemed injured as it’s wings look perfect and it’s now looking fluffy again and using all its legs.

    It’s been raining all day today so I’ve just left it in the open box in the windowsill. My question is, should I just keep it here until it’s sunny again tomorrow and put it outside? I can’t say how long it was in the pool for and it suspect it’s really tired or maybe even dying.

    I just want to ensure I’m doing the right thing.

    Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ckebee

    1. Since it's raining outside today, and since you've only seen your bee walking (as opposed to trying to fly), I'd agree that keeping it overnight again will give your bee its best chances.

      Perhaps your bee did sip from the sugar-water mix at night, but in case not, I wonder if either refreshing the fresh cut flowers, or putting some drops of sugar-water mix directly onto the flowers themselves, might help your bee discover that there's something to drink? Like you, I'm a little concerned about how much energy your bee may have lost while struggling in the pool.

      Usually if bees put a foot or antenna briefly into sugar-water, they realize what it is, but some bees drink the solution more readily if they discover it in a more expected place, such as on a flower. I'd be careful not to put more than a couple drops on each flower though, so that there's no chance of your bee getting too sticky with the mix.

      She does sound in good health otherwise, so she really should be just fine, recovering in her own time in a protected place indoors. Once you put her out in direct sun tomorrow (near where you found her, ideally on or near some bee-friendly flowers), she may take a little time still (even an hour or two), but you should start to see her buzzing her wings as she absorbs warmth, before flying off, I hope!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  72. not really a question, just a thank you.

    a bee landed in our pool (we have a salt-chlorine generator so the chlorine concentration in the actual pool is very low ) so i took it out, not knowing what to do i stumbled uppon this site.

    i put it on a leaf in the sun, she didn't move much so i gave her some sugar water and after a few sips she started batting her wings to dry them and after a few minutes and some failed flight attempts she took off, made a few laps around the pool and made her way back home.

    thanks for the advice

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to rad

    1. Lovely to hear that your bee felt much better after a few minutes in the sun, along with a little energy boost. When bees make looping laps in the air (as she did after taking off), they're reorienting themselves via landmarks. A good sign that she headed home happily, thanks to your help!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  73. I was on my balcony porch and saw a bee not moving on the one spot that gets wet when it rains. She repeatedly was getting hit with water droplets and I went to try to like nudge her with a dustpan (only thing I had nearby). She put her arm on the front and tried to like lift herself onto it and then couldn't so I tried to help and readjust to scoop her up. Then she started moving a little bit more but still looked really weak and was pulsing (breathing hard from being wet probs) and so I was like okay I'll go make her some sugar water. When I came back with the sugar water, she was gone. I'm worried she wasn't ready and maybe walked off the side of the balcony on accident

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ash

    1. I would check carefully for her around your porch, and below it if that's possible? You may well find her... assuming you just lost track of her, that is? It's a little doubtful she'd be in any condition to fly until she was dried off, and bees can't usually fly in rain either (unless the rain is really light).

      If she did walk off the edge and fall, hopefully she fell somewhere safe where she can wait out the rain and dry off, and hopefully it'll warm up where you are soon (with ideally some flowering plants within bee walking distance too)! Yes, her pulsing is just her breathing heavily after everything that's happened to her.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  74. Out camping and found a hunny bee after sunset and I tried to keep it warm and safe is there anything else I should do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Phoebe

    1. Sorry I missed your message last night, hopefully your bee stayed safe all night! If it's still with you, try putting it in direct sunlight so it warms up faster. If you have sugar-water, try mixing up a 50/50 solution as a quick energy boost (or if there are flowers nearby, try gently moving it onto one). Make sure to put it near where you found it, so it's able to find its way home easily!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  75. How long can bumblebees survive trapped outside their hive for?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tabby

    1. Hives tend to be homes for honey bees (who live together in the tens of thousands of bees), whereas bumble bees have (typically underground) colonies that most often number in the hundreds.

      Theoretically, a social bee could live until the end of its natural life, even if unable to get back to their hive or colony, so long as they have sufficient food (in terms of nectar as an energy source, or sugar-water as a substitute) and shelter at night (especially from freezing temperatures). Male bumble bees, for instance, spend days and nights outdoors (away from their colonies) just fine in late summer, taking shelter on flowers at night.

      We do call honey bees and bumble bees "social" for a reason though, and it's doubtful social bees would do well long-term (this'd be particularly so of the female workers, who're accustomed to coming back home each night).

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  76. Hi Elise my name is Ruby. We just got done filling up our pool with water, so it had no chemicals in it yet. When I was cleaning it out at about 3:00 and at about 79 F, I found what is presumably a honey bee worker that was in the pool. I scooped it up and set it on a tree I put a flower in front of it and watched it to see if it would fly. About 5 minutes later I found it flying away. Later I got interested and found your website. I learned that sugar water is really good to give to the bee, I also learned that the bee will be better in a sunny area, so the tree maybe was not the best place. So anyways my question is will my bee still stay alive after the little mistake I made? And I’m also wondering if it will be able to find it’s colony again, because I’m very worried about the bee. Thanks!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ruby

    1. Good to hear there were no chemicals in the pool!

      Your bee will be just fine, and I say that for a couple of reasons. For one, if bees are low on energy, they’re not able to fly at all. The reason to put them in the sun, as well as give them sugar-water, is to give them enough energy to be able to fly off.

      Secondly, releasing your bee anywhere in the area near your pool will be enough for your bee to figure out which direction to fly back home to their hive. The pool would be a distinctive landmark, and honey bees use physical landmarks along with navigating by the sun. It may well have done a quick surveying loop in order to orient itself, before heading off in the right direction. They’re amazing navigators, considering how tiny they are, and that they’re sometimes miles from home when foraging!

      I Honey bees tend to be attracted to pools on sunny days because they’re looking for water to cool their hives. Some workers are sent out to bring back water, then once they’re back, they fan their wings on the water drops to help cool their hive’s temperature.

      One thing that may help bees avoid your pool in the future is to put out a saucer or some other shallow dish with fresh water in it, as well as a number of pebbles that make it easy for bees to stay safe while gathering water on sunny days. If you’re in a mosquito-prone area, simply change the water every few days (since mosquito larvae need 8-10 days to complete their life cycle, and they can’t survive if you tip their water out).

      Lovely to hear you saved your bee and cared so much 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for answering my question it helps a lot. Now when I find a bee again I know know what to do. I hope I can save more bees in the future. Thank you again.-Ruby

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Ruby

  77. Why is this bee pumping like a heart? I don’t know how to describe it but if you look at a live heart it will pump. That’s what the bee is doing. I found it in the middle of the pavement on a warm, windy day. I have given it some sugar water and put it in a plant in the sunlight. It had just climbed onto the sugar water and continued to do the pumping thing. What do I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Evie

    1. There's nothing to worry about with the pumping/pulsing behavior (and you've reminded me that I should add a note about that above)! Bees breathe through little holes along the sides of their bodies, and this pulsing that they do (often when first getting going in the morning) is a way of moving oxygen into their bodies faster. Your bee was doing it in order to help ready itself for flying, after having been grounded on the pavement from which you rescued it.

