Save Bees

How to help revive a cold or wet bee

Bumble beeI’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 bee, you may not just be helping one bee but many, because your bee may be a queen bee.

If after reading all of the tips and advice below, you still have questions about your particular bee situation, drop your question on this page and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I possibly can!

Early spring 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).

This timing is difficult for a bee to determine, and sometimes you’ll find a stranded bumble bee queen who’s simply run out of steam and needs a helping hand. Not only may unseasonable weather trip them up, but a lack of flowers may too (a foraging bumble bee is only ever about 40 minutes away from starvation).


A quick sugar-water fix

Quick Recipe

  • 1 part sugar crystals (not brown)
  • 1 part room temperature water

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).

To feed your bee, mix up some organic granulated cane sugar or refined white sugar crystals 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 water. Offer a small portion of this solution (just a drop or two to begin with) in a shallow lid or teaspoon placed near the bee’s head.

When drinking, you’ll see her long tongue (sometimes almost as long as her body) pointing down from her head. If you see her tongue extended, try placing drops of sugar-water mix directly beneath the tip (it functions like a straw). Not too much as a weakened bee may be clumsy, and you don’t want to make the situation worse by getting your bee covered in sugary water (which a sluggish bee may have trouble cleaning off, though she’ll be able to once she recovers her energy).

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 fix 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!

Note that if it’s cold out (but otherwise good weather for bees), 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.

If it's not looking like good bee-flying weather, or if it's getting late and the sun is setting, you may want to consider housing your bee overnight to protect her from predators while she is in a vulnerable state.

Shared with kind permission by reader Christine


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).

In years past, I advised feeding a drop 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, chances are you likely helped anyway.

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 possible pesticide residues (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).

Feeding bees sugar-water

The sugar-water solution I detail above should only be used in emergency 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!

Honey bee

Honey bee illustrating reddish tongue, by Ethan Kocak


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


What if it’s cold or raining outdoors, or the sun has almost set?

Sometimes you’ll find a bee in need of help in unseasonable weather (especially in early spring when bumble bee queens are emerging from hibernation). After offering sugar-water, you may decide that the best thing to do is to keep your bee safe overnight. If it’s late at night and cold, 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).

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 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

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.

If your bee seems comfortable and settled in her box, then wait to release her until the weather is more favorable (at least 50-55°F or 10-12°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!

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


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


How to save a drowning bee

Sometimes people see bees struggling in water, unable to reach anything that would give them a “leg up” and out to safety. The easiest way to rescue a bee from water is to use a leaf or some other object close-to-hand to scoop them up. If you rescue your bee from water, the first thing to do is to put her in the sunlight so she can dry out and warm up. While we generally prefer recovering in the shade, bees recover far faster in full sun.

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

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


What if there are mites on the bee?

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 mites… they’re just 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 no need to try to remove tiny mites from bees you find. The only time they 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 really is unusual. Honey bee mites are far larger by comparison… it would be like one of us having a rabbit-sized tick feeding off us!


What if I’m out and about and find a struggling bee?

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:

Beevive, inspired by a spontaneous encounter with a tired bee


What kind of bee is it?

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 if it’s early spring). Honey bees are smaller by comparison, less fuzzy, and have that classic “striping” that we expect from seeing drawings of bees.

Honey bees need to get back to their hives for the night, but bumble bees can stay out a night or two just fine. Bumble bees are also capable of generating their own heat (which they do by decoupling their wings from their flight muscles and then “buzzing” to warm up)! Bumble bees are more likely to get caught out in bad weather, simply because they’re more likely to fly in cooler temperatures (even in the rain), whereas honey bees stay tucked in their hives on cold and rainy days.

So if you find a bee on a cold, wet day, it’s most likely a bumble bee. You can help a bumble bee by offering sugar-water and potentially keeping the bee overnight in a ventilated box (as above), especially if it’s late in the day and the weather is worsening. Release your bee the following morning once the sun is up, and offer sugar-water again to give the bee an energetic start to her day!

Honey bees are most often found in need of help when they’ve fallen into a pool of water 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. Honey bees can be helped by simply removing them from the water and putting them in the sun (offering sugar-water helps too, especially if your bee almost drowned before you found her). 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!

These are all bumble bee queens:

These are all honey bee workers:


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Elise FogAn occasional email newsletter from Elise Fog (bee enthusiast), including gardening advice for particular times in the bee season, as well as discussion of curious bee facts, current scientific bee research, and other such bee-related goodness.

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

  1. Some bees that I rescue from my pool turn back to the pool and jump back in. One bee I rescued 8 times and kept doing it. If I can get them when they are motor boating, they fly away. We have bee hives. We keep a rag tied on the steps so they can get water safely. Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Pk

  2. Hi,,

    I have keep a queen been safe (after finding her in a pool) overnight.

    I was going to release her the next day but it is quite windy.

    I'm just wondering if she'll be able to fly in the wind?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Leann

  3. I rescued a bee lastnite from drowning I brought it inside and gave it some sugar water. Due to the weather I decided to keep it in over night. When I woke this morning the bee is still sluggish and doesn't want any water any idea what to do. Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rachel parker

  4. I have found what looks like a queen bee, hanging onto the side of a net paddling pool.

    I rescued her and placed her onto my blossom tree but she was hardly moving and it is extremely windy. I made the decision to take hey in side but I picked some blossom, because she was enjoying munching on them, and placed her in a shoe box. I've put her into my boys play house, so she doesn't get confused by the heat in my house.

    I'm just wondering if she'll be OK with the flowers until morning?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lenne

  5. If you make a bee mad is there a way to make it happy again. Also if you are scared of a bumble bee do you have any tips for me???

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to angelica young

  6. We found a honeybee that could not fly and had a damaged leg. We warmed the bee up and gave him some sugar water but he keeps doing well and then not so well. He is not moving too much right now, and I'm not sure if he will fly again. What should I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lorin

  7. We rescued a damaged male carpenter bee in early March, and have had him in an aquarium with sugar water (and kitted it out) ever since. He is really clumsy. When we took the aquarium into the sunshine with the top off, he hid, then was upset when we took him in late in the day. What should we do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lori

  8. I just pulled the grill cover off a honey bee hive that was underneath , a downpour happened soon after. Will they drown? Will they leave on their own or do I need to find a company to relocate them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lindsay

  9. I found a male carpenter bee earlier today tried to give him surger water no change then regular water hes stumbling around and wont pull his tongue in his mouth what should i do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to David

  10. Hi there,

    Found a bumblebee laying on the floor in my back garden, gave it some sugar water and it seemed more energised, but it did not fly away, I left it for a few hours and came back, it was still on the floor, worried my neighbour might come out and step on it I picked the bee up with a small twig which it held onto, to under a bush and left it some sugar water, it has been there for three days, and is still moving but seems sluggish, wings seem intact and nothing seems injured, I read that it might be to cold for it to take off so I have brought it inside and have made a wee box up for it, so it can stay warm and have some sugar water to pick it up, but it’s seeming not very active, I’m a bit worried and want to know if there is anything else I can do, thank you :)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Trisha

  11. Hi guys. I found a Bumbleebee yesterday morning drowning in my pool. I've taken her ( assuming it's a female) out and have had her kept warm since yesterday with sugar water. Shes very mobile but just dosent seem to want to fly off. I have no idea what to do with her at this point. Xx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Carly

  12. I found a female carpenter bee on the ground her one wing is extremely short she cant fly, we put her on top of our BlackBerry bush so that she can get nectar, is there anything we can do to help her? She is very docile and hasn't hurt us.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

  13. How do you help a bee stuck inside you’re home to find a way out? I have a struggling bee wasting all it’s energy by a second story window trying to get out with an open door right underneath it one story down.

    :(

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Dearwyn

  14. Found bumblebee on floor of wet porch in 40 degree rainy day . Unresponsive at first

    Made sugarwater drink

    Bee refused it even after I brought it inside and it warmed up

    It's supposed to freeze tonight and tomorrow but Wed should be in the 50's so I'm planning to keep it inside til then

    BUT : How do I get it to drink - It tries to get AWAY from the teaspoon of sugarwater!!!

    Thank you so much for any help!

    eileen

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to eileen

  15. I’m trying to save a bee I found on its back and seemed to be crunching it’s legs up, I’ve tried sugar water, I could see him drinking it but now he seems like he’s dying and not moving

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Danica

  16. Hi,

    I live in the UK and me and my daughter were out on the trampoline on weds afternoon after it had rained and we found a very small bee struggling to fly so we picked her up with a leaf and placed her in one of our flower pots she stumbled to hide under a leaf, she buried her bottom into the soil and stayed there. We came out the next evening to check on her and it had rained heavy so we placed the ot under a chair and she hadnt moved she was in the ssamespot that we left her in and we tried offering sugar water butshes not interested. Im unsure what else i can do to help her shes very small so am also unsure what kind of bee she is too. Do we just let nature take its course ad see if shes ok by herself. would love any advice my daughter just loves bees and would also like to help her

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amiee

  17. I found a big bumblebee about 10mins ago. It is 6pm right now so the sun is going to set in about 1hr or so and the temp is 47 Fahrenheit right now and will drop to the kid 30’s Fahrenheit during the night. It is very early spring here so there aren’t any flowers around yet and I’m not sure what to do with this bee. For now it is inside a small critter container w a soda cap full of sugar water 50/50. Is that all she needs for overnight? And how do I know when I should release her back into the wild. And how do I know if she is a queen bumblebee or not? The only thing I know for sure is that she is a bumblebee. Thanks in advance for your response!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Stef

  18. Hello . I've just rescued a giant queen bee that was drowning. My question is after she had drink and dry off she lent on her side lifting her side legs waving at me then she took off,flew in circles around me about 6 times then flew into the blossom tree. What was the waving? Was she warning me not to get closer or thanking me for saving her? It took her a good hour to fully dry (looking like a drowned rat) so I don't think she was being aggressive with this leg lifting as I'd fed her sugar water etc etc. It just blew me away like she was saying thank you to me. Thanks I enjoy your bee page.kind regards steve

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Steve

  19. I’ve had a bumble bee injured for the past week in my garden. Part of one of its wings is missing. I’ve been putting sugary water and wild flowers where it seems to stay, but it’s going to rain for the following week. Will it survive or should I take it indoors?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kelly

  20. Hello!

    I found a grounded bumble bee yesterday, and I brought it inside to warm up a bit and give it sugar water. It warmed up, but I did not see it drink anything. I left her inside and left a drop of sugar water close to her, but she did not drink any, but she moved slightly. I then left her in the house because I figured she would pass away. When I woke up today I found her still alive, and still she hadn’t taken any sugar water. It’s been 24hours and she is still alive and still hasn’t taken any water. I’m surprised and wondering if this is normal?

    Thank you :)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Em

  21. Hey :)

    I spotted a large bumble bee that wasn’t really moving in my garden and I gave the bee some sugar water, I’m not too sure if it really had any of the sugary water solution and stayed pretty much still the whole time, sometimes I would move the leave under the bee to see if the bee was still alive and it was, I put it under a tree for some shelter and the night was quite rainy And had been quite bad weather for a while now. The next day I go and check on the bee and it was very still but still alive, I came on here to see if there was anything else I could do so I put the bee in a container in my shed to give it a bit of warmth. Still not much movement, is there anything else I can do to help the bee? (Also thank you this page was a big help!)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ari

  22. Hello

    Sorry to bother you at this busy time.

    I swept my drive up on tuesday and uncovered a queen buff tailed bumble bee amongst the loose leaves. She was crawling about and seemed active so I put her on some flowers in the sun that she tucked into. Many hours later she was still there and crawling around and not able to fly.

    There is no wing damage I can see and she flits her wings like she wants to take off but doesn't. Tuesday evening she was not on the flowers I put her on so thought she had flown off.

    Wednesday morning I found her walking out from under the planter of the flowers I put her on.

    Both days I offered sugar water which she did not want.

    I spent most of wednesday and thursday carrying her around the garden taking her to different flowers. I brought the loose leaves from the front to re-cover her over. Wednesday night she headed back under the planter and emerged Thursday morning about 10:30am. Last night she was on the flowers on top of the planter I placed her on but holding on to them and still, so i put her under the planter and she headed into the loose leaves. This morning she wandered out again at 10:30am so I put her back onto some flowers in full sun. It is windy today currently 12 degrees.

    I really cant see any physical damage to her wings. She rears up and flits them after indulging in the flowers but she cant seem to move them quick enough to get flight.

    I am not sure if I should keep doing what I am or if there is any more I can do? She does pump her body a lot when I put her in the sun like she is trying to warm up. Should I try and warm her up further? I'm also worried we dont have that many flowers in our garden at the moment. My neighbour has a lot on his front lawn and I am tempted to take her to those but then I wont be able to keep an eye on her if she wanders off. Should I keep returning her to under the planter?

    Is there any more I can do?

    Will she re hibernate if it's too cool for her?

    Do you have any advice as to why she isn't flying?

    I am on day 4 of carrying her around the garden and putting her under the planter at night. I dont want to just leave her as she will likely die. Which I do not want to happen especially as she is a queen. She really perks up after flowers but not enough to fly.

    Every company/charity/ beekeeper I have emailed havent emailed back.

    Many thanks

    Lauren

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lauren

    1. Hi...I am in more or less the same situation as you. If I find an answer I will pass it on to you :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Caroline

  23. Roselle

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to BarryJed

  24. Found a bumble bee near death on my urban porch. I’ve been nursing it back to health and want to know if I can release it about a mile away where there are plants/flowers as there are very few plants near my place.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jason

  25. Hi given the bumble bee some sugar water but it fell upside down and got some water on it’s wings tried to put a little pure water on them and it’s wings are now moving think it may just be tired

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Paula

  26. Hi again she's doing better today😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀 😀 😀

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to GA

  27. I have a giant bee on my windowsill for a second day. Most probably the queen bumble bee (I am not an expert to judge)

    Yesterday I left a bit of water next to her and found her dead, today I moved her a bit and she was moving her legs. I found your site and as I have no sugar at home, I offered her a bit of apple slice, well I put her on this slice and watched how she moved and looked almost healthy, but then she crawled of the slice and lies as if she's dead again next to an apple slice and a small jar top with a water and apple. What's wrong? What can I do to help the creature?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to olga

  28. Hi!!! We have found a bee outside on a plant and it was cold outside so we thought it was sun bathing but it was still there a little while later so we took it inside and put it in this globe thing we had and gave it sugar water and some mums. We put the bee which we think is a queen down in the sun and after a little while it started buzzing and moving around so we put it outside in the globe but she did not fly away so we took her and a flower that she was on out but she still did not fly away so we took her back in but she more sluggish and has been like that for the rest of the day and we put some more flowers in there. What should we do we really do not want her to die😱😱

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to GA

  29. I found a bee drowning in our bird bath and believe it’s a queen bee, we have gave her sugar water and put her in the sun to dry. I’ve now put her in a box with ventilation and leaves. I’ve left sugar so she can eat it and water to drink, but she isn’t moving only moving her legs and trying to get up. What should I do to help?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Madi

  30. Hi, I have had a little fuzzy humble bee flying around my garden for a few days. Today I saw her crawling around the ground. About half an hour ago she appeared on my daughter's leg. I encouraged her in to my hand and she crawled around up & down my arms and across my back, although very lethargically. I managed to get her to walk on to a piece of card & I placed her in a tub I have strawberry plants growing. I quickly googled and found advice to feed 30/70 honey/water mix. Whilst i was preparing this my son shouted that the little bee had fallen in under the soil. I think she probably dug her way in. We have a little sunshine here today so I have placed the tub in a sunny spot. Should I let her be or do u think she needs help? Thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sharon

  31. Hi, I found a bee late last night so housed it in a shoebox overnight after giving her a small amount of sugar water. She was buzzing and vibrating her wings but I thought it best to wait until morning to release her. This morning I gave her some more sugar water and found some fresh wild flowers. She has been in her box in the sunshine but doesn't seem to want to energise herself to leave. She seems more sluggish than last night. What more can I do to help?!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Storm

  32. Hello!

    I was wondering if there was a way I could help the bees so they don't go into the water in the first place. Whenever I go swimming and I see a bee in the water, I help it but I am not outside looking for bees all day. Just asking if there is anything I can do. Bye!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jane

  33. Hello!

    I was wondering if there was a way I could help the bees so they don't go into the water in the first place. Whenever I go swimming and I see a bee in the water, I help it but I am not outside looking for bees all day. Just asking if there is anything I can do. Bye!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jane

  34. Hello!

    Bees are my favorite animal/insect (i know, it's weird) but I was wondering what do do when a bee i sin your pool but has not yet died. What I do is take them out with a leaf, and give them sugar water from a spoon and put them in the sunlight. A lot of the times that works, but sometimes it is not enough. I know in some cases the bee can not be saved, but then one time I put the bee (after it had dried off) in a shady place and kept giving the bee food and shelter because she was not in the health to fly. I think that maybe if the bee is close to dying to not just leave it in the sun, but to give it sugar water or if you don't have that, honey. Maybe you could write some things you could do then just put them in the sun? Maybe it could save more bees than just the ones that have been in the water for a short amount of time. Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Alice

  35. Hello!

    Yesterday at about 4pm I found a big fuzzy bumble bee on a path next to my house not moving much, I moved her to my deck so she didn't get trampled and checked on her at about 6pm. She had moved to a sheltered location and was resting (I think). I gave her some sugar water, she drank it and then became more active, vibrated her wings a few times and started walking about, then settled in a new spot. I left her alone hoping she would take herself off to somewhere she liked. This morning (9am) she is still on my deck in a sheltered spot. It's 8 degrees celsius and cloudy and I don't have any flowers in my garden, what can I do to help her today? Thanks in advance

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gee

  36. I rescued a honey bee that was laying on the ground not moving at all. Gave it sugar water and kept it over night in a container with some grass, but it's still acting sluggish and isn't trying to fly at all or buzz. It's been raining quite heavy for the last 2 days. Kinda needing some help here

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ashley

  37. 911 Bee Emergency

    I was at work today and got a call from my roommate that a swarm of bees had attached itself to a wood overhang at our house. He said they were wasps and to bring wasp killer home. I worked until dark brought home spray. To my disbelief there were thousands of honey bees laying on the ground under the area they had landed. He sprayed them with a mixture of soap and water. They seem to still be alive is there anything I can do to save them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Paul Hancocki

    1. If it's mostly water, they may be alright still, especially if there's still a cluster of bees around the queen. But they're in dangerous circumstances (already when they're swarming, they have only the food in their stomachs to see them through until they locate a new home).