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  78. Hi I have a white tailed bumble bee that I found cold and wet last night at 9pm. I let him rest on my arm to dry off. I tried to get him onto a nice nectar flower when dried but he turned back wanting back on my hand. So I placed him in a cosy tub with leaves and flowers until this morning. He lapped up the sugar water this morning but has still not flew away it is currently 2.20pm. He did have a little go and his wings seem in great condition, but he went to hide and sleep again. Hes grooming alot and sleeping alot. Could this just be him coming to the end of his life or is there anything else I could try? Many Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Anne luke

    1. Has your bee fully dried off? I'm guessing so, but I thought I'd ask just in case. You can tell if there's still a spiky (almost mohawk) look to your bee's fluff, compared to their usual evenly fluffy look.

      If your bee's wings are in great condition (especially the wing edges), then it's probably not an older bee. I say that because their wing edges become frayed over time (and older bees also may have a more "faded" look to their colors).

      How's your weather been, and did you try placing your bee in direct sunlight? Grooming and wing-testing are good signs. To me it's as if your bee is still a bit cold (or really likes your hospitality so much that they're tempted to stay)!

      It won't hurt to house your bee for another night if that's the way your bee seems inclined. If so, I'd try placing your bee in direct sunlight tomorrow morning, near where you found your bee (ideally near some flowers too). If your bee was still slightly damp (and hence a little cold), by tomorrow morning I'd imagine your bee should be good!

      Just opening the enclosure and letting sunlight warm your bee should hopefully do the trick, since your bee is acting as though it's just a little too cold still (and bumble bees take quite a bit of energy and time to get aloft). You might try removing any spots to hide when placing your bee in the sun too, to encourage warming up and flying off!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  79. We have bees living under a freezer .. we are moving and want a safe method to move them. So we can get rid of the freezer…. Without hurting any.. not sure how many there are.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chris

    1. I'm guessing yours are honey bees? Typically, local beekeepers are happy to come out and remove bees safely, housing them in a new hive. They do this for existing colonies as well as for swarms.

      I took a look for your area (assuming I have the right continent!), and you'll find contact information for beekeepers near you at the bottom of this page: https://norfolkbeekeepers.org.uk/swarms/

      Hope your bees have a safe move, along with your own!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  80. We found a honeybee sitting on a pepper plant leaf in our garden at night, hardly moving. It has been very warm for weeks and suddenly rainy and cold over the last day or so. We worried she was tired or cold so we gave her a bit of sugar water and she drank it. We left her to see if she would take off on her own and after an hour we came back and she was still there. She was also having trouble clinging to the leaf. I gently blew warm breath on her and when I did that she stirred and moved around. Each time I did that she moved more. But she seemed stuck on the leaf and it was getting late. We gently moved her to a flowering plant nearby, but it was higher and she was having trouble holding on. She didn’t seem very interested in the flowers. We put her on some lower flowers but she fell off and was crawling on the ground quite rapidly, but getting stuck in the thick grass. There were tons of ants nearby so we were worried they would swarm her. She was trying to buzz her little wings and fly but couldn’t seem to manage it. We waited a while and she was really struggling. I read about taking her inside so we did. We put her on a little cloth with some picked flowers on a board with a plastic cover with holes in it for ventilation (one of those microwave covers). She was fine at first, kind of cleaning herself (or that’s what it looked like) but then she realized she was trapped and kept trying to crawl out and was moving around very quickly. But she wasn’t flying or even buzzzing around so I was afraid to put her outside yet. But I felt so bad that she was freaking out. She eventually stopped and looks like she is lying down/sleeping maybe. Is that ok??? Is she just sleeping? Should we keep her overnight or let her go? If she won’t stay on a flower, where do we put her? It’s supposed to be sunny and warm tomorrow, but What happens if she doesn’t fly off in the morning sun? I want to help but don’t want to do more harm than good!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jessie

    1. I feel like I'm getting back to you too late, owing to the time difference between our locations. You did do the right thing in bringing your bee in, given the many ants and her ending up on the ground, unable to fly.

      I know it feels strange to keep bees in an enclosure when they so clearly want to be free. However if it's nighttime and no longer warm enough outdoors to fly, it can be helpful to bring them in for their own safety, even if they experience a little temporary discomfort. Once the bee cools down indoors (if their enclosure is placed somewhere cool), they'll naturally stop moving about too because they're cold-blooded, and that way they also won't waste energy trying to escape. They may indeed fall asleep then naturally too.

      Once it warms up a bit the following day, and the sun comes out, I'd place your bee's enclosure in direct sunlight with the cover off, near to where you found her (which I'm guessing you've already done). She may take awhile to warm up in the sun, and you may want to offer a few more drops of sugar-water in the interim.

      If there are flowers very close to where you found her, you could try gently encouraging her onto those too in the morning. She won't be able to cling well until she's well-warmed up though (as you found out last night). It may also take her several hours to get going in the morning, depending on how warm and sunny it is!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  81. The carpenter bee Disappeared it was on my back Porch And then the next morning it was not there

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to rylee

    1. Sorry for my late reply, I've been traveling. I'm not sure if you had a question? Were you expecting your carpenter bee to be on your back porch in the morning? Did it seem to be planning to nest there, but then disappeared unexpectedly? I've written up a few things about carpenter bees here, in case you're interested: https://savebees.org/carpenter-bees

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  82. Did I do the right thing? While driving tonight, I noticed a honey bee on my car's windshield when I arrived at my destination. I thought it was unusual to see a bee at this time of night (midnight), so I thought something might be wrong with it.

    I was thinking of a few possibilities:

    1. Maybe it's exhausted/lost?

    2. Maybe it's cold?

    3. Maybe it's asleep?

    Tonight's temperature was about 57F, and if the bee was along for the entire ride (it was about 15 minutes), then it had to have felt colder than that. It was just sitting still and not moving; I thought it might actually be dead because of how still it was, so I gave it a slight nudge with my finger and it started moving its antennae, but not doing much else.

    I'd heard about the trick to give them sugar water, and I happened to have a fresh bottle of water and a pack of sugar from a cafe. So I poured some water and some sugar into the bottle's cap, and tried picking up the bee by sliding the sugar pack under its feet.

    It began sluggishly walking away from the pack, but I kept trying to pick it up with the pack. Eventually I finally got it, then positioned the pack to the bottle cap so that the bee was facing the water. I guess the bee realized there was water in there, because I saw it stick its little tongue out and take a few licks, but didn't seem to keep at it as if it were thirsty.

    By that point it was getting more active, doing more walking, and its walking was getting faster. I let it back onto the pack and decided to let it down on some nearby flowers, and while I was distracted with walking over to the flowers, the bee ended up walking onto my hand.

    It was getting much more active now, walking all over my hands. I was still intent on letting it down onto the flowers, ideally by letting it walk onto them by its own volition—I didn't want to swipe, wipe, or shake it off of me. By the time I positioned my hand next to a flower, the bee suddenly briefly took off, jumping onto my shirt.

    I tried letting it walk back onto my hand, which it did, but then it suddenly took off again, this time fast enough and far enough that I immediately lost sight of it.

    Was there anything wrong with that bee? Why do you think it was just sitting there on my windshield, and how do you think it got there?

    Regardless, I hope I did the right thing giving it sugar water (even though it didn't drink as much as I thought it would) and I hope I didn't bother it too much 🤞. I came across this article after this incident, searching for what to do when you see a bee at night.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Leo

    1. I do apologize for replying so much later than when you wrote (I've been traveling).

      You did all the right things! I don't know what kind of bee yours was, but I'm sure it was cold (at 57°F bees are sluggish, unless they're able to warm up in direct sunlight). I think your bee was warming up on you by clambering all over your hand, and that doing so—along with the few sips of sugar-water mix—helped it get going again. Sounds like it was mostly just cold, since it didn't drink much, and flew off once it warmed up sufficiently.