      If they've expended a great deal of energy covered in soapy water on the ground, they will likely need experienced human help. I would do a web search tomorrow morning for "beekeeper your-town" and see if either a local Beekeeper's Association, or local beekeepers themselves, pull up in the search results. You should be able to call around to find a beekeeper willing to come out and help, if the swarm of bees is still mostly intact by morning.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Elise thank you for your guidance. Local keepers from Bryan's Bees came out and rescued the queen and a fairly good size clump of bees. About half of what parished. The new colony will thrive at it's new home in Semi Valley. Thanks again. I learned so much about these magnificent creatures in the past 48 hours. Amazing.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Paul Hancock

      2. Elise thank you for your guidance. Local keepers from Bryan's Bees came out and rescued the queen and a fairly good size clump of bees. About half of what parished. The new colony will thrive at it's new home in Semi Valley. Thanks again. I learned so much about these magnificent creatures in the past 48 hours. Amazing.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Paul Hancock

  38. Yesterday hundreds of worker honey bees had fallen all over our patio from a maple tree they had been getting pollen from. The sun had been out and then the weather changed and cold set in and clouds and a bit of rain started. We think it just was the cold temp but the kids went around gathering the bees gently and placing them in a jar...warming them by bringing them inside and as they regained their strength they let them fly away again outside. One bee seemed to struggle getting better so we gave it some raw local honey because that is all we had and it still struggled so we kept it in the jar overnight but unfortunately it fell on it’s back in the honey and is covered in it...so it can’t fly...it seems more perky this morning though...is there any way we can help it clean off?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bex

  39. I found a bee yesterday covered in sticky stuff, I tried to help but found the bee this morning in the cold on her back, I have her in my kitchen on a bit of paper with a triangle bit of paper over her, she is really struggling and I don't know how to help.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to TJ

  40. Hello! I’ve had a fly on my porch for two days and to my surprise, it was actually a little bee. I gave it some sugar water but It was quite chilly last night so your site convinced me to house it overnight. Good News is the bee must have gotten better but the bad news is that she somehow escaped from the box. I’m not so much worried about the bee being in the house but that she will starve. Any ideas where to look and to help continue to keep her alive? Thanks!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to L Smith

    1. UPDATE! My plan worked! Last night I went looking for my escaped worker honey bee in the guest room... after doing the window method (making window the main light source in the room) and sure enough, she was right on the windowsill! 💛 Today it is in the low 50s so I’m not sure about releasing her, it looks like Saturday might be nicer. I also have not given plain water yet so I’m going to do that. I want to say though, I feel bad keeping her in the box even overnight like she really wants to get back... but I think it’s too cold, it’s supposed to rain today 😕 anyways try the window method if you have an escaped bee! I left a spoonful of sugar water right there for her But I’m not sure if she ate it... When I feed her myself with a dropper she’s been eating just fine once the ratio is right (once the water evaporates it gets too thick) 💛🐝💛... highly recommend a dropper because she just puts her tongue in directly and it doesn’t leak at all!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Tessa

    2. I have this same issue! Mine was drowning in my 2 year old nieces swimming pool when I got home from my jog... I got her out and used a Kleenex to dry her off, I laid her out in the sun, but she was quite cold and not very responsive but I thought hands off would be a better approach. Later on that night I was worried so I looked up if bees can get too cold and freaked out when I found out how sensitive they really are, the temp was 48 degrees f and I was scared I lost her. So I ran outside and picked up the flowers I set her on and I swore I thought she was dead. But immediately after taking her inside I could see her feet wiggling, then the warmer she got she moved her legs more and more. I didn’t read to give sugar water until she was inside and had warmed up enough to move her legs fully, as soon as I have her some she perked right up, and actually flew a little bit but she was still a bit weakened. She was SO hungry though! Poor thing, had to have drank her body weight in sugar water. And she was kinda mad I spilled a little on her 😅 Anyways I left the guest room where I was keeping her to get a jar of some sorts or gather some plant matter like it said on here but when I came back to the room she wasn’t anywhere to be found! 😭🐝 I camped out there a while hoping I could hear her buzz or something but to no avail. Reading online it said its best to make it completely dark aside from a window so they go towards the window, so that’s the technique I’m using! 💛 Hopefully tomorrow she will be fit enough to be released. I have the added drawback that the other members of my family are still mainly brainwashed into thinking bees are public enemy number one 😓 So I don’t want them to find out, my mom would be mad that I brought a bee in the house let alone that she took off. I showed my brother and he was mad at me 😤 As for me I’m worried about her, she probably wants to get back to the hive already which I get but ugh this whole thing has been a learning experience for sure, I’m definitely carrying a small dropper bottle of sugar water with me in the future so I can help them more efficiently ❤️ I am so glad though because I wasn’t super afraid of bees before but this experience helped me get to a point where I was holding a bee! If I had not been so afraid it wouldn’t have gotten this bad for her but at least now I know...

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Tessa

  41. Yesterday i noticed a bumble bee laying on its side outside my front door.

    Later in the evening it was on the wall of the house.

    It rained heavy on and off the day so i offered some sugar water. It didnt take it. I placed a rose from my vase by the bee and in it went. Very slowly. Wings were crossed over its back and its rear legs seem to be dragging behind.

    Today the bee has stayed with the rose and looks more lathargic. It seemed lifeless but raised one leg. I have now made a bee box. Some cut flowers so it can dry out. There are a few little yellow mites on the bee. The bee is very fluffy and quite large. What can i do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Heather

  42. I have kept a soaking wet bee overnight in a box and it had livened up after giving sugar and water but when I just checked on it now, it's gothe lots of little tiny mite looking things crawling around neare it's head end. Do you know what they are and do it still release the bee as I was going things out do now it's light and dry outside?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Donna

    1. Hi i have just seen your bee post. I have the same thing. Mites n all. Have u had any luck?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Heather

  43. I have found what I thought was a tired Bee. I have fed sugar water.

    Bee seems to perk up and then go down hill again.

    I took Bee home for over night. Kept in box with leaves with a drop of water on. Bee was moving around well. One leg seems less mobile and I have not seen wings moved other than to twitch. Bee has never buzzed ☹️

    I am at a loss how to help this bee any further? Is it cruel to keep trying

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rose

  44. I want to add another 2 hives to my bee yard, would like to use my own stock of Bees to do this.

    What’s the best way to do this?.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to James

  45. Hopefully saved a bee from cold

    Found him on my path, dosile

    Gave him sugar water, soon started moving,

    But its now dark, cold

    Will he be ok in a small box, holes in for the night,

    And is he a good ao bad bee, (heard some are bad for others)

    Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Karen

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    Reply

    Leave a Reply to BrianHen

  47. Good evening! I’ve got a lost bee here that I need advice on. Found him sluggish on the ground in west London, he’s perked up now he’s inside and had some sugar water but the temperature is about 5-6 c tomorrow and I’m worried releasing him might be his end! Should I keep him until the temperature rises?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ross

  48. Hi, I found a Bumble Bee on its back lifeless, whilst walking home. I carried it home (15 mins away). There seemed to be some life so I gave it a bit of sugary-water! She was so much better, but it looks like the back leg is not opening out & she keeps falling onto her side or on her back! She’s getting about a bit now but there’s no buzzing sounds at all. I’m worried she won’t be able to fly if I let her outside! Can you help please?

    Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Marcie

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    Leave a Reply to DavidDiody

  50. We found a bee in the garden and gave it some suger water but it has 2 missing legs,What do we do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to George

  51. We found a bee in the garden and gave it some suger water but it has 2 missing legs,What do we do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to George

  52. Hello, I found what I think is a queen bee on my decking yesterday, she was wandering around all around the decking with no real purpose. I gave her some sugar and water and it seemed to pick her up. Later on in the evening she climbed the wall of our house and made it nearly to the top as it became dark. This morning I found her on the decking soaking wet and I thought dead. A couple of hours later she emerged once again. I googled what to do and put her on some flowers where she fed from. She seems as though she cannot fly so I am now in the process of warming her up in the garage. How long do I need to do this for? She seems quite lively just not flying.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Caryl

  53. I have found a bee in my garden. It appears to be soaked and struggling after being caught in a down pour. It is moving its legs ever so slightly now and again but looks like its giving up. I have taken it off the ground and placed it in a box with a little sugar water but it doesn't seem like it has any energy at all. Is there anything else I can do to save it !? Xx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amy

  54. I have found a bee in my garden. It appears to be soaked and struggling after being caught in a down pour. It is moving its legs ever so slightly now and again but looks like its giving up. I have taken it off the ground and placed it in a box with a little sugar water but it doesn't seem like it has any energy at all. Is there anything else I can do to save it !? Xx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amy

  55. I have found a bee in my garden. It appears to be soaked and struggling after being caught in a down pour. It is moving its legs ever so slightly now and again but looks like its giving up. I have taken it off the ground and placed it in a box with a little sugar water but it doesn't seem like it has any energy at all. Is there anything else I can do to save it !? Xx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amy

  56. I have found a bee in my garden. It appears to be soaked and struggling after being caught in a down pour. It is moving its legs ever so slightly now and again but looks like its giving up. I have taken it off the ground and placed it in a box with a little sugar water but it doesn't seem like it has any energy at all. Is there anything else I can do to save it !? Xx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amy

  57. Hi I have just found a,queen bumble bee sheltering under my tarpaulin that I use for my horses hay. I have brought her in and given sugar water but we have very high winds today approx 40-50 mph and other than some just opening cherry blossom no winter flowers should I just give her a rest then put her back or keep in until tomorrow when the weather is better? (It has also rained heavily all night) thanks Jo

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jo

  58. Hello! I have a bumblebee in my garden since two days, doesn’t look as big as a queen. I put her in a box inside the house yesterday and she spent the night inside. I tried to give her some sugar and water but she didn’t take any. I tried to release her today but she stayed at the same spot in the garden for hours. I took her back inside now. she seems Very frail and tired, I wonder how long she can survivre like this and what else can I do to help her. It’s very cold outside and there are no flowers yet in my garden.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ibouh

  59. Hi!!

    So currently I’m at my house in england where there’s storm Dennis.

    As I left this morning , there was a bee in my porch, we’ve left it in some flowers and some water but I’m very concerned as only everywhere is saying that if it reaches 10 degrees or below they it can be fatal.

    I didn’t know what to do, should I bring them inside or leave them outside?

    Thank you!!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rachel Mettyear

  60. Hi!!

    So currently I’m at my house in england where there’s storm Dennis.

    As I left this morning , there was a bee in my porch, we’ve left it in some flowers and some water but I’m very concerned as only everywhere is saying that if it reaches 10 degrees or below they it can be fatal.

    I didn’t know what to do, should I bring them inside or leave them outside?

    Thank you!!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rachel Mettyear

  61. I saw a bumblebee struggling on my decking .It is quite big so I think it’s a Queen. It’s February and it’s was a very windy day. I fed it a bit of sugary water and placed it in a daffodil pot in the garden. It was still slow and clumsy when I checked on it after half an hour. So, I pooped it in a terranium with some leaves and brought her indoors to warm up. .

    After 10 mins she came to life . Buzzing and vibrating her wings trying to get out so I took her outside to reLease her. As it was 4:40pm I wanted to release her before darkness. I lifted the lid and the wind quickly slammed it back down . The bumblebee was rolling over and over like it had been bashed by the lid .

    I brought her back in to the house still in the terranium.

    It is now 7:30pm. She is alive just still sometimes but moving her limbs. Mobility has been affected by the looks of it but I can’t see any damage .

    I have put a leaf in with some surgery water but she’s not interested .

    Should I keep her in overnight and see how she is in the morning? I’m concerned she’s in a lot of pain and I’m prolonging her agony.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Adele

  62. Found a queen bee , in the house , crawling up my partners leg freaking her right out! Have put her in a ventilated pot for tonight and hope she survives tonight . It's freezing outside so what to do tomorrow ? Thanks for any info .

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jut

    1. If your partner survives the first night in the ventilated pot, maybe consider bringing her in and letting her sleep in the spare bed!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to beehave

  63. Found a queen bee , in the house , crawling up my partners leg freaking her right out! Have put her in a ventilated pot for tonight and hope she survives tonight . It's freezing outside so what to do tomorrow ? Thanks for any info .

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jut

  64. Found a queen bee , in the house , crawling up my partners leg freaking her right out! Have put her in a ventilated pot for tonight and hope she survives tonight . It's freezing outside so what to do tomorrow ? Thanks for any info .

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jut

  65. We have, what I am 99% sure are, honey bees waking up....in early February and crawling around in the laundry room and under our sink. They are small,and can't fly. We can't find the hive but I don't want the hive to die either if they are waking up too early for hibernation. What do I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to KC

  66. Dear Madam,

    I found a honey bee 2 days ago in my kitchen. I tried to follow your tips but it looks like the bee does not want to drink sugar water on a tea spoon. It keeps trying to fly but it does not keep itself in the air. I made a staying place box so it stayed 2 days now. Also the weather here is now 6 Celcius and the wind is very strong. What should I do? I want to help the bee but the bee is not drinking. I feel sad for the bee. Thank you. Greetings Alan

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Alan

  67. I have just found a bumble bee on my cellar floor, it is fairly motionless although with a little blow the back end moved slightly. Any suggestions? As the weather is likely to get colder before we get to spring. Currently here it's night time and gales and rain so have left in the cellar but moved a little so not to be trodden on x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Wendy

  68. Hi ,

    A bee has appeared in the bathroom today . I believe it's a hairy leg flower Bee , not 100% sure . It just gets onto window sill and sits there . Is there anything I can do to help .?

    The house is old so gaps etc leading to clay lump walls .

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Geoff

  69. Found distressed queen bee about 4pm yesterday. Now in small box in my greenhouse. Wouldn’t take sugar water yesterday. Storm Ciara in full force today, how long can I keep it in current state before I let it go?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Robert

  70. I have rescued a Queen Bee today, which was barely moving before. I’ve given her sugar water and left her in a box to chill out and re-coup. She’s doing lots of buzzing now and trying to fly, but every time she does, she ends up on her back. I don’t know if I should put her outside or not if she just keeps ending up on her back, maybe she’s not strong enough to fly? It’s sunny outside but only about 7 degrees x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lou

  71. I live in New England and it is winter up here. Last week we had a few days that were over 50 degrees F and i noticed a few bees flying around. Fast forward a few days and it was back to our usual 20-30 degree F weather and I found two honey bees curled up in the snow. I thought they were dead and brought one inside. A few minutes went by and it "came back to life". I gave it a snack and it started flying around the jar I had it in with holes on the top. It was so happy and cute! It was sunny, but cold outside. I brought it outside on my hand, but as soon as the cold hit it, it just curled up as if it were dead again. I read that this is how some bee species hibernate? I placed both bees under one of my bushes to keep them out of the rain and snow. Could I have done anything better? -Mikayla

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mikayla

  72. Hi, I found a huge bumblebee yesterday afternoon on the ground in a car park so, worried that she might get trodden on or driven over, I put her on a wall in the sunlight with a bit of sugar water, which she didn't seem too bothered about drinking. I've just checked this morning though and she's still sitting in that same spot today with dew all over her. She's definitely still alive so I'm wondering what I should do next or whether I should just leave her alone?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Laura

  73. Hi! I found a bee curled up on my patio on a very Wet cold day. my instinct was to get it out of the cold so I placed it in a small container still on the patio. It was still struggling after a few hours and so I brought it inside to warm up and gave it some sugar water. 30 minutes later and it was up with lots of energy so I placed it outside assuming it would be ok! The next morning it was back to how I found him, cold and helpless. Now i've given it more sugar water and brought it inside as it is still raining here and it has put its whole head into the sugar water...

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Danielle

  74. Hi, I helped a bee last night. Have sugar water and kept inside as wasn’t flying away and it’s cold out. Have let her out this morning and she’s still there tonight cold. I’ve put her in a proper breathable animal tent with some sugar water again. She’s climbing about her house and wings are opening but doesn’t fly. I’m keeping her warm tonight but what do I do from here? Keep going or let her go and she’ll probably die.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Laura

  75. Hi, i found this bumble bee in my garden yesterday, i brought it in and gave it some sugar water, i fully expected after that it would revitalise the bee & it would be ready to fly off, but it didnt. It did seem very weak & as it was late in the day i decided it best to keep it overnight. I came down to the bumble bee on its back this morning with its legs tucked in, i picked the bumble bee up to examine it and couldnt see any sign of life, so i put the bumle bee back. About half an hour later the bumble bee started shaking & raised its wings, it hasnt really moved but is still shaking....just looking for any advice you could offer...thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chantal

  76. I just rescued a honeybee on the beach in the sand where the tide came up , I gave it sugar water and it’s in a box moving more but keeps falling on her back and I have to help right her. I’m afraid to walk away! She was cold and wet

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to ML

  77. I found a large bumble in my garden three days ago. She is listless. I have brought her in each night in a cardboard box with a flower and foliage. I put her out each day with some sugar water which I don’t think she is drinking. I found her on my lawn which is Astro turf , so obviously she can’t burrow. Would it be best just to bring her indoors completely to hibernate until the weather warms up a little and what about food? I don’t want her to die. Unfortunately I am going away for a few nights. Thank you. Toni

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Toni

  78. Hi, I brought a bumble bee inside late this afternoon as it was frozen, almost dead. It has had some sugar water and revived. It has been wandering around the kitchen, but it is dark and freezing outside so didn’t want to put it out. It has found a warm spot by the radiator and seems to have gone to sleep. Will it be ok overnight will I need to feed it again? Thanks.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sally

  79. I found a bumble bee (I originally thought it was dead, as not moving) & have taken it inside where it warmed, so gave it sugar/water mix. It seems to be coming around well. I’m going to release it tomorrow, however I’m worried about releasing it as the temperatures are so low at the moment...will it survive? Should I go ahead & attempt to release?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kezza58

  80. Hi. My bee mentioned earlier started lying on its back, but is alive. I haven't seen it take any sugar water except one a day ago. This morning I found it under a cupcake paper "cave," on its back. I used a twig, which it grasps, and rolled it upright. I put in a little filtered H20 with salt, as well as without, & it has the hummer feeder, a clump of grass (pulled from a cement crack) & the only flowers yesterday, some alyssum. (I mistakenly put the only other one I could find, red geranium, but took it out soon afterward, having read they don't like them. Also resisted flowering plants at the grocer, but will try to find clean ones today.) The bee's not lively, but upright on it's twig, sort of hanging, & the proboscis is somehow noticeable today. I thought I saw a bit of tongue earlier, but didn't have my glasses. Am losing hope, but have set the jar in direct (not terribly bright) sunlight, & may clear some another window area as the sun moves. None of the local bee people called back. There are a few yellow clovers outside, & I'm waiting till they open to bring some in. Also, the bee's wings are crossed. Could they be stuck?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Char

  81. A fuzzy black bee was not doing well outside in the wild area of my yard. Husband says it's a bumblebee, but it's all black with nacreous rosegold wings. Fuzzy legs. It's in a turtle bowl with paper towels & a few tiny flowers, & filtered water in a lid, which it ignores. Doesn't fly, but clings to a twig & it buzzled a bit once. 1st day a couple of drops H20 revived it, & also when it's near the heater at night. It's the 3rd night & it's falling on its back, but moving and clings to a twig, & then I help set it upright. It was more active before, stayed closest to the heater at night. It appeared to be drinking at the small hummingbird feeder I put in last night. Also sat on wet areas of paper towel each day when I put a few drops in. This afternoon was sunny, so I left the uncovered jar outside a while, but it made no moves. There's few flowers outside. Either species, I'm worried it's a queen, a burrower emerged too early?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Char

  82. Hi I've found a nearly drowned bumble bee in a puddle. I thought she was dead but did move when I touched her. She's quite large so assuming she's a queen. I've warmed her up in my office and she's moving around a lot now but won't touch the sugar water I've put out. Her wings are still quite wet but as she's now quite active I've put her back outside a currently not raining but it's very windy and temp say 12 degrees but the wind is colder but now she not moving at all. Should I bring her back in and keep her warm over the weekend then try releasing her again on Monday when I'm back at my office? Advice would be appreciated. Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Debbie

  83. Hi!

    My boyfriend found a bee in London while at work yesterday, he took it with him to revive in his van. It’s looking a lot better but wondered about releasing it as it seems very early for a Bee to be coming out of hibernation? Also, as he bought it home the bee is very far from where it was found and we won’t be able to take it back there. Is it ok to release them in an unfamiliar place?

    Thanks!

    Hayley

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hayley

  84. Just wanted to say its 10pm here and my daughter saw a (what we think is a queen honey bee) hardly moving looking very sad on the floor of our shared flat stairwell. As we get lots of people and dogs up and down the stairs I've brought the bee in and gave it a small portion of the sugar water (it drank for ages) and seems a little better now. As it's cold and windy out I'm gonna move him to a shoe box like suggested until tomorrow. I've taken a photo and video. My daughter is over the moon now we helped the bee. Just wanted to thank you have a lovely day and happy new year! Xx Chloe & Lucy xx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chloe and lucy

  85. A bee just landed and got stuck in a dish of sunscreen. He is in the sun on a napkin and seems to be cleaning it off of him. Is there anything else I can do? I’m worried about his wings being coated with sunscreen.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jessica

  86. A bee just landed and got stuck in a dish of sunscreen. He is in the sun on a napkin and seems to be cleaning it off of him. Is there anything else I can do? I’m worried about his wings being coated with sunscreen.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jessica

  87. Disterbed a bumble bee have it indoors now has had suger water. Its winter not sure how to relese it.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lisa j close

  88. How do I take care of a young bumblebee I found out in the rain it's pretty damaged and not moving alot it's the end of december

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Minnie

  89. Hi,

    My son found a bee in his bathroom and asked me to rescue him/her. I currently have him in a big jar, and gave him a few drops of sugar water in water bottle lid. He has perked up and has been walking around and doing a little exploring. My question is; it is the end of December and cold and rainy. The high temps right now are around 43 degrees and the lows around 28 degrees. Is that too cold to put him back outside? Also, I haven't seen him trying to fly. Do you have any suggestions for my little guy?

    Thank you!

    Stephanie

    ps. I don't know what kind of bee I have rescued and if its a little guy or gal

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Stephanie

  90. I found a bee outside in the grass. I thought it was dead but I touched it gentle and it moved a bit. I brought it some sugar water but it didn't seem interested and was moving around very slowly and sluggishly. I brought it inside and after a while it began to move around much more, but still didn't seem interested in sugar water.

    I took it back outside and left it for fifteen minutes, after which it stopped moving again. It's quite cold here (45 f), and not sunny. I've taken the bee inside again and have put it in a box with some sugar water and plain water. Although it's moving quite a bit again, it hasn't opened it's wings and still shows no interest in the water. Is there anything else I can do to help it recover? I don't know how it could ever survive outside in this cold weather.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Heather

  91. Can I release a bee in a different location then where I found it?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sam

    1. Ideally, it's good to release them where you find them, but it depends on the type of bee and the time of year.

      Honey bees should always be released where you found them, and ideally even at a similar time of day if possible, since they use both landmarks and the position of the sun in navigation.

      If it's a very large, fluffy bee at this time of year, it's not so important to release them near where you found them, since they'll most likely be bumble bee queens seeking a place to hibernate overwinter.

      For other bees and on most occasions though, it's usually best to try to release them where you find them.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Ok. I took her back, but she didn't fly away. I believe she is a carpenter bee. I brought her back home last night and this morning she is still alive. At this point I'm amazed and lost as to what I should do next. Thank you for all your time here. I followed your directions and she's still alive. So what do I do next for Frances the Bee 🐝

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Sam

  92. Good morning! Yesterday afternoon I found what appears to be a queen bumble bee on my back porch. It was sunny and the temperature was around 75 degrees F. She wasn’t moving, so I offered her a spoonful of the sugar water mixture but she wasn’t interested. I left her alone, hoping she’d come to. This morning it’s foggy and in the 50’s, and the bee was still in the same place but covered in dew. I picked her up gently expecting her to be dead, but she moved slightly. She’s currently inside on my counter (72 degrees) with another offering of sugar water - which she again isn’t interested in. I’ve dabbed her with a piece of tissue so her hair isn’t wet anymore. When I dry her, she begins cleaning herself very slowly, but then stops. Her wings look smooth but I haven’t seen her separate them (and I won’t). Do you think she’s dying being that she hasn’t drank any of the mixture?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jenn

    1. I am sorry to be replying so late with the holidays upon us. I think it's possible, but unlikely, that she's having problems because she hasn't drank any sugar-water mix. My main concern is that she was continually unmoving in 75 degree sunny weather. That is unusual behavior for a healthy bee. Was she in direct sunlight at that time?

      Other than doing exactly as you have done: helping her dry off gently, warming her up indoors, and offering her sugar water, there is not much more to be done for her. Warmth usually picks bees right back up if they are otherwise healthy; sugar water certainly helps too, but bees are typically active when warm, even if hungry.

      You might try dropping the sugar-water onto something like a pesticide-free dandelion or similar, to see if she responds to the color and smell of a real flower (dandelions are good, because bees knows them as a reliable off-season source of nectar an pollen, and their flowers are easily accessible to bees of all kinds).

      I never give up on a bee, so I would try her outdoors in full sun again if it's sunny and warm... even if she looks unmoving, they sometimes revive in direct warmth. Another thing you might try is to drop the smallest of sugar-water mix drops on one of her front feet, as they taste with their feet (but I'd try the flower first, since cold bees are clumsy, and get sticky easily).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Update! After about 4 hours on my counter (after drying her with toilet paper, blowing on her gently, and offering more sugar water) she started to perk up and spread her wings. I took her outside when the sun came out and released her. She started walking around immediately (didn’t fly), but was in much better shape then when I found her. Thank you for creating this page as a resource, she may not have survived otherwise.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Jenn

  93. Hello Elise, just thought I'd give you an update on my beautiful queen Bee , I kept her in the box for a couple hours, she was walking around a lot so I took her outside as it had stopped raining although cold, the sun is out, she climbed on to the side of the box and I ordered her some sugar water, which she drank loads of, it was an amazing sight for me as I've never done anything like this before, to watch her tongue come out and lap it up, she then tried to fly but fell in to the grass, she then walked a few steps and took off high and flew away, so lovely to see, thank you for your advice xx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Wendy

  94. It's winter in the UK and raining . There is a large bee in my garden very wet is there anything I can do to help it

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Wendy

    1. I think bringing your bee indoors (in a ventilated box) and letting her dry off somewhere warm might be the most helpful thing to do. It may take her a few hours to air dry, but it should be speeded up by being somewhere warm.

      It is possible very delicately to use the tip of a tissue to pull additional moisture from her fluff and speed her drying too.

      I would offer some drops of sugar water mix as well, while she's warming up indoors. Since it's early there, I'm hoping you'll be able to dry her off and warm her up enough to where she'll be able to fly again today, assuming it's not raining much later.

      If it is raining heavily, it's possible you might end up keeping her overnight in her box, somewhere relatively cool such as a garage. But ideally if there's a break in the rain later today, I would put her out (with her box open) once she's warmed up and dried off.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  95. Like to know if you have a company business support program as we would like to look at joining.

    We do offer organic honey as part of our branded organic lines in Australia.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Anthony

    1. I appreciate your interest! At this time, I have no partnerships or affiliations with any companies (donations received by generous individual visitors being the only source of income received, all of which is put towards the costs of updating and maintaining this website).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  96. I found a bee outside today hiding under a leaf. It was right under the water faucet I was about to turn on. To keep the bee from drowning I moved it to the edge of my garage. By the time I was ready to go back inside it was getting dark outside and it was 49 degrees. So I left the bee in my garage so it could get warm. I went outside and checked in the bee several times to try and see if it was ready to fly away. But over the course of an hour it hadn’t moved at all. So I brought it inside and put it in a box with holes in the top with bottle top full of sugar water. The bee is doing much better now after only an hour being inside the house. It’s flapping it’s wings and trying to crawl to the top of the box. I would put the bee back outside except it is currently 34 degrees outside and dropping. The weather forecast is showing it won’t be 55 degrees until Friday. Is it safe to put the bee outside? How long is it safe to keep the bee inside? Help!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sydney

    1. It's a good sign that your bee is moving with more energy when warm indoors. But since it's night time, you'll want to cool your bee down so that it doesn't think it's time to go, when it's so cold out. Place the box with your bee in the garage or somewhere that's more like outdoor temperatures, but not freezing.

      What is your weather forecast tomorrow? Is it a large fluffy bee? It would be nice if your bee could get going tomorrow, but if it's below 50, that's unlikely to happen. It won't hurt to keep your bee in its box for a couple of nights (plus the day in between), so long as you keep your bee at similar temperatures to the natural ones.

      If you're keeping your bee, it's also a good idea to provide it with sugar water in the day, either a few small drops near its front feet, or even drops of sugar water added on flowers cut from a pesticide-free area (though depending on your state, there may be few flowers at this time of year). I wouldn't leave the bottle top of sugar water in the box overnight, in case your bee clumsily stumbles into it while cold (sticky bees are hard to clean)!

      The other thing to do if you're housing your bee is simply to keep a good eye on them. If they get too warm during the day in their box, they might damage their wings trying to escape, not realizing that the conditions are so unfavorable outdoors. If that happens, simply move your bee's box to a cooler area, and that will naturally cause it to slow down and use less energy.

      Tomorrow, you can try your bee in its box outdoors with the lid off, after warming your bee up first indoors. But if it's below 52 or so, I'd suggest holding onto your bee until Friday. When Friday comes, warm your bee up well indoors in a warm room, and offer sugar water, so your bee is as energized as possible. Then put its box out, with the lid off, in the late morning or around noon, once the day is starting to warm up well (and ideally in direct sunlight).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. It is a large fluffy bee. I kept the bee in my garage all day today. I picked some flowers and dropped the sugar water onto the petals. The bee was okay and moving this morning and this afternoon, but it’s quit moving altogether since night fall. Is that a bad sign? It’s currently 29 degrees outside. Is it safe to keep the bee in my garage at this temperature? It’s going to be 53 degrees and sunny tomorrow around 2 o’clock. Temperatures are shown to not get much higher than that for the rest of the week. Will it be okay to let the bee go tomorrow during that time? Thanks for your help.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Sydney

        1. It's normal for your bee to quit moving altogether come nightfall, it's called entering a state of torpor, and it happens when a bee is cold, because they're cold-blooded. Your bee will 'revive' with warmth tomorrow, so long as she is healthy.

          I would bring your bee indoors from the garage in the morning, in her box, to a nice warm room, so that she has a few hours of warming up well before the middle of the day. Offer more sugar water on the flowers tomorrow too. Place your bee in the direct sun tomorrow, with the lid open, once your bee is fully warmed up.