      As to why it ended up on your windshield, that's up for debate. It must have flown there, but perhaps the windshield itself was just cold enough to make the bee feel even colder, and be unable to take off again after absorbing too much cold from the glass?

      Usually they're not out and about at night unless they make some kind of mistake and get caught out in the cold or rain. After a 15 minute drive, your bee may have had some trouble locating where it was planning to go, but let's hope it ended up somewhere that felt like home! If yours was a honey bee, they can often join other hives, even if they can't find their way back to their own hive.

      I'd imagine that's why your bee wasn't particularly interested in the flowers... it was more interested in flying back to wherever it had been planning to go that night, until it got caught out in the cold. They're very temperature-dependent, and a cold bee simply slows down to the point where it really can't do much at all. It's very kind of you to have allowed your bee to crawl over you; absorbing some of your body heat was just what it needed, I bee-lieve!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  83. Hi, I feel bad about this but I was in the pool today with some friends. I saw a bee had landed in the pool and so I got it out and set it aside near some leaves thinking that it would not go back in. However, the bee walked around the side of the pool for a bit, turned around for a moment, and then walked straight into the pool again. I felt bad because this is around when my parents said we had to leave so unfortunately it probably was left to a fate in the pool filter, but... how can I prevent the bee from going back in in the future? Did it go back in because it had been suffering too much and wanted to die? Or was it just kind of in a drunken state? Should I just put it further away from the pool next time? I put it around 2 feet away. Sorry for the sad story but I am wondering what to do next time. Thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jack

    1. Sorry to hear about your bee! I'm kind of guessing it was a honey bee, since those are the ones that most commonly fall into pools. I think they do so because they're the kinds of bees that live in hives (unlike most bees that are solitary). On warm days, honey bees need to cool their hives, so worker bees gather water. Once they're back at the hive, they regurgitate the water and then fanning their little wings a whole bunch near it, working like miniature evaporative air conditioners!

      So in all likelihood, your bee was intent on seeking water, and so it wouldn't have mattered how far away you put her, she'd have tried her luck again anyway with the pool. The one thing that can really help is to set up a shallow dish (like a plant saucer or shallow bowl) with a bunch of pebbles and fresh water in it. Bees will definitely go to that instead, if it's placed in the area kind of near the pool. Once they find it, they'll realize they can drink easily from the safety of the pebbles, and they'll direct their hive mates to the same place.

      It's kind of you to care, and to try to help! I hope you're able to put a dish with pebbles out, even if it is a shared pool. Maybe put some kind of note about bee-ing kind to pollinators, to explain the dish? Bees'll totally use it, I've seen them sipping away, all lined up along the pebbles, when folks are kind enough to provide fresh water in a way that makes it easy for them to drink safely! And they'll never sting anyone unless they're threatened, they just need water too!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for the kind, helpful and quick explanation and answer! My parents said they are worried about the dish attracting mosquitoes but they are willing to give it a try! Thank you so much.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Jack

        1. Ah, I was at a Xerces Society webinar some months back, and they addressed this (they're a great organization who do a lot of working helping pollinators). Mosquito larvae take around a week (usually between 8-10 days) to mature into adults, so the key is simply to empty the water out every several days, replacing it with fresh water. That way there's no way for mosquitoes to complete the aquatic portion of their lifecycle!

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          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  84. It is almost June, but it is colder than normal today because we have a tropical depression moving through. This morning, I found a bumble clinging to a green bean leaf, rolled slightly sideways, kicking one of it's legs up in the air, repeatedly. I can't tell if it is cold or poisoned. I don't have pesticides, but I'm sure they are in the neighborhood. It had no pollen on it for me to think it is pollen drunk. What should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ash

    1. It may be that your bee is simply cold, though if it has the energy to raise its leg repeatedly, then I'm kind of thinking it's not that cold. Did it raise its middle leg repeatedly, by chance? That's bumble bee for "I'd rather be left alone!" They do it with other bees, and also when they feel someone is approaching too closely.

      I've not heard the phrase "pollen drunk" before, and I'm not sure I see how pollen would negatively affect a bee. They're usually collecting pollen as protein-rich food for their young, and don't consume it themselves. I've read that bees may occasionally forage on fermented nectar and become inebriated, but I've never seen such behavior myself (and only read of it in honey bees).

      It's impossible to rule out pesticides, but the acute effects are pretty striking: falling over, circling, twitching, convulsing. It doesn't sound like your bee is doing any of those things.

      It's not too unusual for bees to spend nights outside, clinging to flowers or leaves. If you're bee is still there, I'd try moving it to a bee-friendly flower, and seeing if it does any better. Ideally in the sunshine. You may see both middle legs go up, if you do that though!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. It was the middle leg! There was another larger bumble foraging ver close to it. So, perhaps between the 2 of us, it felt very threatened.

        Unfortunately, there is no sunshine to be seen today. I found another bumble happily sleeping on my marigolds. I had one asleep in the cucumber flowers last year. This was just behavior I have never seen before.

        Thank you for the quick reply! I will see if it is still there.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Ash

  85. I am planning to set up a bee project at a primary school and wondered if you could point us to some plants bees like and where to best position them? Away from the playground? The school has a few greenish corners and some lawn areas and is otherwise surrounded by a massive construction sites (lots of dust and noise) and a recycling center. Is it at all possible to attract bees in such an urban setting?

    Many thanks

    Manfred

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mr Manfred

    1. Yes, you can totally attract bees in such a setting. Bees are even becoming more abundant in some urban areas, so long as they can find flowers and nearby nesting sites! Given your locale, I'd point you to the UK-based Bumblebee Conservation Trust website. Their resources will attract all kinds of bees (not just bumbles) too!

      I would explore their resources here specifically: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/beethechange/resources/?tag=gardening-for-beginners#main

      You might also start by looking at this PDF, with advice that can be adapted to various outdoor spots: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/beethechange/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Gardening-Bumblebees-Getting-Started.pdf#btcresource

      I notice they also have a Bumblebee-friendly Schools project, which might be of interest to you: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/bumblebee-friendly-schools/

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  86. Hi there. We found what I think is a carpenter bee today and it looked very sluggish and hot (76* day today) so I gave it sugar water and even a dropper bath with clean water because it was sticky and dirty and it’s been a few hours now and it’s dried up and moving around. What else can I do to help it? I think we’re friends now, it freaky likes me and wants to hold onto my finger

    Thanks for the help. Th is is my first time helping a bee.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kirsten

    1. It sounds like you've helped your bee a lot already! Your temperature sounds good too, it won't be too hot for your bee. There may have been some other reason for the sluggishness (to do with the sticky dirty appearance, which is unusual for a bee)? Bees usually get more active as the temperature warms (temps past which it's too hot for them would be over 100°F).

      Your finger may well feel warm to your bee! I'm wondering if your buzzy friend may have flown off by the time I reply, but sometimes bees take awhile to get going after being sluggish. Try putting your bee in direct sunlight on a patch of bee-friendly flowers, or offer more sugar-water while letting your bee bask in sun rays.

      It's kind of you to look out for bees, and help out a bee in need 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for your help. He’s actually still resting on some flowers. I believe he has a hurt wing though.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kirsten

        1. Aww what a cute bee! I’m replying on the website ‘cos otherwise my message may not reach you (I’m having less luck lately with email). But I did see your photos! And I’m not quite so concerned about the wing damage now, since even though it’s a fair bit, it’s on the end of the wings, rather than affecting how the wings are held in flight.

          Judging by the ragged look though, yours is either an older bee or one that’s really been through something. Even with access to flowers, given your bee’s condition I’d make sure to offer more sugar water (you can always add a drop or two to the flower your bee is on). Funny that he gave you the legs-up… they do that when they feel someone’s too close (even after all your help)!

          Flying short distances is a good sign, generally speaking. Sometimes it takes bees quite awhile to recover after something traumatic, but I’m hoping that with continual warmth, flowers, and sugar-water as needed, your buzzy little friend should recover!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

        2. I’m sorry to hear that your bee may have a hurt wing. If that’s the case, it pretty much consigns them to a short life. I’ve known some folks bring such bees into enclosures with access to potted flowering plants and/or freshly-cut flowers with drops of sugar-water on them (since a flightless bee will have trouble visiting a sufficient number of flowers, and they make easy prey for birds too).

          I wish we could give them prosthetic wings, as are done for some migrating monarchs! But bee wings are complex, with how the two wings on either hinge together on-the-fly (quite literally) so as to form one wing surface on either side in flight.

          Feel free to reply directly to the email you receive from my website with photos/video, if you’d like me to take a closer look at your bee!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  87. Hi, I was outside doing garden work and I notice a bee stuck in water , so I took him out and noticed he was still alive and found a flower to put him on , so I checked back he was off the flower on the table the flower was on ,but he was sort of curled so I gently put him i, under the flower and tried to cover over him to give it some protection maybe until he would recover , not sure what else I could have done any help would be appreciated , feel kind bad for the poor little guy. Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Anthony

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your bee, curling up isn't a good sign. Was there sunlight to warm and dry your bee? Did you try a little sugar-water mix? It doesn't sound as though your bee had the energy to cling to the flower. It may also be, sadly, that your bee was in the water for too long. They breathe along little openings in the sides of their bodies, so getting stuck in water is life-threatening for them.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  88. This website is so cool, I just wanted to let you know!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to BB

    1. That's so kind of you to say! Bees are incredible creatures 🐝💛✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  89. Rescued a bumblebee from cold and wet on screened in porch. I bright it inside overnight bc it was late. I had a carrier for bugs that I bought with netting. I placed it inside. The next morning I read your article regarding sugar water. She didn’t seem interested. She’s making buzzing sounds when I touch her but not much movement. She does mice her legs in a way that seems like she’s wanting me not to touch her. I was only trying to feed her with a pipette. Bc she has moved towards the drops of sugar water yet. I placed a qtip with water under her and she’s resting of sorts with front legs on it. I’m just concerned bc I don’t want her to starve.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ronna Davis

    1. I would definitely get her outdoors into direct sunlight when you have a chance (once your weather cooperates). If she's not extending her tongue into the sugar-water, she's probably not hungry. The good thing is that if she's not moving much, she won't be burning up much of her energy.

      Sometimes bees do need a little help realizing that the sugar-water droplets are food. If you touch her antennae or her feet ever so slightly with the sugar-water, that may entice her. Another trick is to put a drop or two on a cut bee-friendly flower such as a dandelion. If she doesn't respond to one of these, then it's safe to assume she's fine and won't starve.

      If she lifts one or both middle legs when you approach her, that's her way of hoping you'll back off... bumble bees do that with each other too, when one comes too close to a flower that another is on!

      If she's making buzzing sounds but not moving her wings, she may be trying to warm herself. She may also buzz with her wings without flying, again in an effort to warm up and ready herself for flight. Since it's already later in the day where you are, I'd let her settle down in her carrier somewhere cool for the evening/night, and hope that warm and sunny weather arrives soon, so she can warm up in the sun rays (ideally on bee-friendly flowers) and bee on her way!

      Reply

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  90. Have you ever kept a bee hive? Just wondering because I did not see any mite information on your site.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kdog

    1. I’ve only ever hosted numerous native bees on my property. Honey bees have so many dedicated beekeeper websites already with a wealth of information on their mites (Varroa destructor).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  91. On Wednesday morning we discovered a bumblebee that seemed to be dying in our yard. We observed it but let it be. Thursday morning, my son was curious about it so we went to where it had been and discovered it had died as we suspected. Thinking his classmates might want to observe it closely, we gently collected the bee and kept it in an open container in our home. This morning, (Friday) it is alive! I replaced it to the spot where it was collected and am hoping it will be okay. What did we encounter?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kerry

    1. Was it a particularly large bumble bee, by chance? At this time of year, young queen bumble bees are emerging from their solitary winter hibernation. They awaken as temperatures warm, but they often get caught out in cold snaps, owing to the time of year.

      Since all bees are cold-blooded, they can appear remarkably dead when they're cold, only to revive with surprising energy once they're warmed up again! Bumble bees do have a special trick too, wherein they "shiver" their flight muscles in order to warm up... but that trick only works for them if they're already warm enough to shiver!

      Since queen bumble bees at this time of year have often not yet established new nest sites (which are typically underground), it's more likely to find them outdoors in odd places in early springtime, sometimes frozen in place for hours or even several days at a time!

      At night, and during cold weather, they slow down and enter a state of "torpor", where they're pretty much unable to move at all. They're still able to cling onto things, but they'll hardly move a leg until the ambient air temperature starts to approach 60°F (though if sunlight hits them for awhile, that helps them get going).

      So I believe you found a queen bumble bee, who I'd imagine would have been able to fly today, judging by your weather forecast (it looks to have been reasonably warm where you are today, when I looked it up)! Ideally, she'll have done some foraging (to top up her energy with nectar), as well as started scouting about for a good place to start a new colony of bumble bees for the season! Bumble bees colonies are seasonal, with the bees dispersing in fall, and only young queens overwintering, each in their own tiny burrow 🐝💛

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  92. Just found your site and I LOVE it - thank you so much!

    I just watched the video of John and the bumble bee - it was so sweet : )

    Another one you may like is a lady in Scotland (I think) who found a beautiful bumble bee without any wings so she made a home for her in a box and looked after her until she died - bittersweet. It's still on YT.

    Sorry Elise it wasn't a question but I'm sure that I have hundreds : )

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Angela

    1. Aww that's so sweet of you to say! I love hearing from folks who love bees as much as I do!!

      I had not seen the story of a bumble bee without wings that was cared for, thank you for sharing that! I so wish we could repair bees' wings somehow, or be able to give them new prosthetic wings! It's been done with monarch butterflies, but bees have complex wings (each pair on either side of their body hooks together in flight, to make one wing surface per side).

      I did find a bald-faced hornet once with what looked like deformed wing virus (that's a honey bee virus, but there's some indication it can spread to other bee relatives). I brought it sugar-water every day outdoors, keeping an eye on it to ensure it was as comfortable as possible until the end of its little life. Hornets have a bad reputation, but I've found these close bee relatives to be quite sweet too, so long as they're treated gently.

      Thanks again for writing in to share your love of bees 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  93. currently sat with a bumble bee on my hand. i think its sleeping. its in my office warming up and resting. it occasionally has a little wander and then nods off again.

    im on a building site and this isnt the first ive seen what can i do for the others that are sure to surface ?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to sarah

    1. Queen bumble bees are emerging at this time of year, so I'm thinking those are the ones you're seeing surfacing there. They hibernate individually underground during winter, before awaking in early spring to begin their new colony for the season.