          It's hard to say the exact time, I might try her out there maybe around 1pm, but there's this trade-off since temperatures are still on the low side for her.

          A large fluffy bee likely means a young queen bumble bee, looking for a place still to hibernate for winter. The more food you can get into her before she leaves, the better. It may take her a little while still to get going once she's outside, but the closer she can take off to the warmest part of the day, the better.

          It may well help to breathe warm air on her too, if she's still a bit sluggish when you place her box outdoors. Bumble bee queens can generate a good amount of warmth with their own wing muscles, but the warmer she is to begin with, the better her chances!

          If she doesn't take off tomorrow let me know, as there's a fallback plan here, which is to prepare her a place for safe hibernation... but ideally she'll choose her own place naturally.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. I brought the bee inside at 8am and set her box in my kitchen near a window. When I got home from work and checked the box again at 1pm she hadn’t moved any from the night before. I put her in my hands and blew on her and still she didn’t move. It’s currently 56 degrees outside. I’ve had her sitting outside in the sun for almost an hour with no sign of movement. Is there a chance she won’t come out of torpor? Did I do something wrong?

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Sydney

            1. That's unfortunate that she is not perking up in the sunlight, especially as it's a reasonable (if low) temperature for her. They fall into these states of torpor when they're outdoors at night, but they typically come right out of them when they're warmed up. It may simply be too cold for her though, even in direct sunlight... possibly she lost her indoor warmth too quickly. Bumble bees can generate their own heat to an extent (by decoupling their wing muscles and then vibrating them, which looks as though they're shivering). But she needs energy to do that.

              Is there a place indoors where you could warm her up to close to 70 degrees or so? I realize it's getting a bit late again today, I'm not sure what your timezone is, and it's possible that it would be better to try for tomorrow, depending on the temperature and time of day.

              Has she extended her tongue and had any sugar water, that you've seen? That would be the only other concern, in terms of a lack of energy.

              You mentioned finding her hiding under a leaf, and that may have been her attempt at finding a place to hibernate, since it is better than nothing (though hardly ideal). Typically they dig small holes for themselves underground, to stay frost-free. You could try putting an upturned ceramic plant pot or similar, stuffed with some insulating material like pieces of grass, in such a way as not to have the material fall out easily from the bottom when it is upturned. Then raising the edge a bit on one side with some small rocks, so as to provide a way in and out of the plant pot. They do sometimes hibernate in such places, and when they don't have the energy to dig a hole for themselves, they'll often readily take to a location like that. She does still need stored energy to make it all the way through winter though, which is why I wonder if you've seen her drink any sugar water?

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

              1. I did not see her drink any. The drops on the petals look undisturbed, so I don’t think she drank at all yesterday. The first night I had her she drank out of the bottle top for 4mins. Later that same night I watched her drink for another 3mins. I’d put shredded cotton balls in the box and when she wasn’t drinking she was hiding under the cotton balls. She hasn’t moved from under them since that first night. Is it possible she’s already hibernating and that’s why she didn’t leave yesterday?

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Sydney

                1. I apologize for my late reply, I've been out all day. Yes, it seems like her instinct (outdoors under the leaf, and in the box under the cotton balls) is to hibernate. If she's in your garage, already under the cotton balls, and no longer drinking, that may well be what she is doing.

                  One thought here is to add some additional insulation (more shredded cotton balls should work) and put her box outdoors with her inside it, underneath some sort of frost-free shelter like a large plant pot, with an edge raised so that there's a ground-level entrance/exit.

                  Another thought is to keep her in her box in your garage, since that's a frost-free environment that will be at outdoor temperatures for the season. If you do that, you would need to move her out in very early spring, otherwise she might have trouble finding her way out of the garage. And I think you'd still (at that time) want to put something additional over her box, to protect her from frost.

                  Reply

                  Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  97. I noticed a bee (I believe a worker bumble bee)on a wall near my back door this morning around 10am, and he didn’t move all day (it’s now almost 6). I tried to give him sugar water, but since he was on a wall it was difficult. It’s getting quite cold out and it’s really foggy so I gently pushed him into a shoe box. I put some herbs from my garden in there for him (mint, lavender and rosemary), and left a few drops of sugar water near his head. He’s currently on my garage and seems to be feeling a little better - he’s moving his antenna around a it now, but he’s just staring at the wall and not moving.

    What should I do if he doesn’t start feeling better? Is there anything else I can try besides sugar?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jess

    1. Don't worry about your bee being inactive tonight, as they are much less active in the evenings (and also when they're cold). I'd keep your bee overnight in the shoebox in the garage (on a shelf perhaps, somewhere unlikely to be discovered by ants), with the few drops of water and springs of garden herbs.

      What I would do tomorrow morning is to warm your bee up indoors for a half hour or hour or so (depending on your bee's behavior... the idea is to help your bee become more active faster, and if it begins to buzz a bit with its wings, then it's time to go outdoors). I'm hoping it might be sunny there, given where you live?

      Aim to put your bee outside near where you found it, in its box with the lid off, sometime after 10am, once the day is warming up more (unless it looks as though it will warm up sooner). Placing your bee in full sun will help too, if it is sunny. It may take your bee an hour or two more to get going, but being warmed up should help speed it on its way, and if it drinks some sugar water, that'll help too!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  98. Hello, Thank you so much for your website!!! I have a few questions about caring for a lost bee. I found a worker bee inside our house fumbling around on the cold tile floor. We fed it some sugar water and set “him” up in a box for the night because it is rainy and cold tonight. We are due to have rain for the next day or two and were wondering how to care for Mr. Bee until it is warm enough to release him. Should we keep him in a dark box and adding sugar water to his dish? Open his box and allow him to fly around our bathroom? Offer fresh flowers? We live in Southern California and the weather is expected to be in the low 60’s in a few days and the rain should stop in about 1-2 days.

    Thank you for any advice you can offer.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Vern

    1. I do apologize for replying late, various life events here have impacted my response times recently!

      I wouldn't recommend letting your bee fly around the bathroom during the day, as it might be hard to return to the box at night, and it might get stuck somewhere too. Ideally it'd be nice to have your bee know that it's daytime during the day though, and then kept dark at night.

      If there's a break in the rain, with temperatures over 55F, you might try releasing your bee earlier too, well-warmed and topped up on sugar water. Otherwise, you can hold onto your bee, keeping it cool and dark at night, and lighter and a bit warmer during the day.

      One thing to watch for would be that, if your bee is very warm, it is possible to hurt itself trying to escape; it's easy to reduce that inclination simply by cooling them down, and in this case, it's for the better to hold onto your bee in the bad weather, and then release your bee once conditions are favorable for flying home.

      I'd definitely add some flowers (that are known to be pesticide-free) to the box too, to add a little color and interest. If your bee is drinking fine from the sugar water dish, then there's no need to add sugar water to the flowers (sometimes that's a way for them to drink if they don't realize the sugar water is food). The flowers will lose their nectar quickly, but are mainly there for 'emotional support', since it is clear from studies that bees feel simple emotions, and can be more 'optimistic' if given good circumstances.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  99. I found a beautiful bumble bee outside on my patio yesterday. It's very cold here at the moment and after leaving sugar water out for it, I woke thismorning to find it in the same place, moving very slowly, not looking the best. I took it inside, leaving more sugar water beside it but it didnt even go near it. After a few hours of it just moving slowly around the floor i put it back outside to see how it coped. I checked after about an hour and it had almost rolled up (because of the cold im guessing) so I took it back in again. It seems to be moving more and is veering towards the heat of the fire (it's not near the fire don't worry). I really don't know what to do for the poor thing, it won't touch the sugar water and it doesn't seem interested in flying off as it's wings haven't budged since I first encountered it. (They don't look damaged in any way) I don't want to put it back out in the cold tonight but I feel so cruel having it in a box overnight, I'd be terrified something will happen over night. What should I do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lizzie

    1. I am so sorry to be replying so late, something in life came up and I haven't been checking my email.

      I would bring your bee in for sure, and warm her up as much as possible, in a supervised way (since indoor heat, especially from a fire, can be very drying). Don't worry about keeping her in a ventilated box overnight, so long as she is safe and not freezing, it will be a better place for her to recover.

      Do you think you could place the few drops of sugar water such that her front feet might touch them? Bees taste with their feet, and so it might encourage her to drink if she needs additional energy.

      The goal here is to restore your bee's energy before transitioning her back outdoors to an appropriate place to overwinter. She should already be hibernating underground, but since she isn't, she's very vulnerable. A bumble bee is only ever about a half hour away from starvation when flying, though they can go much longer if they're not moving much.

      Let me know if your bee shows signs of improvement and activity as she warms up, and if she takes any sugar water.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  100. Hi

    We found a bee half frozen in water- amazingly still alive this morning.

    Weve bought him inside put in a deep dish with some water/sugar solution..

    Some 12 hrs later, hes still alive but still look very wet and crawling.

    Not sure whether to keep him like this or put him out of his misery. Your help would be appreciated

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to KT

    1. Update- bee still alive. Put him in a shoebox with sugar solution.

      Same situation as Lizzie in post above.

      Still moving, but not fluffy and it has dried up.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to KT

      1. I am so sorry to be replying so late, something in life came up and I haven't been checking my email. Is it a large fluffy bee (likely a bumble bee queen if so)? How does your bee respond to indoor warmth, does that improve her level of activity?

        My inclination would be to warm your bee up well indoors close to some heating source, but keeping a very close eye on your bee's behavior, as artificial heat can be very drying. Warmth should help restore your bee to activity; though she may have struggled in the water for some time, so even if she is warm, she may be so low on energy that it may not improve her visible state too much.

        If you can warm her up well, and offer a few drops of sugar water, that would be a way to see if she can recover from her ordeal. I doubt there are flowers about there now, on which to add drops of sugar-water, but most bees will drink sugar water drops that are placed just below their heads, especially if they get their feet in it just a little first, as they taste with their feet.

        Let me know if your bee shows signs of improvement with additional warmth, and also whether she takes any sugar water. She will need to be transitioned outdoors once she's better (she should be hibernating underground if she's a queen bumble bee), but the first goal here is to restore her energy.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

        1. Thank you for your reply.

          Yes from your description a queen bee.

          We did everything as suggested but I think she must of been in the water too long, as her 'fur' and wings never recovered.

          She lasted over 24hrs though.

          Hopefully we wont find anymore, but know where to turn to if we do.

          Many thanks

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to KT

  101. I have a what I expect to be a queen bumble bee, i found her slumped on a pavement yesterday. I have her in a large plastic container and keep checking her.. I want to release her but she still seems weak. Done sugar water, she has a flap every so often, she tells me to back off sometimes yet other times luvs a little stroke. But the weather is so windy she just can't seem to manage to get going.

    How else can I help her

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hayley

    1. Sorry to be replying so much later than you wrote, I hope your bee is alright if she is still with you.

      I don't know what your weather forecast is there, but I'd hold on to her in her enclosure until it's less windy, keeping her cool in the dark at night, and then in the light and warmer during the day, to keep her daily rhythms going. And continuing to offer sugar water.

      Large bumble bee queens need plenty of energy to take flight, as well as favorable conditions. But technically, she can find a place to burrow overwinter to hibernate without needing to fly, so long as she's able to walk across the ground, and so long as there's suitable areas within easy walking distance for a bee.

      I wonder if you might look for a suitable spot outdoors with loose soil, covered in leaf litter, as they seem to favor such spots in order to dig their little holes in the ground. Something sheltered from rain ideally, but also somewhere that will get the sun especially in spring.

      Maybe you could hold onto her for a few days waiting for better weather, then on a better day, warm her up well, make sure she's had some sugar water, and release her in such a spot that looks favorable for a bumble bee to dig. Perhaps keeping an eye on her after releasing her, to see if she looks as though she's able to explore on her own and find a safe spot underground for winter.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I used a upturned pot full of dried leaves inside and a cardboard container, all filled up with compost. Small opening at the front. It's quite sheltered there. She happily entered. I place a couple of flower heads at the opening and marker pen betsie bee's home. Fingers crossed it's warm enough for her. Thank You for your response and lovely page x

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Hayley

  102. I found a bee frozen this morning , I brought it indoors and placed in front of some steam then left it in a small box. On my return from work the bee is alive! It has crawled out of the box, I haven’t seen it fly and it’s moving very slowly. November in England with - temperatures, what should I do with it ? Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kel

    1. Is this a large bumble bee by chance? If so, she'll need a place to hibernate without freezing. Each young queen usually digs her own little hole for herself underground, in which to overwinter.

      I wouldn't warm her up too much if your temperatures are that low... at least, I don't think so, but I'm assuming you've already had cold temperatures and that she should, ideally, already be hibernating. Typically when finding bees with interrupted hibernation, it's good for them not to "wake up" fully and lose stored energy that way, which they'll need for overwintering.

      I think you could put her back out either near some undisturbed leaf litter, or promising loose unfrozen soil, or a similarly unlikely-to-be-disturbed spot where she could burrow her way underground.

      Another idea might be to place an upturned flower pot stuffed with some insulating straw or similar substrate on the ground, resting one edge of the rim on some pebbles/rocks so as to provide ground-level access inside. She might take to that as a place to stay, and so long as it protects her from frost, she should be alright.

      If it's a honey bee instead, then she'll need to get back to her hive. The thing to do in that case would be to fully warm your bee up, offer her sugar water, and release her at the warmest possible point in the day. If she's well warmed up and energized, she should be able to get back, where she can overwinter with her hivemates.

      If it's some other kind of bee, it'll be hard to prescribe specifically what that bee would need, but I'd go the honey bee route, and warm the bee up, offering sugar water, and releasing in the warmest part of the day, so that it has the highest chances of getting where it needs to bee.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for your reply. I believe she is a bumblebee quite large. She was frozen solid this morning, so I am amazed she is still alive! I will will leave her indoors tonight and try make her a nest in the morning. Thank you again.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kel

  103. Hi! My daughter and I found a bumble bee under the recycling bin in the very cold day. He looks like hibernating (we had several occasions in the past, but it was an early spring or fall, so they woke up and flew away next day). We live in Boston so it’s already very cold outside. We’ll have 51 degrees day this Friday so my question is I should wake him up and release if he wakes up, or keep him through the winter... please let me know if you have a good idea in this case.

    Thank you so much!

    Mari

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mari nishimura

    1. If your bee is unmoving, I'd definitely cover it with something to protect it from frost, snow, wind, and such. Perhaps some loose straw or dried grass over the bee (placed over it gently), along with an upturned flower pot lifted at one edge by some rocks so that the bee had a ground-level exit from the enclosure if desired?

      I think that'd be better than trying to wake up your bee, because it's important to conserve energy for hibernation ideally. Although if your bee wakes up naturally on Friday when it's a bit warmer, then that's fine, but I'd still cover your bee like this to protect it, and then it can decide to hibernate there if it would prefer.

      Usually, bumble bees should dig themselves a little burrow in the ground for overwintering, but sometimes they do things like hibernate under planks of wood, or undisturbed leaf litter, or under things like recycling bins.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  104. I need help I found a worker honey bee outside and next to my pool. I think she might have fallen in and managed to get out it is reasonably cold out side and midday now it occasionally moves it’s wings and it’s abdomen is constantly going up and down it is very sluggish so I brought it inside I’m not sure if I should keep it through the night in a shoebox like you listed or if I should put it outside and see if it flies away.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Audrey

    1. Also, if she fell into your pool, she will have expended a fair bit of energy struggling (for however long she was in there). It takes them a while to dry off fully, especially on cooler days.

      Since it's later in your day there, she may need to spend the night with you in a ventilated box. Keep her box somewhere that's coolish overnight, and then in the morning warm her up nicely indoors, and offer her more sugar water (just a few small drops, so she doesn't get sticky accidentally).

      If she doesn't recognize the sugar water as food, you could also try adding drops of sugar water to a cut flower such as a dandelion, and putting that in there with her.

      Once she's well warmed up, she should be able to fly off. My one caution is that sometimes, they struggle for too long in a pool before we find them, and do not always make it, no matter what we do. If there's some sun to put her out in, that will help. But since it's the time of year for cooler weather, it'd be good to warm her up indoors first so that she has an extra boost of warmth to help her fly home.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    2. Have you tried offering a sugar water mixture to your bee? Are you expecting any sun soon?

      Warmth and sugar water should help your bee get going again, but if she's not active enough to fly off today, I'd keep her overnight to protect her from predators and weather.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  105. Hi - will a bee survive a salt chlorinated pool? We fish them out and let them dry out in the sun but not sure how bad the chemicals are for them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kaye

    1. It seems as though bees are often attracted to water with salt added, so it's not surprising that you find them in your pool. They need sources of water anyway, and a water source with a little salt or trace minerals is often more appealing than one without.