      Any bees you happen upon that are moving slowly will enjoy soaking up your warmth, particularly on cool or less sunny days! They may "nod off" if they feel safe, absorbing your warmth before wandering again (often not flying at all, since it takes a bumble bee queen a lot of energy to fly)!

      You'll help them by letting any that are sluggish warm up on you if they seem inclined to do so. If you have bee-friendly flowers nearby, you could gently transfer any bees you find onto flowers once they're more warmed up? Crocuses are one of their favorites in the areas I'm familiar with, and if you see other bumble bees visiting specific flowers in the area, that's always a good sign.

      I'm hoping that with the building site work, they're not emerging earlier than they otherwise would be. It's not surprising to see queen bumble bees out just as spring is "springing" though. As a result, they often spend stretches of days and nights sheltering from rain and cold weather (under leaf litter, fallen wood, or inside some flowers), waiting for the sun to come out again. After foraging, they'll start searching for a place they'll call home for the season (often abandoned mouse burrows underground).

      If your weather forecast looks inclement, try placing your bees in undisturbed places to shelter that are near bee-friendly flowers. Ideally spots that'll be bathed in sunlight once the sun comes out! If there aren't any good bee flowers nearby, you might trying mixing up some sugar-water solution too (50/50 granulated white sugar with room temperature water), and offer them a few drops as a quick energy boost to help them, along with warming them up!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  94. I found a carpenter bee on the beach, struggling in the sand. It crawled right into my hand, and I have gotten it away from the sand. It does not feel well enough to grab onto a flower, but it does seem to want to hang out on my hand. I used a Q-tip and a little bit of water to remove the clumps of sand but I don’t know what else to do from here.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jessica

    1. Your hand will help warm your bee, which may give it enough energy to be able to grab onto a flower. I'm guessing you have no source of sugar-water nearby? Flower nectar would certainly do the trick too (so long as it's a bee-friendly flower with nectar ready). I think probably the best thing you can do is to let your bee crawl on you for a little while here to soak up some of your warmth, which should prompt it then to begin cleaning itself. Once it seems warmer and hopefully more energized, try moving it onto a flower again.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. He seems to be napping on and off but he has been using his legs to try to clean himself. He still isn’t interested too much in the flowers. He prefers to be back on me, so I guess he probably does want the warmth since he was flipping around in the wet Sand by the ocean.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Jessica

        1. Sounds like your bee is mostly just cold (and possibly damp too, which makes it feel chillier). Your bee may wish to warm up on you for quite awhile (depending on how cold/damp it feels), so I hope you don't mind a buzzably adorable companion for awhile there! Once your bee is warmer and drier, it'll stop resting as much and begin cleaning itself more actively, then ideally trying some little test buzzes before taking off. Bees really need to be well-warmed (and dry!) in order to fly, so if you have any sunlight there, it'd be good to let your bee bask in that too, while it's soaking up your warmth 💛🐝

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          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  95. Hello Elise,

    I found a large bumble bee outside yesterday, face down in a bucket of water. I took her out and set her on the ground in the sunlight, and she moved very slightly so I could tell she was alive. When I went back to check on her before sunset, she was still there but unmoving. Concerned that it would get too cold for her to survive the night, I brought her indoors. Since I don't have a shoebox to use, I found another cardboard box instead - but it is very small, about 4 inches cubed. She was moving around, climbing up the inside of the box after being inside for a few minutes. By this point, I had offered her the sugar water, but she didn't seem interested at all, and I didn't see her take any. Before turning in for the night, I removed the sugar water container from her box to prevent her from drowning.

    The next morning when I checked on her, she was completely still in the corner of the box. I feared that she had died, partly because on a website I read that bees can die if they are trapped indoors. I took her box outdoors and tried to move her with a flower to see if she was alive. At first she didn't respond, but after a while I noticed miniscule movements hardly detectable to the eye. I turned the box on its side and left it out so she could crawl away if she wanted. I have gone back to check a couple times over the past few hours since, and she hasn't moved at all.

    For the next few days, the weather is going to be below 50 F in the day and almost freezing at night, with showers throughout. I am uncertain whether it is best to bring her in again tonight, since it seems as though doing so last night didn't help her - or whether to let her stay outdoors from now on.

    What would you advise? And if I do take her in again, how can I make sure that she improves? Is there any concern I might harm her more by having her indoors?

    Thank you so much for your time!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sophia

    1. I'm guessing she's a queen bumble bee freshly awoken from hibernation, given the time of year and her large size.

      My first thought is that she may not have dried out fully yet, which would make her that much colder. My next thought is that the size of the box—while smaller than ideal—is still sufficient for her, so long as she's not moving about much. And if she's cold, she won't move much.

      There's no inherent danger in bringing her indoors. If she were outdoors, she'd naturally take shelter from frost somewhere for the next few days, waiting out the chilly/showery weather. She might shelter under leaves, in a hole in the ground, or even inside a flower that closes (such as a crocus).

      The problem for her currently is that she'd need energy and warmth to find her own such safe place currently. If she's chilled (and still damp) in an exposed area outdoors, she won't be able to move much, leaving her vulnerable to predation as well as frost.

      If you do bring her indoors, perhaps you might be able to find a larger enclosure for her? It can even be plastic, so long as there's some kind of breathable aspect to it. You could perhaps add some dead leaves to give her something to clamber over and under. If you do bring her in, make sure to keep her enclosure cool at night.

      For her to improve, she'll need warmth and energy. Bees can look like they're on their last legs when they're cold and damp, only to revive quickly in sunlight, with a little nectar or sugar-water. One way to be safe is to keep her enclosure somewhere cool night and day, mimicking the outdoor temperatures, just without the risks of freezing or being eaten by some warm-blooded creature like a bird.

      Once it gets above 50°F with a little sunlight outdoors, I think you'll be surprised how she'll buzz back to life! It may take a few hours in the sun, but what happens typically is bees spend awhile cleaning themselves and drinking a little food, before doing a series of "test buzzes" with their wings, and then taking off. If you've some spring flowers nearby, I'd put her open enclosure near them—with her body in direct sunlight—on a good morning.

      If you do instead prefer to leave her outdoors, I'd maybe cut a hole for her to crawl from in the side of that small box, and then leave her covered inside it so that she has protection from frost as well as from predators seeing her. She'll naturally crawl through the visible opening of light once temperatures warm her up.

      It's kind of you to have saved her from that bucket of water! Bees breathe along holes in the sides of their body, and immersion is extremely dangerous for any length of time as a result. Bees can waste a lot of energy struggling at first too, so it'd be good to try to get some sugar-water into her once she's moving more. But she's probably fine without food if she's unmoving and cold currently.

      Do let me know if you have any further concerns, and feel free to reply directly to the email from my website, if you wish to send any photos/videos 🐝💛✨

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  96. My shitty neighbors complained about a bea hive and someone came and destroyed the hive with pesticide.

    I found some of the bees still alive including what I think are 2 queens. It's getting dark and cold out so I brought them inside, I'm hoping they will survive the night (2nd day after spraying) Anything besides a bit of sugar water and letting them out in the morning that I can do for them? Would a bee place give a hoot about 2 queens maybe?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Misty

    1. Wow that is terrible to hear 😔

      Sugar water will help your rescued bees. It would be unusual for there to be two honey bee queens, but I'd be able to give a better identification if I could take a look at them. Honey bee queens have unusually long rear ends compared to honey bee workers. Feel free to reply to the email you get from my website with photos/videos.