      Chlorine, on the other hand, cannot be good for them. It's not particularly good for any living thing. It depends how chlorinated the pool is, how much of an issue it is for them.

      One of the issues with honey bees is that it seems as though once they decide on a source of water, all the bees go there, and it's hard to get them to go anywhere else, since that "knowledge" of a good water hole stays with the hive.

      For that reason, it'll be hard to get these bees to do anything other than continue going to your pool. It is also speculated that bees have come to associate chlorine with salt when it comes to finding water. Additionally, most chlorine used for pools is in fact a type of salt, and that may explain their attraction to it, even when it's not a healthy source of salt for them.

      Fishing them out will certainly help them live another day though! I wish that putting an alternative source of water nearby would do the trick, but it sounds unlikely to help, given their attraction to salt chlorinated pools. I've read of some beekeepers adding salt to a bird bath of water, with pebbles inside, to provide something desirable for bees that is still safe for them to get their water.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  106. Hi, I keep finding a honeybee outside at night when I go to get the washing in. I either leave her be or put her under our veranda in a pot with flowers if it’s going to be a rainy night. I can’t be sure it’s the same bee of course but I just find it odd. I’ve tried googling lots of different things to find out why a bee would be out alone at night but nothing comes up. Appreciate any ideas or answers you might have. I just feel a bit sorry for her. Thanks 😊

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Paige

    1. It is odd to find a honey bee outdoors at night, they do not like spending nights out, but always try to get back to their hives. If it were any other kind of bee, it wouldn't be unusual in the same way.

      I assume you don't see this bee (if it is the same bee) during the day? Ah, and you're coming into your summer weather there, I see.

      Currently, I have no good answer for you. Bumble bees, even though they are social creatures like honey bees, do spend nights out sometimes too. Typically males, but also females in order to slow the progress of intestinal parasites (which are slowed down by the cold).

      I do think all bees are individuals too. For instance, we'll see bumble bee workers go sneaking eggs into other bumble bee nests, even though they're not allowed to have their own eggs in their main colony. Some honey bees sit around more than others. It's just possible your bee—however strange it may sound for a social insect—likes time on her own. I'm not saying that's the case here, more of an outside possibility, but I do think it's a possibility.

      If you wished to be ascertain whether it's the same bee or not (if you still have one hanging about, that is!), there might be a way to gently tag your bee while she's cold... that's how much of the bee science is done. I know I've heard of using tiny dabs on non-volatile paint... that would really bother me to do though, for all it's been helpful in experiments. A tiny bit of colored chalk applied with a thin paintbrush might stay on well enough to be visible the next day, without bothering the bee. Sometimes careful scrutiny of a bee up-close also reveals individual characteristics, such as a slightly tattered wing, a bit of unusual fluff, and such.

      It's certainly unusual to have such a honey bee visitor nightly, if it's the same bee!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  107. Hello,

    I found a bumble bee on my garage floor yesterday. She was very sluggish.

    I've put her on some newspaper in a safe corner and given her some sugar water but i dont know what to do next ....

    She looks a little perkier today.

    Should i put her outside ??? Or try and make a box for her ???

    Its getting cold here and i think she should be hibernating already ...

    Help :-(

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

    1. I apologize for replying late here, and I'm not sure if you still have your bee or not. I would have kept the bee overnight, only because she'd be more likely to be safe that way. But they naturally do spend nights out in the cold too, so she should have been fine either way. Cold always makes them sluggish and inactive.

      Today, if you're still keeping track of her, I'd try offering sugar water and also warming her up well indoors if your weather looks at all decent today (around or above 10C). I would put her outside, well-warmed and hopefully fed, at close to the warmest part of your day. I might be tempted to look around for a good spot outdoors too, but bees will follow their own whims in looking for a place to hibernate. Undisturbed soil that is easy to burrow into is ideal.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi Elise,

        Thank you for getting back to me.

        She was still tucked up in the garage this morning, but looking a little livelier. It raining here just now so hopefully it will clear up later and i will open the garage doors and see if i can encourage her out.

        It would be great if she would decide to hibernate in our garden, maybe we will see her in the spring.

        Take care,

        Sarah

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Sarah

      2. Hi Elise,

        Thank you for getting back to me.

        She was still tucked up in the garage this morning, but looking a little livelier. It raining here just now so hopefully it will clear up later and i will open the garage doors and see if i can encourage her out.

        It would be great if she would decide to hibernate in our garden, maybe we will see her in the spring.

        Take care,

        Sarah

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Sarah

  108. I have a bumble bee here with me that has almost certainly been poisoned. I really don’t know what to do. She’s been with me all afternoon. Her two friends were dead next to her when I found them. She’s moving a little more now but I’m at a loss.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kat

    1. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear that. I never like to give up on them, so I wonder—as a kind of outside chance—do you think she'd take some sugar water (or has she already)? I'm simply thinking about the possibility of flushing her system a bit with something safe.

      Do you suspect pesticides? I'm assuming so. Acute pesticide poisoning is very hard to watch happening to a poor bee :( There is often a lot of involuntary twitching involved, and their long tongues tend to hang out near the end of their lives.

      The fact that she's still alive suggests there's some hope though. Is she relatively warm indoors with you? Do you have any bee flowers nearby (dandelions work well when not much else is flowering)? I'm thinking about adding them to whatever you have her in, to see if she might perk up a little with flowers nearby (they would need to be safe though, in terms of no possible pesticides).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I’ve tried to give her some sugar water yes. She was a little less sluggish for a short time. Her tongue was hanging out for the most part but seems to have gone in now. I was very careful holding her in one hand and letting her drink from a teaspoon with the other. But I honestly couldn’t say whether she got any - she cleared off her face a little which was the first real movement since picking her up earlier today. i also tried just cleaning her a little with a tiny food brush - I got a little too much on her face. I’ll try the flowers if I can find some. No pesticides in my yard, no. It’s heartbreaking to see!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kat

  109. Hello,

    I am in Chicago and tonight I found a bee outside that was freezing (it's 44 degrees) so I brought it inside and it seems to be ok. Tomorrow the high is 40 and on Wednesday we'll reach 50 with possible rain but then were expected to drop back into the 30s for a few days. What is the best thing I can do for the bee?

    Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lauren

    1. What sort of bee is it, large and fluffy (like a bumble bee), or thinner and less fluffy and striped (like a honey bee)?

      Those temperatures are not very bee-friendly, and I think perhaps Wednesday (with temperatures near 50, even despite possible rain) would be the only likely day to release your bee safely. I would warm your bee up very well indoors first, as well as offering a few drops of sugar water, and only release your bee once it seemed "all buzzed up" with warmth and energy, towards the warmest part of your day, and ideally placed in a spot with direct sunlight.

      In the meantime today, I'd keep a close eye on your bee to see how it behaves. It should be more active during the day, but not too active (you don't want it buzzing around its enclosure trying to escape, as that will use up energy). Placing the enclosure in a cooler room will calm your bee down if that happens. Make sure to offer a little sugar water (just a few drops, so as not to end up with a sticky bee)! Your bee should be just fine spending a day with you.

      If it's a honey bee, I'd release it in the exact spot I found it so she can find her way back to her hive. If it's a very large bumble bee, then I'd look for a spot where there's plenty of soil and hopefully leaf litter and such (a park?), for her to find a place to hibernate for the winter (since it's the time of year for young bumble bee queens).

      If she doesn't leave on Wednesday, then you'll likely end up with your bee throughout the following freezing days. What to do in that case really does depend on the type of bee. If she is a young bumble bee queen, she might choose to hibernate in something as simple as a plant pot filled with soil loosely, where she can dig into the ground so she doesn't freeze. If she's a honey bee, then she'll definitely need to get back to her hive for winter. It's unlikely she's another type of bee, given the time of year.

      I hope you have luck warming her up well on Wednesday! Aim to begin warming her (in a nice warm room indoors) about an hour before the warmest part of your day, ensuring she has as long a window as possible of close-to-50-degree temperatures in which to try to find her own spot for winter. Offer some more drops of sugar water then too, so that she's as energetic as possible before taking her chances in the cold weather outdoors.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  110. Hi,

    I have found a large bee, very docile, in my kitchen last night, I have offered sugar water and put in a box overnight to protect from predators. I put him or her back outside in the sunshine today but other than waving it's leg at me it hasn't moved all day. I have brought it back in today but I'm not sure what to do next, do I just keep it in a box with some sugar water until it feels ready to go or do I need to do something else? I just want to do whats right for the poor thing.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to David

    1. That's surprising that she stayed in the same spot all day (though certainly not unheard of). Was it cold today, even in the sunlight?

      I'm guessing it's a young queen bumble bee at this time of year, and so her goal will be to find a place underground to hibernate over winter (and forage enough to build up her winter reserves of fat).

      By the way, the leg waving (typically middle legs) is usually an expression of wishing you to give the bee a little more space.

      There's no harm in bringing your bee in each night for a few nights running, but ideally she would find her own way. If it's been cold even during the day (near or below 10C) then it might help to warm her up more first before setting her out that day.

      Sugar water and warmth usually help get a bee going, but sometimes they take their time, and I've also seen them in the same spot each day (when it's either been cold or wet).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  111. I found a bumblebee outside and took her in. I didn’t realize how injured she was until I got her in and tried to feed her. She is missing the bottom half of all of her feet, an antenna, and one wing is fairly inoperable. I tried to give her a drop of honey, which she ate almost all of, but then she got up and started rolling in it. She is now covered in honey, but mostly active. I’m worried she won’t be able to clean herself off properly without most of her legs to reach places. What should I do to help her? Or is it better to just let nature take its course?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Michelle

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your bee, she sounds as though she's in a position where the most you can do is keep her comfortable, since her injuries (the wing particularly) will make it fairly impossible for her to have a normal bee life (they can actually do alright without part of a leg or antenna, but they do taste things with their feet, so losing the bottom half of all of her legs is unfortunate indeed). But the wing is the most concerning, because without the ability to fly, she will not last long outdoors.

      Sugar water is easier to get off a bee than honey... for sugar water, I usually advise a few drops of less-than-warm (but not cold) water dropped on the bee to dissolve the sugars, but I don't think honey will be easy to remove by either your bee or yourself. It's probably not all the world for her to have some honey on her, as long as she's with you... if she was outdoors, that would attract ants, and she would undoubtedly be taken apart (likely while still alive) by the ants, along with them consuming the honey on her.

      I guess if I could gently remove some honey from her I would, but I wouldn't advise the water since I don't think it will really do much to dissolve the honey, and having a cold wet bee isn't ideal either. I'd bring some flowers in if you still have them (dandelions would do) and kind of make her an interesting little area for her to live in, while continuing to supply her with honey for as long as she's alive.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  112. Hi,

    I rescued an almost dead bee a few days ago. I live in Southern California where we recently had very strong winds and fires. I found the bee early morning wet and almost dead. I rescued it, put it inside a large plastic container over a paper towel. I also placed pure bee honey with wax that my mother in law brought from lithuania on a small plastic spoon and water in the container. By late afternoon the bee was clearly back to life and thriving. However, the winds were still really strong the following few days so I did not want to release the bee. What should I do know? If I release the bee will it be able to find the hive? Or is it just going to die. I feel it's cruel to keep it in the container and also cruel to let it out if it will just end up back where it started. Thank you!!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tal

    1. Strong winds are certainly dangerous for bees... they won't be able to fly in winds that are over 25mph or so. Do you have an idea as to whether it's a honey bee (smaller and thinner), a bumble bee (fluffier and larger), or some other kind of bee?

      If it's a honey bee or smaller bumble bee, it will have a hive to get back to (if it's a really large bumble bee, or a solitary bee, it won't be needing to get back to a hive... large bumble bee queens overwinter on their own underground). In the case of bees with hives to get back to, it's important to release them close to the place you found them, otherwise they won't be able to find their way back home.

      I think I'd judge whether to keep it or not based on wind conditions, type of bee, and your bee's behavior. If winds are above 25mph, I'd keep your bee in. If it's a honey bee, she will need to get back to her hive sooner rather than later, but she's still not going to be able to fly in strong winds. Bumble bees seem a bit better in strong winds, but still I wouldn't release a bee if your winds are above 25mph.

      In terms of your bee's behavior, I'd just watch to make sure that your bee is active during the day, and not seeming to deteriorate in terms of daily energy. So long as your bee is fed, she should be able to live in captivity for some time, but I agree that the sooner you can release her safely, the better.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you so much for advise. I believe it's a honey bee. My concern was that she would not find her way back to the hive. So glad that is not an issue. Any yes, when winds die down, I will release during same time of day and in same location as I heard that bees tend to navigate using the position of the sun. Thanks again.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Tal

  113. I live in Kansas and when out trick or treating tonight my 6 yr old spotted a bumble bee that needed help. I scoped it up and brought it home. I put some sugar water on a cotton ball and put him in a glass container with some holes and a few sticks to climb on. After reading the page I offered a small cap with sugar water. My little guy is moving a lot more but I haven’t seen him flutter his wings. I am keeping him overnight inside but the high tomorrow is only 51.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jinni

    1. 51 degrees is alright, so long as your bee is well-warmed before releasing her. Bumble bees do fly at colder temperatures than other bees, and they can generate their own warmth a bit too.

      I would try warming your bee up well indoors tomorrow in a warm room. Near a heater is fine, but not for too long or too close, and only if carefully monitored, since artificial heat can be very drying.

      It looks like the warmest parts of your days are between 1pm and 7pm, so what I would do is to begin warming your bee up around noon, and also offer sugar water in the later morning too (be careful not to offer too much, in case your bee is a bit clumsy).

      I would take her outdoors in her container close to 1pm, and if there's any direct sunlight, place her so the rays fall on her. Hopefully she'll be looking more active by that point, with both artificial warmth and sugar water, and be buzzing a bit.

      It may still take her some time before she flies off, but this way, she should have an ideal start to the day, and the warmest hours of the day before her to do what she needs to do.

      At this time of year, she's likely to be a young bumble bee queen searching for a place to hibernate in the ground. So you needn't worry about returning her to the same spot you found her.

      I hope she flies off happily tomorrow!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  114. Hi. It's late October and I found a rather cold, hungry but very large bumble on the floor whilst walking with my children. We have brought him home, given some sugar water but it was nearly 5pm so we have kept him in a box overnight. He was making some attempts to move last night and walk around the box. But still very slow. Shall I take him back to the park today and just leave him in the sunshine!?? If we have any!

    Thank you x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Samantha

    1. I apologize for not replying sooner, I'm on west coast US time. Hopefully you took your bee to the park earlier today, as that's what I would have suggested. They seem very slow when they're cold, but all they usually need is a little warmth (and energy from nectar or sugar water) to get them going again. Sunshine is the best, but otherwise it's a good idea to warm them up artificially first, and then release them close to the warmest part of the day.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  115. Hi, I rescued a bumble bee early this morning from a bucket of dirty cold water found out on the farm. It was completely drench so I took it indoors cut a water bottle in half and put some kitchen roll inside to help absorb the water off it. A few hours on and it’s really brightened up. I have given it some sugary warm water which it loved and now it seems bright. Shall I release it ? Or keep it in the warm until tomorrow? Many thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tiffany

    1. I apologize for not replying sooner. I think either way would be fine... my inclination would be to release her if it was not too late in the day where you are, so basically if there was still some daylight left.

      If you have ended up keeping her overnight, don't be surprised if she seems sluggish in the morning, that's quite natural since they slow down when they're colder in the night, and then take some time the following morning to warm up ready for flight.

      When keeping them overnight, it's important to mimic outdoor temperatures as much as possible (without freezing them, that is!), so that they don't get all buzzed up with nowhere to go. It's also good to keep their natural circadian rhythms normal (with typical day/night cycles).

      If you have kept her overnight, simply warm her well and offer more sugar water in the morning, and let her choose when to leave. I've seen bees take several hours to get going before, but it totally depends on the bee and the weather conditions.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  116. Hi there,

    Hope u can help me found a bubble bee two days ago on the floor in the patio outside. Tried giving her sugary mix I think she did drink some, hard to tell. As on the floor shifted her to a table and tried again giving the mix she is not interested and keeps moving away.

    Have placed her on a bush and she seems ok still moving but not interested in the mix have tried everything. Her wings are on top of each other and seems fine. Why is she still alive after 3 days, with out drinking ? it’s getting really cold outside now some sunny does appear and I think she like that goes very still and stays there.

    What should I do leave her in her environment she has survived three days so far.

    Hope u can give me some advice. Thanks 🙂

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Alice

    1. I realize it's late where you are now, but do you have any sunlight during the days, and is she in a spot where she'll get some sun on the bush? Are there still any flowers around for bees, perhaps dandelions if nothing else? Dandelions are nice because they flower so much earlier and later than other flowers, and they're also readily accessible to a variety of bee species.

      Another idea is to try gently warming her with your breath, breathing a few inches away from her. Basically warming her up would be a way to help her get on her way. She's still alive, even without drinking anything, because she's not using much energy. Bees, when they're cold, enter a state of torpor that takes very little energy.

      Another option is gently to nudge her into a box and bring her into a warm room indoors for awhile. If you do have dandelions, you could cut a few and place them in the box, and drop some sugar water on them as a little extra top up. Once she's well warmed indoors (you'll need a lid for the box with holes), she should begin actively buzzing a bit.

      I would begin warming her up sometime close to the warmest part of your day, so that the outdoor temperatures are as favorable as possible. Hopefully they're at least 10C there at the warmest part of your day, though she'll be able to fly short distances at lower temperatures if she's well-warmed first.

      If she's a large bumble bee, she's likely a young queen looking to hibernate overwinter, so she won't really need to go very far, she'll just need to find herself a spot in the ground. Sometimes they'll even settle for hibernating beneath undisturbed leaf litter too.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  117. I found a large bee (I'm not sure what kind, sorry) in my house on the floor, he was on his back and just wiggling his legs about and shaking his little feet. I put him the right way up. And he just flips himself over. I read that they do this when threatened but I just found him on my floor like this and nothing could have threatened him before I found him. He doesn't want any sugar water and he keeps pulsating his bottom half. He's just been doing it for hours. He buzzes a little sometimes but just sits there on his back wiggling his feet and wiping his eyes. I looked at his wings too and they didn't look chipped or worn around the tips. Also it is non stop wiggling, not just occasionally.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Francis

    1. Hmm, flipping over continually like that is not normal behavior, and I'm not aware of (at least, I've not read of nor witnessed myself) bees ever doing so when threatened. Pulsating is something that's seen much more commonly... it's akin to "heavy breathing" in a sense (bees breathe through the sides of their bodies).

      The sort of behavior you're describing is often associated with acute pesticide poisoning, but that's not to say it's definitely the case here, just the most common cause of the symptoms you're describing (the flipping over and the non-stop wiggling).

      I would try your bee outdoors today if possible, ideally near some flowers if there are some (dandelions work well). Warming your bee up is often helpful too (ideally in direct sunlight, but indoors with artificial heat, or simply breathing warm air on a bee, works too).

      I wish I had something specific to suggest to help your bee get back on its feet, and flush whatever it might be (if there is something) through its system. I'm hoping it's something temporary that time may cure. Try warming your bee up in the later morning (when it's not as cold out), and offering a small amount of sugar water again to see if it can build up some energy.

      Larger bees often take hours to warm up and fly off, so keep that in mind too. Sometimes, people keep bees several nights before they decide they're ready to go, it depends on the bee and the weather.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  118. About a week ago my mom helped a tired or dying bumble bee by giving her sugar water. She was still lying down on a plate when I arrived home late that day. I didn’t have the heart to look at her since we thought she was dead. Just this evening we noticed movement (yes, we still had her on a plate). So this evening I gave her some more sugar water and then realized I had to unstick her poor leg from the paper plate.

    Now it appears that there really is very little movement, however she is moving and it’s so sick that she is alive but barely. 😫 I do not know what to do. Help please!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lauren

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that. It's important to start with just a few small drops of sugar water close to the bee's head. Bees can also appear unmoving/dead when they're cold, and so it's important to put them out in the sun or find another way to warm them after you find them.

      I am not sure what to say now, as I assume it's late in the evening where you are. It having been a week seems as though there is no way for this to have a good ending. However, if she's alive, it's still worth trying to do something. In the morning, I'd get her outdoors in the warmth if you have any, or else I'd put her out in some sunlight and breathe warm air on her for awhile... I mean, basically find a way to warm her up while also getting her outdoors and in real light.

      I would also find a way to drop colder-than-lukewarm water (what I mean by that is less than warm, but not chilly either) on any parts of her that look stuck/sticky. Not too much! Just enough to begin dissolving the sugars a bit, and do this only once she's outdoors too, I wouldn't try tonight as you'll have a cold wet bee if you do.

      In the future, a small amount of sugar water, along with warmth, can make all the difference to a bee, but keep in mind that they can be clumsy too when they're not doing well, so we have to make it as easy as possible for them to drink up some energy, without causing them any further problems getting sticky. It really depends on the bee... some have enough energy to drink easily from a bottle cap, but it's always best to start with just a few small drops to be safe.

      Reply

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  119. Hello, I love in VERY upstate NY about 30 miles from the Canadian border. I was at my husband's work when I found two worker honey bees out in the cold. They were moving very sluggish and the temperature outside was dropping fast. So now I have 2 bees , in the fall weather, in a cup in my car. Should I keep them overnight? Can you keep bees for long periods of time? Maybe getting fresh flowers? Because up here it is only going to get colder... This all sounds so silly aloud, but I just really want to help these guys.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Poppysma.fish

    1. I totally understand the desire to help them out :) In terms of keeping them, however, honey bees do need to get back to their hive within a few days (ideally sooner) in order to survive the winter, since they're quite social creatures and do not do well long from their hive. You can certainly keep them overnight, but I would definitely take them back to where you found them tomorrow (for navigational purposes, they need to be near where they were in order to find their way back home).

      They'll definitely do better if they're well-warmed before you release them, and you can also try offering a bit of sugar-water in the morning. The problem with fresh flowers, at least if they're cut, is that they soon stop producing nectar. But if you have a good bee plant that's small enough to place in an enclosure with your bees, they might enjoy that. Another trick is dropping sugar water on cut flowers, as a way to encourage bees to drink and get extra energy.

      If you can warm your two bees up well first, as well as get a bit of sugar water into them, and then release them at the warmest point of the late morning near where you found them, they should have their best chances of making it back to their hive safe and sound.

      Reply

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  120. Found a very large bee in a bucket of water yesterday. Rescued it and put it in our garage on some kitchen roll to dry out. Seem bit brighter today but still very warm out. I had put some sugar water out for it, tried offering on a spoon but didnt take any. Its huge, not sure if a queen. Any suggestions as to what to do to help this beautiful creature?

    Many thanks

    Caroline x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Caroline

    1. Chances are that a very large bee at this time of year is a young queen bumble bee looking for a spot to hibernate for winter.

      Do you have any dandelions around, by chance? I ask because another way to administer a sugar water boost is to drop a little sugar water on a dandelion.

      I see your weather is fairly cold and wet right now. I think the best way to help your bee would be to warm her up indoors in the morning, and also try her again with sugar water. But even if she doesn't take any sugar water, warming her up should still help her get going again.

      She'll be able to fly at your cooler temperatures, even with some rain, but she'll be much more likely to be able to do so if she's warmed up well first. Ideally, come mid-to-late morning, she'll be ready to fly off to find a place underground to hibernate. If you have any late-blooming flowers nearby, you might try releasing her near those towards the warmer part of the late morning tomorrow.

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  121. Right before sunset, we found two bumblebees in our garden who weren't moving but alive. We decided to take them in overnight because it is supposed to drop into the 30s tonight and they weren't moving, but still alive. We put them in a jar with a little bit of cloth covering the top. We placed it in a dark room so they know that it's night and they sleep. Is it okay that we put them in the jar?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to James

    1. Yes, it should be fine to place them in a jar overnight. When bumble bees are cold, they enter a state of torpor (which can make them look dead at times), but warming them up "revives" them.

      In the morning, I'd try warming your jar with bees indoors for a bit, so that both bees are freshly warmed and energized before you place their jar outdoors with the cloth off so that they can be on their way. Keep an eye on them to make sure they're happy together still.

      You might also try offering a bit of sugar water in the morning should you wish, but make sure not to offer more than a few drops, so that they don't get covered in it accidentally. They may also be fine without sugar water, so long as they're well-warmed.

      Assuming tomorrow offers decent temperatures and isn't pouring with rain, they should be on their way come mid-to-late morning (more likely so if they're warmed, and also if they've drunk a bit of sugar water too, which will give them an energy boost).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for the advice. But unfortunately, we're out of any cane sugar. So hopefully they will be able to go on without it.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to James

  122. Found wet bumble bee on patio this morning. Put her in box and tried with sugar solution which she showed no interest in. Left it on some tin foil along with piece of melon and some hay. She crawled in hay and hasn't moved for ten hours. She is still alive. Added flowers but shown no interest. Should i let her rest or try to persuade her with sugar water? Worried she will die if she doesn't drink. Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to chantak

    1. I am so sorry for not replying sooner, I've been traveling. Is she a particularly large bumble bee, like a queen bumble bee? I'm wondering if she crawled into the hay thinking of it as a potential place to hibernate.

      It's hard to persuade bees to drink, though adding sugar water to cut bee flowers (dandelions work well) can help. But if she isn't even interested in bee flowers, instead being drawn to the hay, she may well have prepared herself for hibernation already, and simply be looking for a good spot to overwinter.

      That is, assuming she is a bumble bee queen, but there's a pretty good chance at this time of year, and the new queens are the only bumble bees that survive winter by hibernating individually. Well, I say only, but in more recent years, buff-tailed bumble bees have been establishing winter colonies in Southern Britain, so it's possible you'll have bumble bees year round there too.

      The hay might even work as a place to overwinter if she's a young bumble bee queen, but more naturally, she would hibernate underground. Looking at your local weather, it seems like today (Monday) will be your warmest day, even though it also looks rainy today and through the week. I'm hoping that it's a more intermittent kind of rain, such that you could warm your bee up first indoors, to give her a bit of a boost before setting her out with the hope she'll find what she needs on her own. Bumble bees can fly in light rain too.

      This is one of those situations where careful observation will be helpful, as her inclinations are important to take into account. I wish I had something more definitive to advise. If she sticks to her hay, you might try placing the hay with her in some safe location that won't freeze but that will remain at outdoor temperatures. You'd have to be sure the location would not be found by mice or similar. And it'd be helpful if visible light would guide her out, should she wish.

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  123. I was just emptying the old soil from my window boxes when I disturbed a large fluffy bee. Beautiful. I quickly put everything back and I’m planning on putting into my outdoor, under stair cupboard until spring. Am I too late? Is the damage done. I’m really upset 😢

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lisa

    1. You have done exactly the right thing in this situation, so I would not worry too much about having disturbed what sounds like a young queen bumble bee in her chosen winter hibernation spot. She will very likely stay there if you put everything back as it was, and I've heard this advice directly from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust folks.

      Reply

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  124. I saved a bee that was drowning in sugar water. Then other bees came around him and seemed to be helping him. Do they do that?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lois

    1. Other honey bees will certainly come and help clean a bee belonging to their hive (this has been documented inside hives). It's a really interesting question as to whether bees will help others of their own species, or even other species of bees, and it's a question for which I do not currently have an answer. But if I read any research on the subject in the future, I'll certainly post it on this website. Learning from observations is helpful too. Do you happen to know what type of bees they were, and by chance, did you get any photos or video?

      Reply

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  125. I have seen so many struggling bumble bees this year. Numbers of honey bees I see this year is very low. Is it something related to the new wireless antenna they placed near my house? The trees seems damaged and dying too. Is there anything that I can do to help them?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Aiko

    1. I apologize for my late reply, I've been traveling. I am sorry to hear of your reports of many struggling bumble bees and low numbers of honey bees. And of the trees' sickness too...

      I do believe that studies have not shown any significant effects on bees as a result of wireless signals. There are such a number of stressors on bees in modern life though, including pesticide use (weakening immune systems or causing acute toxicity), agricultural systems (especially monocultural), and the effects of commercial bumble bee imports on native populations (spreading disease).

      Having said all that, I will say that a friend of mine once lived in a house located right beneath three cellular towers, and never did he have such problems health-wise as in that house (intense migraines and a general lack of well-being). So there might be something as yet undiscovered on that front, in terms of the effects on living creatures.

      There's a sense in which I feel we're all living in one great experiment currently, in terms of exposing living creatures to so many potentially negative substances and influences, none of which they evolved to handle. Pesticides and monocultures are likely of most concern to bees' health, but everything adds up.

      In terms of what you can do to help, I would try to plant bee-friendly flowers, leave habitat for bees (dead stems overwinter for the stem-nesters, and bare patches of soil in sunny locations for the ground-nesters). Talking to your neighbors/communities about going pesticide-free is always a help too (and buying organic yourself, in order to support safer forms of agriculture).

      There's a project called Bee City USA that might perhaps be of interest to you too, if there's a chance that you might be able to raise the issue of pollinator awareness and protection in your community: https://www.beecityusa.org

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  126. Hi Elise. I'm in Indiana and it's about 64 degrees here. Woke up to what seems to be 2 honey bees frozen to my window? There seems to be frost on my window just where the two bees are. It's really weird. I have pictures of needed. What is going on here? I've never seen this happen before.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kari

    1. I've certainly never seen that myself. Perhaps the moisture from the bees might have something to do with the build up of frost right where they are. I take it that they were no longer alive? Feel free to reply to the email you'll receive with photos.

      Reply

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  127. I observed a black carpenter bee on my yellow wild flower yesterday afternoon and noticed it stayed on the same flower(collecting pollen)all through the night and through a down pour of overnight rain. I cut the flower with this bee and placed it on my covered patio..it was dripping wet and still on the flower..now it is still on the flower moving about and collecting more pollen..it this normal...I love it! Have pics

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sue

    1. That is a little unusual, staying on a single flower for so long! But I have noticed when taking bee photographs that larger bees (bumble bee queens and carpenter bees) spend more time on a given flower or cluster of close flowers, compared with other smaller bees... perhaps because it takes them more energy to fly?

      I'd love to see your photos :) Just reply to the email you'll receive if you'd like to share them!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  128. Hi thankyou for taking the time to help the bees.

    I found a small bee in a shallow puddle of water. It was struggling so I picked it up with a leaf and placed it on our outside window sill which was under cover. I checked on it 1/2 later and though it was moving slightly decided to bring it inside because it was getting dark with light rain. After looking on your site I placed it in a little box with some breathing holes in it. I placed a small piece of microfibre cloth in it. A little teabag strainer and a leaf and flower I picked fresh from the garden.

    At first I put in a teaspoon with a little sugar water in it but found it in it struggling. I removed it. It did climb through one of the bigger breathing holes and I thought it would be ok so took it outside but when it flew it landed on the porch and with wings still out walked fast but did not attempt to fly. It's wings seem extended all the time. I returned it to the box because it was cold, wet and dark outside. There seems to be a little gap between its head and body. It may be my perception

    Any suggestions and is what I've put in the box ok.

    Thankyou

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Yvonne

    1. Hello, and apologies for replying so late, I'm in another time zone. It sounds like you've done all the right things so far. Hopefully you'll have a nice sunny day today, and putting your bee's box open in full sun should help give your bee the energy to fly off.

      As for the gap between head and body, that's actually normal for bees... though one only notices it looking at them close up. It's also normal to walk around with wings extended when conditions aren't ideal, as if they're considering whether flying is possible.

      If your bee seems slow even after some time in sunlight (and if you don't want to risk your bee falling in a sugar water solution again), you might try gently placing or tipping your bee onto some good-for-bees flowers in the sunlight, if you have any (good-for-bees meaning any you've seen similar bees visiting). That way your bee can top up on nectar energy directly, as well as warming up at the same time.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hello Elise

        Thank you for getting back to me. Unfortunately my little bee did not make it. Im not sure why. I tried to give him some sugar/water but he/she kept moving away. so i put some on a daphne flower i placed in there. I noted it was active when i first put him /her in the box but when i checked it later that night it was laying on its side. On googling i thought it was sleeping as when i touched it gently with a leaf it moved but somewhat disoriented. I decided to not bother it further in case it was sleeping but it must of been dying. It seems a little dry now but have still made up a solution and placed it on a leaf in the box. I was wondering if it was either too cold or too hot in the box. I did piece several tiny holes in it, then placed the box i a large gift bag just in case it found its way out. If i should happen to come across the same situation again, should i let it go, even at night if it walks around. it was so much stronger then. I accept responsibility but am eager to learn so i can educate others in same situation. Ive decided to see if any sunshine outside today and see if it really has gone to bee heaven.