      All bees would benefit from sugar water and a safe place to recover after what happened. Keep their enclosure somewhere relatively cool tonight, so that they don't get fooled by warm indoor temperatures and think it's time to go flying off. I've seen honey bees that are slightly poisoned seem to recover with time. In the morning, once it begins warming up, offer them more sugar water and see if they'll fly off once you put them out in the sunlight.

      Honey bees without a colony will try to find a colony to join, and so long as they come bearing gifts (sugar/nectar/pollen), they'll usually be accepted into a new hive.

      It's really awful that folks reach for pesticides whenever they're "bothered by" or "afraid of" nature, especially in these times of plummeting pollinator diversity and abundance. Spraying ever-more pesticides is only making things worse, for humans too!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  97. Hi, my boyfriend and I found a bumblebee on the floor of our balcony after a drizzle with some very strong winds today at 3pm (we’re on the 9th floor) and we fed it a mixture of abit of cane sugar and water, it ate it for abit and stopped moving, then after Googling around found out that white sugar and water 1:1 ratio is the best so we drip it around the bee and it drank abit and is slightly moving from time to time but it’s still seems like it’s dying/almost dead. Local temp. is around 11C and we followed your advice to keep the bee in a shoebox with some holes. We’re still so terrified the bee isn’t gonna make it as it’s now 5pm and the bee is still barely moving, the wings and body is slight wet? (Has tiny droplets around him). How would we know if it’s going to survive or not?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lala

    1. Your bee is (in all likelihood) simply cold. 11°C along with a lack of sunlight plus wind-chill (and being slightly wet) would make any bee seem super-slow, almost dead. That lethargy is because they're cold-blooded. I would bet that your bee would revive in sunlight.

      Unfortunately your weather forecast looks chilly and rainy for the foreseeable future. If your bee is a large bumble bee queen, she's probably recently emerged from hibernation. She'll want to be outdoors searching for a good nesting site (even in light rain and cold weather).

      Bumble bees can generate their own warmth by vibrating their wing muscles (which looks a bit like "shivering" to us)! But they need energy to do that. So it's good you've offered her sugar-water.

      Bumble bees do tend to push their luck with the weather, but ideally she'd shelter underneath leaf litter or logs or similar, waiting out periods of rain (sometimes they "sleep" in flowers that close fully like crocuses, and are then "awakened" at the appropriate time, since those flowers open when hit with sunlight). I've seen a bumble bee queen spend five nights this way, in weather similar to yours!

      You won't hurt her by giving her a place to shelter for the moment, especially since it's nighttime where you are. Just keep her box somewhere cool, and make sure there's no chance of ants getting to it, given the droplets of sugar-water. Tomorrow—especially if there's a break in the rain, and any sunlight at all—you could give her a head start by warming her up (in her enclosure) in a cozy indoor room, as well as offering further drops of sugar water.

      If there's an area nearby with spring bulbs like crocuses, where there's also shelter under leaves or similar (and especially if you know there are abandoned mouse burrows nearby, which are a favorite nesting place of many bumble bees!), you might consider taking her there and opening up her box (after she's well warmed and ideally has had some sugar-water), to see if she chooses to go.

      Depending on her inclinations and the weather, you may also end up with a tiny extra guest for several nights (if you so choose)! If you can't accommodate her staying for so long, then try to find a good sheltered spot outdoors: one near easily accessible bee-friendly flowers, and also a place where sunlight hits (once the sun is out).

      Let me know if you have any more concerns (feel free to reply to the email you receive from my website with photos/videos). To put your mind at ease, there's no need to worry about a bee that's barely moving when it's cold and damp (or even when it's simply just cold). The time to be concerned is if your bee continues barely moving after it is well-warmed up and dry (for instance, after spending some time in a cozy room, or basking in sunlight for awhile). Sometimes they spend hours slowly warming up, but once they're warm (and have energy from nectar or sugar-water), they appear to "revive" almost miraculously!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  98. I found a soaking wet bee, not moving (actually I thought it was dead) I bought it home, and saw it’s leg moving. I’ve had it 2 days now, in an open container with flowers and green leaves and it’s moving, fidgeting and mostly dangling off the end of a pastry brush in my kitchen….! It seems quite content, I’ve provided sugar water and daffodils but it hasn’t been near either, and if it moves it walks to the other end of the brush but returns and hangs again.. i have lots of photos i can send you, i just would like to know whether that’s ok, is it normal bee behaviour? I assume it’s drying out but i’m fascinated and want to know if I’m doing the right thing for the bee…. It’s pouring with rain so I want to keep it warm and dry, but what else can I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jd

    1. Sounds like perfectly normal behavior for a bee in these circumstances!

      I'm not surprised about your bee's lack of interest in daffodils, since they're not often visited by bees. There's an interesting web page here on that subject (the gist is that daffodils have been bred by people for their showiness and beauty, and in the selection process they have lost the attributes that are attractive to pollinators): https://www.honeybeesuite.com/who-pollinates-the-daffodils/

      Is your bee very large and fluffy? At this time of year, queen bumble bees are the most common bee to find in inclement weather, having recently emerged from their winter hibernation underground.

      Bees can't fly in the rain easily (though they can handle light rain). The forecast for your area indicates rain for awhile, but she'll want to get on with her life too. If she were out there on her own, she'd ideally have found somewhere to wait out the rain (perhaps inside a crocus flower, or beneath some leaves). At this time of year, her first objective will be to forage for nectar to replenish her energy, and then she'll be looking for a place underground to begin her new colony: note that bumble bees favor abandoned mouse burrows!

      If she had pollen on her hindlegs when you found her, that means she's already started working on a colony. My guess is that's not the case though? In terms of taking care of her, I'd ensure that her enclosure is somewhere relatively cool, so that she doesn't waste energy, nor feel that it's time to be out and about, when the weather outdoors is so different. The cooler she is, the more she'll slow down. If she were outdoors, she would enter a state of "torpor" for awhile, so cold as to be unmoving, while awaiting warmth and sun.

      For the most part, your temperatures are close to what she's evolved to deal with at this time of year. However, in the state you found her—unsheltered and soaking wet—she was definitely at risk, so it's good that you picked her up! They breathe through little holes along the sides of their bodies, so being soaked can be life-threatening, especially when they're too cold to move to safety.

      I'd try to release her as soon as you get a series of days at or above 10°C. Even if it's mixed weather, with rain showers and sporadic sunlight, she may well be inclined to be off on her way. Releasing her is as simple as putting her open container outdoors, and waiting to see if she leaves. It's a good idea to ensure she's topped up with sugar-water before flying off. They tend not to fly off immediately in such cases, but prefer to soak up sun rays and spend time cleaning themselves, sometimes taking a few hours before leaving.

      I'd love to see your photos! Feel free to reply directly to the email you receive from my website with photos or videos 💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hello Elise,

        my wife found a large bumblebee 5th March,on our patio, she was moving very slowly (the bumblebee), we believe it was a queen, about 1 and a half inches long and healthy looking, nice size with healthy wings and very fluffy and dry but just very still,I think she had been caught out by the cold snap we had had(we are in Germany)day time temperature was about zero C .

        We also did similar to above as JD did,flowers, sugar water some sticks and leaves except we had her in a shoe box covered with some metal gauze(we have a cat).we were all over the internet trying to find what best to do,we got some good info but I wish we had found your site then because she recovered really well on the sugar water , which we refreshed every morning ,but, fact is, she recovered too well,she was constantly trying to get out of the box and even started "boring" a hole in the side of the shoe box(we felt terrible like we had imprisoned her)but the temp outside was minus 2 minus 4 and so on, cruel to be kind? ,then found your site today , I read your information and realised the mistake we made was keeping her too warm, her box was in our conservatory, 20 ish deg C., ..I did however partially cover her box with newspaper to give a "nighttime effect"..SO to my question,(I knew we would get there in the end) we waited until today 13th March to let her go because the weather forecast is above 10 deg C for at least a week(it was actually 16 C today)so 7 am today we put her at the door,,she waited about 2 minutes and then zoom! straight up in the air and gone ,not even a thank you ;) and I mean she flew up there like a rocket! (good sign I hope) the problem is, this evening at about 18:00 we had a huge thunderstorm with hail and rain but the temp is still 10-11 C do you think the 10 or so hours she had of mild overcast weather was enough to find a safe place during the storm? it was a short storm but wow the house was shaking,

        Best regards

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Derek

        1. Zooming off like a rocket is a good sign!

          I would definitely think she would have been able to find shelter, given that she had 10 hours of good weather today (especially with a high of 16°C). Since she was already topped up on sugar-water, her instinct would have been to find a good spot underground (such as an abandoned mouse burrow) in which to begin her new colony for the year. I would think it's likely that she was underground by the time of your storm.

          She should also have had a sense that some serious weather was coming. Studies have shown that other social bees (such as honey bees) are able to gauge the intensity of approaching bad weather, adjusting their foraging behaviors accordingly. Although bumble bee queens seem to "push their luck" in early spring more than honey bees might, I still think she'd have had a sense (based on meteorological factors such as humidity and barometric pressure) that some seriously bad weather was imminent, which would have prompted her to seek shelter.

          It's so kind of you to have housed her until the weather forecast improved! Bees definitely don't have long-range weather forecasts, so it's helpful at this time of year to keep them safe, particularly during lengthy freezing cold snaps.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. hello Elise

            thanks for that we both feel a little more relieved,today is 12 C overcast but very calm ,the calm after the storm ;)

            regards derek

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to derek

  99. Hi

    We’ve had a windy storm which brought a giant dead tree down with a honeybee hive now exposed. It’s been warm but it’s supposed to freeze tomorrow night. Can I help these bees? Blanket? Tarp? Anything?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Peggy

    1. If it's warm right now, they may move to a new location themselves. What I'd do though, since they're honey bees, is call a local beekeeper to come and get them, as they'll definitely not want to freeze tonight, that wouldn't be good at all! Here's a link where you should be able to look up a phone number for someone in your area: https://www.mdbeekeepers.org/swarm-retrieval-list/

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  100. Hi Elise,

    I'm currently in cold northern Italy, and while walking in the mountains, I came across a bombus terrestris (according to Google images) on the side of a road. It appeared to be dead, but when I gently touched it, it tried to "hug" my finger. So I moved it from the street to the grass, and it began to walk towards me, up to my shoe, " hugging" my shoelaces, jeans, and fingers. I didn't know what to do because I was afraid the nest was somewhere nearby, so I left it in the grass near a paper glass, to use as temporary home.

    But I felt bad because I wanted to take her with me. I thought about her all night, and this morning I took the one and only bus back up to the mountains. I found her! But she was freezing like icicle. I couldn't rely on nature this time, so I put her in a small plastic open box over my hands to warm her up. She began to move again after two minutes. I brought her home, gave her water and sugar, she drank, walked, but she can't fly.

    Now that it's night, she's still inside the house, and I've placed her in an open box with fake flowers because I've read that they can become depressed otherwise. She has mites as well, and they all became visible after a few hours. I only managed to extract one from her. What else can I do when she isn't flying?Anyway she comes walking in my hand, sometimes 🥺❤️.

    Thank you

    Eloise 🐝

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Eloise

    1. That's so amazing that you took the one-and-only bus back up into the mountains, to help your bumble bee!

      I'm guessing she's a large-ish bumble bee, given the time of year? I'd imagine she's a queen bumble bee who has recently awakened from hibernation. What are the temperatures (daytime highs and nighttime lows) in your part of the country right now?

      The good thing about her being a queen so early in the year, is that she won't yet have established a nest. So it's not a problem to have moved her a good distance from where you found her. And she really did sound too cold ("hugging" you for warmth)!

      As for her mites, surprisingly they're not harmful to bumble bees. They're "hitchhikers" and although they do hope to end up in a nest with her, they basically hop off once there, and nibble detritus. So you don't have to worry about removing those (the mites that are so well-known as problems for honey bees are much larger, and those mites only parasitize honey bees).

      She sounds to me as though she's not flying simply because she's not yet warm enough to fly. All bees need to be well-warmed before they're able to fly. Bumble bee queens, being heavier, are even slower to fly than other bees (often walking when they're just warm enough). At this time of year, bumble bee queens do spend nights outdoors in the cold, but they're not able to move at all when they're that cold, and so they need to shelter somewhere protected from frost (and predators)! They can handle short periods of very cold temperatures, but it is dangerous for them.

      Since it's night time where you are, I wouldn't try warming her up more tonight. She'll be fine overnight indoors in a cool-ish room. It'll depend on your upcoming weather, when might be a good time to release her. Sunny warm days are ideal, but anything above 13°C in the daytime (ideally closer to or above 15°C) would work well for her. In the meantime, you have a buzzy house guest ☺️

      Whatever the weather, tomorrow morning definitely check in on her and offer a few drops of sugar-water (she doesn't need much, and she'll be a bit clumsy if she's still cold and moving slowly). On days where it seems better to keep her with you (since you're able to judge far better than her, with your weather forecast!), I'd let her warm up some indoors, just not so much to where she's trying to fly. I'm sure she loves walking on your hand for warmth!

      On a good day to release her, you could then put her outdoors in the full sun, offering more sugar water. The warmer she is, the more active she'll be. If you watch her for awhile, you'll probably see her doing little "test buzzes" with her wings, before she's able to fly off. Sometimes it can take a couple hours for queen bumble bees to get airborne in the morning, depending on how fast they warm up! If you place her on some bee-friendly flowers close to the ground, she may even walk rather than fly between flowers. But she'll be able to fly once she's fully warmed up and energized!

      That's so kind of you to go back to find her again, and provide a safe environment for her until the weather improves! Every bee matters these days, and I've read that Bombus terrestris nests can be quite large (between 300-400 bees), so by helping her, you're helping many future bees 🐝💛🐝💛🐝

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I pushed the bottom while I was still writing:)

        I'm happy when I meet people who love nature the way I do, it's a pleasure meeting you here🐝😊

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Eloise

      2. Thank you for responding so quickly!

        Yes, I took that bus; it's a very remote location where I found her; I was feeling so bad the entire night that I didn't want to make a mistake taking her, but it was too cold for me. I cried because I was so happy to see her again. I'm hoping I'll be able to save her. It's very cold here, with lows of -2/-3 at night. During the day, the temperature is around 7/8°, but it is perceived as lower. It should improve in two weeks. Do you think she can survive on sugary water for that long?

        I believe she is a queen; she is about 2.5cm long, but when I was in Sweden, I saw queens much larger than this one, they call them" airplane bee:)". I thought she was hugging because she was looking for her flower🥺.