        Thank you for what you do, just with this little bee i am educated more.

        Cheers and God bless

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to yvonne

        1. I am so sorry to hear that. It always distresses me greatly to hear when a bee does not make it, especially as it can seem to be a result of our actions (and more particularly, of following my advice on this page).

          There is no way to be sure what happened in your case, but what I can say is that there should have been nothing about keeping your bee overnight that would have caused it to have passed in the night. The advice here has been adjusted over many years based on many people's experiences with their bees, and so long as the bee is otherwise in reasonable health, this advice tends to give bees their best chance for survival.

          There are two reasons I advise keeping weak bees overnight. First, when they're caught out in the cold unexpectedly, they may be able to crawl to shelter, but they cannot fly, and so they make easy prey. Second, when people keep a bee overnight, and see it fly off the following day, they feel a sense of closeness to their bee that tends to stay with them, and that is something so good to feel and to share with others. I think it may be the only chance bees have for long-term coexistence with people: for people to feel closer to them, and to share that feeling with others. We care most about that which we love, in other words. To be clear though, giving people this up-close experience with a bee would not be worth it if it caused the bee any potential harm, but again, in almost every case, it helps the individual bee get a strong start the following morning, giving it its best chance for survival and a good bee life.

          Bees slow down overnight because they are cold-blooded, so it is not surprising that a bee should appear active before then, and get progressively less active as temperatures cool. Puddles are dangerous for bees, because they can exhaust their energy reserves quickly. Bees' health also tends to be far more precarious these days: a result of an unhealthy environment (not enough floral diversity, and oftentimes poisoned food sources that they have no way to know to avoid). Also, bee management practices have encouraged the spread of some debilitating bee pathogens to wild populations from imported captive bees used in agriculture (I'm speaking of bumble bees specifically in this case, not of honey bees, though there is some concern over some of these pathogens being spread to other bee species too, including the many solitary native bees).

          I think had you let your bee out on its own last night, you would not have felt that awful feeling of discovering a bee that had passed on (and feeling the responsibility that comes with that), but I also doubt the bee's chances of success on its own, even though you would have had no way to know what happened to it. In almost every case, sugar-water and warmth do wonders for a tired bee. But warmth late at night before being released doesn't last long, hence it's advisable to keep them overnight at normal nighttime temperatures, and warm them up well the following morning. But there are times when, for unknown reasons, the bee does not make it. It could even be that your bee was old... not all bees survive this time of year, especially male bees. In bumble bees, only the new queens survive through winter, for example. Honey bees are a bit different, but even their colonies go down in numbers over winter, as they do not need all those foragers any longer (nor the male drones).

          All this to say, I think you did all the right things, and given my own experience with ailing bees, as well as all I've heard from other people around the world, I would do the same again were I to find one struggling late in the day that was unable to fly off. Bumble bee scientists keep bees safely in captivity, and so long as they have access to a few drops of sugar-water, and some items of interest in their box, and so long as the box is kept close to a natural night-time temperature (just frost-free), they almost always awake the next morning cold and sluggish (as bees would when waking up outdoors), but ready for flight once they warm up. I think it's most likely yours was either an older bee, or that there was something else amiss that was not visible externally, either as a result of the time spent in the puddle, or something entirely unrelated (they also suffer from a number of internal parasites, and those can bother them a great deal as time goes on, and even cause odd behavior such as periods of seeming activity before passing on).

          Once again, I am so sorry to hear of this, and all I can say with certainty is that nothing you have described doing would have brought about an untimely end for your bee. Thank you for caring about your bee, it is so good to hear of other people caring for individual bees too. The more people that do, the more likely we will have these beautiful and vital creatures in our world long into the future.

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          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Thank you Elise for taking the time to answer... I feel a bit better now... You may laugh but i even placed some holy water on it this morning, just in case, but alas it was not its time to revive.

            God Bless and thank you for doing what you do. Every little bit of information you have given has made me a lot wiser.

            xx

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  129. Hello Elise, its about the bumble bee that arrived 2 weeks ago, have tried sugar water, grapes, flowers, but nothing happening, hasn't flown off, but not dead, seems to be still living, but very very docile. Is there anything else I can do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lorraine

    1. What size is your bumble bee, relatively speaking (particularly large bumble bees are typically queens, hence my question). Is your bee mostly inactive even in direct sunlight throughout the day?

      I wish I knew of something else to suggest. I assume your bee has had some offered food at some point, since I don't think it'd be alive otherwise? It's unfortunate (and unusual) for bees not to respond to warmth and sugar water. I suppose I would keep trying the bee outdoors each day.

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  130. Hi, not an urgent question but just want to know better in case there is a next time. I found a largish bumblebee crawling on our patio last evening, she fed from some tiny flowers (thyme?) but didn't fly away just kept crawling across the lawn. It wasn't really cold and there were some other bees on the caryopteris. I tried to offer her some sugary water but she didn't seem interested, just crawled up my arm and onto my back. Seemed to be "tasting" my arm and i even tried dripping some sugary water on my arm but she just ignored it. Once she was on my back I tried kneeling by the caropteris but she just stayed there. I didn't know what to do so I shook her off, she didn't seem dozy just kept marching along the lawn but there aren't any flowers on our lawn at the moment. I left the sugary water there and went in, today I found her dead. My question is should I have cupped her in my hands to warm her up or what should I have done?

    Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Esther

    1. I am sorry to hear that. If she was a largish bumble bee, there's a good chance she'd be a queen. It's hard to speculate as to why she did not make it, since there are a number of possibilities.

      It's that time of year when new queens will be leaving their colonies and preparing for winter hibernation by foraging and building up supplies of food in their bodies to see them through winter (they each then find their own spots to hibernate underground). She should have been able to spend the night out just fine, even if it were under a leaf or similar shelter.

      It sounds like she did appreciate your warmth, so yes if there's a next time, perhaps I'd cup her gently to transfer more heat to her. Bumble bees can warm themselves up too (it looks a bit like trembling, since they use their flight muscles, decoupled from their wings, to generate heat).

      They do suffer from other less-than-obvious problems like internal parasites (which are quite common in bumble bees), and perhaps something like that played a role here, but it is impossible to say.

      Warmth and sugar water most often do the trick, but it sounds as though this bee wasn't hungry. I wish I had a more definitive answer for you. It depends on how the bee in question responds... from all you've said, I would have thought this bee would have been fine, and I'm not sure there's anything else you could have done that would have improved her chances.

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  131. Am so sad. Found a very tired and cold bumble bee yesterday - almost dead. It was after 5pm and very cold and no sun. I brought her inside and managed to revive her with sugar water having thought she had no chance - delighted! It was 7pm and now dark as well as cold. So I put her in a shoebox for the night with a small bit of grass, and lots of holes in the box. Box was in our back room - in the house but no heating on. This morning when i opened the box she was dead. What went wrong? What did I do wrong? She was feeling so much better after being revived that she was crawling around on the plate where I’d put the sugar water. I now feel like I killed her by putting her in the box and I am crying with sadness.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Georgina

    1. I am so so sorry to hear that. I do think, however, that putting her in the box had nothing to do with her death. I realize how it feels like that though. Was it a large queen, or a smaller bee such as a worker or a male bumble bee? I wonder if there was something else amiss, or if simply an older bee?

      There's no way to know for sure, other than that the box itself should have had nothing to do with it. There are so many times I've known of it to cause no problems at all (instead, favoring chances of success, by keeping a bee safe until conditions are optimal).

      I'm so sorry though, to hear your bee was dead upon opening the box. I can imagine that's a horrendous feeling, as one immediately thinks that one must have had some responsibility somehow. But in this case, I do not think it can be. Everything you've described should have ended with a living, if slow-moving, bee in the morning.

      One thing that comes to mind is that bumble bees commonly suffer from internal parasites, and they can have bursts of energy before succumbing to those. I am not saying that it is what happened in your case, but it's definitely a possibility.

      I wish I could say more to help.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  132. Hello! Today in our pool I found either a queen bumble bee or carpenter bee. I pulled it out and put it in a dry spot outside. It’s been pretty cool all day and I’ve offered sugar water but the bee doesn’t seem interested. I’ve checked a few times to see if it’s still moving and if I gently nudge I can see it’s still alive. My question is I’m thinking of bringing inside since it’s warm but tomorrow we’re expecting rain all day. Would it be ok to keep the bee until Tuesday when it’s going to be sunny and warm? I’m thinking maybe if I bring it inside it will warm up and be more inclined to drink as well?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mallory

    1. Yes, it'll be fine to bring your bee in for a day, keeping it through Tuesday morning. And yes, if she is warm, she will be more inclined to drink and move about. At night, still keep your bee around nighttime temperatures. The only thing I'd caution is not to keep her too warm on the day that it's raining, because she might get all ready to go, without realizing it's not good weather for it.

      If she doesn't seem interested in sugar water, you could also trying putting some fresh cut flowers (dandelions, for example) inside her box, with droplets of sugar water on them as a top-up. Though in the end it'll be up to her, and so long as she's not expending much energy, she may well be fine (though depending on how long she was in the pool, she may have expended quite a bit of her stored energy).

      In most cases, all of the above should work well for your bee. Simply put her box out open in the sun on Tuesday morning near some flowers, and after an hour or two (less or more depending on how long it takes her to warm up well) she should buzz off happily! You could also try gently placing her on nearby flowers in the sunlight.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you! I will try to find some flowers for her, I’m in Wisconsin so most things have started to die. Hopefully she will be up and moving around come Tuesday. I’m not sure how long she was in the pool.

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  133. Hi Elise, I have a bumble bee in the garden. I found him floating on his back in the shallow dish I have for birds drinking. Managed to get him out, and he was still living and moving. This was Thursday. I tried the sugar drink, but he moved away from it. It is now Saturday He is still here, looks very tired, but not flying. I have tried giving him the sugar drink again, but he turns away. Anything else I could try. Thank you, Lorraine.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lorraine

    1. Have you tried 'hiding' the sugar water by lacing a dandelion with droplets of it, and offering that to the bee? How does your bee respond in direct sunlight (if you have any)? Can you warm your bee up artificially (nothing too drying, but a warm room in a box, or warm breath across them, for example)?

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  134. How can I help a Bee whose wings are stuck together?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kate

    1. One quick note... bees breathe through the sides of their bodies, so it is important not to immerse them in water. That's why I suggest dropping water cautiously over the wings. Bees do get caught out in rain sometimes, so they can get wet. But after getting wet, they'll need to be warmed and dried well before they can get going again.

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    2. Do you know what it is that is sticking the wings together? Generally speaking, if they are stuck with something sugary, a good way to handle it is carefully to drip colder-than-lukewarm water drops on the wings. Just one or two drops at first; the key is to do the least possible, while still loosening whatever is sticking than together.

      If things seem dire, since wings are so essential, I might use a cotton swab soaked with colder-than-lukewarm water, but I think that would only work on exposed materials stuck to the wing, and not help if the wings continue to be stuck together.

      The water droplets should loosen the wings with a little time though, to the point where the bee can exert its own force to separate them once more. You could then do so clean up (if it seemed required) with a cotton swab (again, ever so gently).

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  135. Found two struggling bees in a friend’s garden while I was housesitting. They weren’t dehydrated as it had just rained, but they both were still clearly weak. I put them in the base of a plant. My friends literally had no sugar in the house… just Splenda! The only sugary substance they had was pineapple juice so I put a little of that out for them. Better than nothing or would that make them worse?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lena

    1. I think the answer is probably better that than nothing, but I'm not certain. It depends a lot on the pineapple juice itself too.

      Surprisingly, during late times of year when flowers are dwindling in diversity and abundance, honey bees are seen feasting on plums, peaches, grapes, apples, figs, and pears.

      So I think so long as it's a fairly natural source (without too many additives) it should be fine, and even any source (since it's just the one time they're having it) should be alright too. Definitely energy for them if they drank it, and that can make all the difference to a good bee life still to live!

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  136. Hi Elise!

    I have a bee garden in my yard. Things are starting to wind down and I wondered is it OK to supplement as the flowers are coming to an end for this summer? Is it OK to place sugar water at various spots? I have honeybees and many species of bumbles. I hate to see them working so hard for diminishing returns. Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Victoria

    1. I understand why it would be nice to offer your bees something at this time of year, but it's not a good idea to place sugar water out for bees. Sugar water is "fast food" compared to nectar from a selection of varied flowers, which each have their own balances of amino acids, proteins, and minerals. Also, providing open sources of sugar water attracts a wide variety of insects and changes their collective behavior, often triggering aggressive behavior.

      The best thing to do is to include more early and late flowering plants in your bee garden. I think it might be particularly helpful for people who care about bees to focus on plants that flower at the edges of the seasons, since that's when bees and other pollinators will be having their most trouble finding food. Even dandelions help :)

      Reply

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  137. I found a bumble bee 3 hours ago, I have offered him sugary water but he’s not interested. He’s walking all over me but stops every so often. Very sluggish and slow, no signs of flying off. The wings work as when he walked into the sugary water his wings went crazy. Not sure what to do next, please help

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lucy

    1. Your bee is likely cold, and that's why it is not showing signs of flying off. It takes quite a bit of energy for bees to get going (more so for bumble bees), and sunlight is the best source of quick warmth and energy for them.

      Since it's late where you are, I'd suggest either popping your bee in a ventilated box for the night, or placing your bee outdoors in a sheltered and safe area for the night, ideally near some flowers that you've seen other similar bees visiting.

      In the morning, try offering sugar water again, and also try placing your bee in direct sunlight, if your weather is sunny. If it's overcast, you might try warming your bee up indoors first... walking on you is a good way to absorb extra heat too, but it often takes bees time (think hours) to get going if they began cold or sluggish.

      Reply

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  138. Hi, I found a wet sluggish honey bee (after heavy rain) on a step in my garden. I offered sugary water, but so far the bee has not been interested in it at all. I bought flowers in the hopes it would liven the bee up a little. I also brought the bee inside as it started to rain again.

    It walks around on my hand, but as soon as I put it back down on the step outside, it stops moving and doesn’t move from where I left it. It’s been 5 hours since I first found it now.

    I don’t have a shoe box to keep it in over night. Whenever the bee comes inside it livens up and is walking around all over the place so it can’t stay in here roaming around during the night as I will lose it, but I’m concerned about leaving it outside now as it’s due to rain again this evening, but whenever I leave it outside it just stays totally still.

    What else can I do?

    Many Thanks,

    Anna.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to AJ

    1. I do apologize for my late reply, I've been traveling. I am not sure if my reply will still be helpful as a result, but I hope so.

      I think the fact that your bee is more lively indoors is a good sign... it's just the cold that's keeping her from being able to fly off outdoors, in all likelihood.

      I realize it's late where you are now, and I don't know if you still have your bee. If you could find another container that would be helpful... anything that is able to be ventilated but still enclosed would do, even a colander over your bee.

      The other option is to find a place outdoors that is sheltered from the rain (under an overhang or similar, on some flowers ideally). You could then check on it again in the morning (chances are, she will still be exactly where you left her).

      No matter where it spends the night, try again with the sugar water in the morning to give your bee an energy boost. Sometimes, adding a few drops of sugar water to something like a cut dandelion can encourage them to drink.

      And if there is sun in the morning, move it to the sunniest place. Or warm it up well indoors first, even on your hand if you are comfortable so doing. The warmer and better fed your bee, the more energized she will be, and she should be able to fly off even if it's overcast, so long as it is not raining.

      Reply

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  139. Hey last night at midnight i found a bee struggling on my wall outside. It was raining quite bad so i brought her inside and kept her over nightto keep her warm amd dry her off in a box with some sugar water. This morning i have put the box outside where i found her but shes still not flying away.i keep going to check but its like shes just gave up.. what can i do to help her more?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Becky

    1. I am so sorry I am late in replying, I've been traveling, and so I fear my reply will be too late. If you still have your bee, I would continue to try her outdoors daily... sometimes they choose to spend a day or two recovering, and we never know quite what happened before we find them, or how exhausted they might have been.

      My other thought would be to ensure her box, when placed outdoors, is such that the sunlight falls upon her. Sunlight does bees a world of good in terms of re-energizing them. If it's not been sunny, then that might be the reason she's slow to leave, but in such cases, simply putting her outdoors every morning, and ensuring she has sugar-water for energy, should help her get going, assuming she's otherwise in good health.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  140. I have about a 4” round comb on my window. My wife is allergic to bees. Need advice on removing them without getting stung or killing them.

    Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Luke

    1. If there's a honey bee hive there, then there will be much more comb than 4" round, hidden from view. And a buzzing sound, I'd think!