        Thank you Elise

        Eloise

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Eloise

        1. I'm so happy you went back for her with temperatures that low! Anywhere below -5°C is particularly dangerous for them. And your daytime temperatures are still only adequate for sheltering somewhere unmoving. It sounds as though she emerged from hibernation a bit too early, perhaps fooled by briefly warmer temperatures near where she was overwintering in the soil.

          I'm not familiar with European bees personally, but I have a bee identification book here that suggests Bombus terrestris queens are typically 18mm from head to tail. At 25mm, I'd say your bee is certainly a queen bumble bee (I'd love to see those Swedish "airplane bees")!

          She'll be just fine with sugar-water mix for as long as a couple of weeks. Do keep a good eye on her, especially while you're still "getting to know" her and her bee-havior! You'll see when she's drinking, because her extended proboscis will be very noticeable (they have red, long "tongues"). Usually they're good at finding the droplets of sugar-water, but it can depend on the bee, and sometimes barely touching a drop to one of her antenna can clue her in, if she has trouble discovering the source of food. Sometimes I put droplets of sugar-water on recently cut bee-friendly flowers, though it sounds like there won't be too many flowers yet where you are!

          Keep her cool-ish at nighttime (so she doesn't waste energy, and also to keep her day/ night/ seasonal rhythms intact). Move her enclosure somewhere warmer during the day, but not so warm to where she's trying to fly (if she starts to try to fly, simply move her enclosure somewhere cooler, and she'll quickly settle down again). Offer her sugar-water from time to time during the days (every few hours?... you'll get to know how often, because she'll only drink if she's hungry).

          Enjoy her company too! It's so special to bee able to observe bees so closely, and offer a helping (and warm!) hand 🐝✨

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Thanks again 😊

            Yes, the "airplane bees" are so amazing. We call them that way because they are big and make a lot of noise:). When I moved to Sweden I noticed insects are bigger there, compared to the rest of Europe.

            So it is absolutely ok that she's lethargic and, for instance, she kept the same position the whole night, right? I offered her a 3cm plastic plate filled with sugary water and gently moved it in front of her, then took a drop with my finger and placed it close to her mouth. She then began to drink a lot. I recorded videos of her 🥰. Then I realized she also stretches; I assumed she was in pain and was terrified she might suffer, but then she started walking, so I assumed she was stretching. I only have roses in my garden right now. I was planning to put her on one of them as soon as it gets warmer, but I've read that grounded flowers are a better option. What do you think? Thanks again 🐝🥰,

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Eloise

            1. I was asleep when you last wrote, hence my later reply!

              It is absolutely normal to see her looking and behaving lethargically, and not moving from one position through the whole night. That's just how bees are when they're cold; they really like to be warm in order to move! You may have read on my page here that bumble bees are quite special in the cold-blooded world, in so far as they can raise their own body temperatures by "shivering". This is when they decouple their flight muscles from their wings, then vibrating those muscles in order to warm themselves up. While bumble bees can sometimes fly at surprisingly low temperatures (around 10°C or even a bit lower), they cannot take off unless their flight muscles are above 30°C. Bumble bees aim for toasty body temperatures between 30°C to 40°C during flight.

              And yes, stretching and grooming are common behaviors too. She sounds very comfortable with you, and it's great that she drank plenty of sugar water, that's a good sign!

              In terms of your flowers, it depends on the type of rose. What I'd call "dog roses" (the wild roses with visible stamens, that have "rose hips" on the bushes at the end of the season) are definitely bee-friendly, but the much more common cultivated roses (the ones where layers of petals are all you see, without the open center, and that we traditionally think of when we think of roses) don't work for bees, as they're not able to access the pollen and nectar within. Do you have any dandelions? Are there any spring bulbs in your area that may be coming up through the leaf litter in the coming week or two? The reason flowers close to the ground are better is that bumble bees (especially large queens) are prone to falling when they're too cold to fly but are still trying to move around, so flowers like crocuses (close to the ground) make for easier foraging, since they can slowly clamber back up several centimeters into the flowers if they fall into the surrounding leaf litter.

              Feel free to reply over email to the message you receive from my website, if you'd like to share videos of her! I'm so happy to hear from you too, it's wonderful to know that there are others that care about so much about bees and nature 💛🐝✨

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

              1. Dear Elise,

                I can plant some flowers for her I think, as soon as the time will come. She drinks a lot and pee a lot too!

                I will send pictures and a video to you( I was looking for your email, not sure if I've found the right one).

                🐝🤍

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Eloise

  101. I have a bumble bee that I found in the garden on some glad stones.,she was very dopey. I have her in the house after trying to give sugary water. In a container now in a cool room. Weather here in Scotland is quite chilly around -3 real feel at night. Would some dry sphagnum moss be okay and a cardboard tube to hide in?

    I’ll keep monitoring her for a couple of days. It should be getting warmer by the weekend.

    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks and best regards

    Bill

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bill

    1. I think dry sphagnum moss and a cardboard tube would work well for her! I assume it’s moss that you gathered? (I’m only thinking to ensure it’s not treated with anything, since I believe it’s sold at garden centers too.) Good to hear your weekend should be warmer!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I’ve given her some suger water and a comfotable habitat. She’s moving around quite a lot. I really wonder if she will go back in to hibernation if I put her somewhere safe. Where would be a good place to leave her?

        Thanks for your reply.

        Bill

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Bill

        1. I'm not sure what your specific local weather is like, but I'm kind of guessing she may be up for the season now (rather than going back into hibernation). Late February is a time when—depending on local conditions—queen bumble bees may be emerging. Even if the temperature is dropping into the range of 5°C to 10°C at night, she should be able to handle it by sheltering unmoving (even if it means not moving for several days). The really dangerous freezing point for bumble bees (according to studies) seems to be when temperatures drop below -5°C, so it's a good thing you rescued her when you did!

          If you have warm daytime weather coming up at the weekend, I'd definitely see what she thinks about it. If it's sunny, I'd open up her enclosure so that she can soak up the sun for awhile. Also a good idea to offer her a few more drops of sugar water. She may go, or she may stay with you for a few more days. She'll let you know! So kind of you to care about her 🐝💛

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Hi Elise,

            Thanks for being there. My little friend flew off this afternoon and went really high and vanished into the distance. She had a drink before she left. I’m so happy that she seems to be in good health.

            Best regards

            Bill

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Bill

  102. 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

  103. 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

  104. 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

  105. 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

  106. 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

  107. 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

  108. 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

  109. 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

  110. 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

  111. 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

  112. 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

  113. 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

  114. 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

  115. 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

  116. 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

  117. 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

  118. 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

  119. 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

  120. 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

  121. 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

  122. 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

  123. 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

  124. 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

  125. 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

  126. 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

  127. 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

  128. 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 🐝💛

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                Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  129. 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

  130. 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

  131. 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

  132. 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

  133. 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

  134. 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

  135. 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

  136. 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

  137. 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

  138. 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

  139. 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

  140. 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

  141. 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

  142. 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!

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  143. 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.

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    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 🐝💛

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      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.

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        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 😉

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          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.

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            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 😍

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              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 ☺️

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  144. Do wall lizards eat leaf-cutter bees?

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

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  145. 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?

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    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 🌱🌼🐝

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      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? :(

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        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.

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    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.

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  146. 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.

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    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 💛🐝

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      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.