      If you need honey bees removed from your house (they occasionally establish colonies inside walls and other cavities), then your best bet is to contact a local beekeeper, who will safely transport them and house them. If they must remove and then replace certain parts of your siding, then they'll charge something to cover the cost of that labor and parts.

      One way to find a local beekeeper (in the U.S.) would be to check the National Honey Board beekeeper locator: https://www.honey.com/honey-locator

      Alternatively, you could do a web search for "swarm removal" in your local city/area.

      Reply

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  141. Hello,

    I appreciate your website! I’ve been innately drawn to helping revive bees in the last 3 years. I was just drawn to any on the ground and would move them to a flower or give them a sugar water feed.

    I picked a Bumble Bee up from the ground 3 days ago that miraculously, was not trodden on! I have been sheltering and feeding the bee for these 3 days but wonder, is there anything elseI can do for the bee to help its recovery? Also, is it usual for a bee to need care for 3 days +? Lastly, where would be the best place for me to release the bee when it’s ready?

    Thank you x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Nia

    1. It is unusual to have a bee stay three days, but it's not unheard of (it really does depend on the bee's individual situation). Has your weather been cold lately? Usually putting your bee out in warm direct sunlight speeds its recovery. Even if you end up putting the open box out for several days in a row, letting the bee take its time.

      If she's a small bumble bee (a worker), then it's definitely best to release her very near to where you found her. On the other hand, if she's very large (a queen), then it is not as important, in all likelihood, that you release her exactly where you found her. Especially at this time of year (going into autumn), young queens will be mating before preparing for winter hibernation (so the best place you could release her would be in a patch of flowers).

      Of course, it might be a male too, which will likely look thinner and longer than a worker. In which case, it doesn't matter where you release him at all... though flowers are still good, because he'd find all he needs there since female bumble bees would visit too.

      So ideally, place the open box in direct sunlight near flowers where you found your bee if she is a worker, or near any abundant (and ideally diverse) source of flowers if it's a queen or male. And offer sugar water: a combination of warmth and sugar energy works on every bee in the end, unless there is something else unseen that's amiss (age, internal parasites, bee diseases, pesticide poisoning, or the like).

      I hope your bee responds to the care you're giving it, and flies off happily soon!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hey Elise,

        Thank you for your swift response! Your dedication to bees is amazing! And weirdly, I started talking to a stranger about bees in my city yesterday who also had signed the petition on Greenpeace and recommended a book by a Polish author I think, called Maja Lunde. Small world huh!

        I woke up this am to find my bee out of her box and on my curtain so I feel she is making good strides. She isn’t enormous but I do believe she is a she and most likely a worker.

        I have stationed her by my window so she can get some heat and hope to release her today or tomorrow from whence she came! I just was worried about placing her on flowers that may be covered in pesticides but I suppose, I can’t control this.

        She’s buzzing and moving her wings a long which is a good sign, but worry shebe sassy with me whenever I take her to her purported home he he.

        I actually have felt that my time with this bee was so special (the human mind is a strange thing!) but it really has been. It allowed me to slow down for once as I was looking after her and to see her feeding and resting close up I felt was a privilege.

        May the bees bless you and keep you 😜

        Thanks Elise.

        From Northern Ireland.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Nia

        1. *The author is Swedish. Apologies.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Nia

        2. P.S. The weather forecast here is said to be rainy all week. It hasn’t rained yet but is it ok to release the bee before it does rain?

          X

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Nia

          1. I would try to release her, first making sure your bee is (ideally) warmed and topped off with sugar water. Bees don't fly much in the rain, but bumble bees are a bit hardier and do fly in the rain occasionally (though not complete downpours).

            Thank you for your other kind thoughts too! It does sound like your bee is active, and I'm so happy that the time you've been spending with your bee has brought you closer to her :)

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

            1. Let me just add... she'll likely get where she's going before the rain begins, so long as you release her near where you found her (she'll remember her way home).

              If it looks like she has to do a little flying in light rain, I wouldn't worry overly, so long as she takes off with energy.

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

              1. Hey!

                I took my chances as the rain was light and sporadic. Fortunately where I found her was not far from my friend’s home and I was able to place her on some plants he has outside that are known to attract bees and butterflies (Can’t remember the name).

                I placed her under a sheltered bit and she prepared for take off and moved to the plant and went straight to work! I was amazed!

                Thank you so much for your support. It really helped and I’ll be able to help other bees again safely and adequately.

                Yes, I almost teased up saying goodbye 🙄😆

                Thanks Elise x

                Reply

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        3. Apologies for error in type! iPad and predictive messaging grrr x

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  142. I fed a tired wet bumble bee for 2 days. It drinks the sugar water and goes back to sleep. It doesn't want to fly or leave the box. Is it dying

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lisa

    1. Two days is a while without much change, but sometimes it does seem to take tired bees a few days to get going, depending on what happened to them before being found. How does your bee act in direct sunlight? It might take a few hours of direct sun, but warming your bee up should stimulate flight. And I'd keep trying too, so long as your bee is drinking sugar water and still alive. Time, warmth, and sugar water work in most cases (unless there's something else wrong with your bee).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I found him when it had been raining heavy he could only walk. I took him in to dry him off and feed him but he never wanted to fly. The weather has suddenly changed from being really hot to cooler dull and some rain. There is no sunshine to put him in at the moment. I'll keep trying.

        Reply

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  143. I found a bee yesterday in my daughter's paddling pool and rescued her and put her in big tree pit to recover, I tried to feed her sugar water but she wasn't interested and instead buried herself in the soil?? Is this normal behaviour for a bee?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bananan

    1. It depends on the bee... many nest in the ground, in fact the vast majority do. Queen bumble bees and many smaller native bees all "dig" into the ground in order to build their nests, and that, perhaps, might be an explanation for what you observed. Either that, or your bee was simply trying to hide from possible danger after her experience! I would hope that if she had energy to do this, then she should have recovered fully from her time in the paddling pool. It was kind of you to rescue her :)

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  144. I found a bee that someone hit with a pool noodle then temporality after got squished on its upper part. It seems as if it’s right eye is hanging out of it’s socket and it won’t get off it’s back.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Nick

    1. I almost never give the following advice, but in this case it's clearly the right thing to do. Your bee is suffering, and its life should be ended as quickly as possible, because it can't survive in this state, and they do feel pain. Some people suggest freezing is the best way, but I don't believe that's the case, I think the suffering is simply less obvious. My suggestion (again, I wish I didn't have to say this) would be to hit it very fast with a very flat object such as a brick, in such a way as to completely obliterate the nervous system as fast as possible. I am sorry to say this, as I wish there was some way to do some kind of bee surgery, but there is no such option.

      Reply

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  145. I would like to say a big thank you after reading about reviving a Bumblebee I'm glad to say the Bee I found in my yard looked like she had giving up I read your article about how to revive a Bumblebee I followed it and picked her up and put her in our flowers this morning she seems a bit happier climbing round the flowers but hasn't flown away yet!! Does this mean she's just a old girl on her last legs or is she still just building her power back up.

    Thank you JockBhoy

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jockbhoy

    1. I would simply give her more time in the sun on the flowers, that works in most cases (sometimes hours). You can also get a sense of your bee's age by looking at her wing edges too: smooth, crisp wing edges are common in young bees, contrasted with older bees, whose wing edges are often frayed and a bit tattered.

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  146. Hi there, I'm back for advice on your excellent site. We've found a lovely bumblebee in the garden who one jagged, broken wing, and another wing that's been crushed. He is very perky but can't fly. We've popped him into a butterfly tent with a plate of flowers which he is going mad for, especially feeding off the lavender. What can we do to help him?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Claire T

    1. Oh, I am sorry to hear about your bee’s wings. This is difficult, because bumble bees are social bees, so I am not sure how “happy” they might stay if kept individually. And sadly, there’s no way to repair the damage to the wings (I’ve heard of that working for monarchs, but their wings are easier to repair in a sense).

      It would seem that the best thing to do is to keep your bee comfortable and safe from predators, which you’re doing already with the butterfly tent and the cut flowers. Cut flowers don’t hold their nectar for too long though, and I would imagine that your bee’s natural foraging instincts may also kick in soon, in the sense of trying or wishing to get back to the colony.

      Occasionally I’ve wondered if a bumble bee colony might accept an injured bee back in, with the idea of giving that bee “house duties” (which social bees all perform for the first few days after becoming adults). But I’m not sure that the bees would allow an injured be in (I think it would need to be tested out), and it also hinges on knowing where the colony is, which is only easy to spot in the case of tree bumble bees. Social bees also guard their nest entrances, so I’m not sure how one would go about introducing an injured bee, without triggering the alarm defenses.

      I wish I could suggest something that would help your bee. I’m imagining some kind of netted enclosure over living plants, so that at least there’s a safe place to forage with fresh nectar flowing (though depending on the height of the plants, if might involve a fair bit of climbing on the bee’s part). A variety of flowers would certainly provide the best balance of nutrients and energy, but you could supplement with sugar water too.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Many thanks Elise, I sent my husband out for some potted plants last night inc lavender which we've put into the butterfly tent with him, and he's outside in it. He is still feeding well. Fingers crossed, we may just have a new little guest for a while!

        Reply

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  147. Today when I went out walking I found a tired bee on the floor. I moved it to a log, I did not have any sugar water but I picked a wild flower, which it scrambled onto and started to look like it was eating. Is that the right thing to do if you don’t carry sugar water on you?

    Many thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hannah

    1. Yes, it is definitely helpful to do so. If there’s a next time, I’d suggest moving the bee onto a flower that’s still attached to the plant (ideally a type of flower where you see other similar bees foraging). The reason I say this is that there’s a “time limit” on the nectar that will be available from a cut flower. It should still have enough for one bee, but when I’m out, and if I don’t have sugar water on me in a small vial, then I carefully move the tired bee onto an open flower, one located at an angle that looks most likely to support them (i.e. not easy for them to fall off clumsily while they’re still regaining their energy). Ideally in full sunlight too. In this case, though, it will definitely have been helpful for your bee to have a cut flower rather than simply being left on the ground, especially as it sounds as though your bee responded immediately, which is an excellent sign! One cut flower’s worth of nectar should have easily been sufficient for your bee to get going again :)

      Reply

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  148. Hello, so I found a little bee (honey bee I think) in the pool yesterday afternoon. I got her out and put her on a flower in the sun to dry out, evening came and she was still there I offered some sugar water she didn’t drink it, so as it got I put in a shoe box over night with leafs and grass and some holes in the box. This morning she’s on the top of the box so had climb out some how but still hast flown away. What should I do next she’s not very active. But still alive and moving occasionally. Hope you can help many thanks Chermaine x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Cher

    1. I apologize for my late reply, I’m on West coast U.S. time, and it’s getting late now where you are. Is your bee still with you? When they’ve been rescued from a pool, it often takes them quite awhile to recover… between hours and sometimes a couple of days. In these cases, keeping a close eye on them, and even keeping them for a second night, seems to be the most effective thing to do. Each day, I would offer sugar water and place the box open in the sunlight. If your bee seems not to touch the sugar water, another thing to try is to add something like a cut dandelion to the box in the morning (a nice easy-to-reach flower for any size bee tongue) and “lace” it with a little extra sugar water.

      Reply

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  149. I do hope you don’t mind but as a landscape design and construction company we are very focused on pollinator protection and planting for pollinators (amongst other things). I love your website and hope you don’t mind but I have just shared it on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. Hopefully it will help the cause. Keep up the fantastic work! [email protected] Alchemy

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Alchemy gardens

    1. Thank you so much for sharing my website, I so appreciate it! The more people who take just a few steps to help pollinators, the better… and truly anyone, anywhere, can do something to help them :) And I am very happy to hear that your company is so focused on pollinator protection and planting for pollinators (among other things). Bees need all the help they can get!

      I also apologize for my late reply, I haven’t been feeling well recently, but I’m buzzing about again now :)

      Reply

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  150. I found a bee on the floor put it on a flower in my table it's still there next day the back end is moving up and down so I presume it's still alive . What's going on x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Pat Grady

    1. I am so sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I have not been well. I realize my response will come too late, but I still thought I should follow up. One thing to try in the future is to place your bee in direct sunlight, but you may well have done that. If it doesn’t revive with sugar-water in direct sunlight, then there is very likely something else going on with your bee (they suffer from a variety of internal parasites, bee diseases, and of course pesticides can give them both acute and chronic problems too).

      Reply

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  151. It’s 11 pm here in Tulsa OK. We had a “cool front “ come through at 1 pm which did drop the very toxic heat by 16 degrees. No serious winds or rain, but it was a front from the north.

    Earlier I (around 10pm) came upon a average honey bee on the patio under the light and walking fast and around in circles unable to fly.

    Now it’s curled up on the ground not moving.

    What could have happened to cause this behavior?

    I don’t know if I should intervene as a large wolf spider is or might have already caused harm?

    Curious AnnMarie

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to AnnMarie

    1. It could honestly be any number of things, including physical damage (from a spider or bird). If a wolf spider is nearby, then it could certainly be a result of being bitten, and there’d be no point intervening if so. It could also be the result of unseen factors such as internal parasites, one of several bee diseases, or pesticide poisoning. I you see its tongue out, then it is certainly near the end. I would say that if it were still standing on its legs, it’d be worth intervening, but if it’s not even on its legs, then it will be too far gone to save at this point, and very likely there would have been nothing to do anyway for it, given what you described seeing. They are purposeful creatures, and the behavior you describe is not normal for them.

      Reply

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  152. Hello my wasp I rescued rom my pool and only the tail is moving I gave it sugar water and it’s now dry what should I do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sophia

    1. I apologize for replying so late. Usually my advice would have been to put your wasp in the sunlight to recover, but it was late when you wrote, so I’d probably have put her in a sheltered spot where she’d be safe from predators during the night. Then in the morning, I’d expect her to make a full recovery in the sunlight (with maybe a little more sugar water if needed).

      Reply

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  153. I've found a bee in the park, and carried him gently back to my office, as his legs were moving. I've put him on my desk with some sugar water and placed him almost on top of it. But he doesn't seem to be drinking, His legs are becoming more active but the rest of his body isn't moving and I'm worried he's in pain. How do I know if he's damaged and whether it might be kinder to put him to sleep?

    Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jess

    1. I am so sorry to be replying so late, sometimes I am unable to get to these questions right away, and my advice is not always helpful unless it’s immediate. Nonetheless, I thought I should reply anyway to you.

      Just the other day, I heard of someone who’s a keen bee observer mistaking a live bee that they fished out of their pond for dead, and being so surprised when they found it had revived. So I always err on the side of helping them as though they’ll make it. My first instinct would be to put a bee like this in direct sunlight or somewhere warm, to see if warmth might change your bee’s behavior. Sometimes they don’t drink the sugar water, but warmth is something that they all should respond to.

      It’s hard to determine with certainty about damage, but carefully inspecting your bee can help point to problems sometimes. Other times, it can be internal problems that we’ll never be able to determine without lab testing. To judge the relative age of your bee, take a look at the edges of the wings to see if they’re smooth (a young bee) or ragged (an older bee).

      If it were me, I’d try the bee outdoors in the sun or warmth, and if it grew late, but it was still on its legs, I’d bring it in for the night, and try again with sugar water and warmth in the morning outdoors. Sometimes dropping sugar-water on a flower like a dandelion can work better, since they’ll recognize it as food easily, and you can simply “boost” your cut flower this way.

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  154. Aloha, so awesome I found your site. I just found a bumble bee literally flying with all its might onto my leg. She looked very fuzzy and confused raising her front legs like in help me! I saw she was very exhausted. No buzzing. So I went to get a bit sugar water and a drop of honey on a spoon. She wouldn't want the sugarwater but put her tongue out immediately to suck up all the honey. She rested and I tried again some water and honey. She drank the honey. It was getting late so I decided to take her in. I let her rest for a while on a thyme pot. I made new sugar water, regular water and honey and offered it to her. She drank again only honey. But looks a bit better from a couple of hours ago. Moved a bit more and buzzed her wings several times. But she is weak. Thanks to your advice I provided her with some flowers and thyme in a shoebox. I don't know if bumble bees need food at night. So I put in the spoon with a tiny bit honey at the end and some water on a small shell so she won't drown. Any other tips? I hope she is doing better tomorrow. I guess it's a bumble bee queen. I keep finding dead bees.. It makes me so sad. They keep on mowing the grass and flowers. I wish they'd stop. How can the bees survive if the flowers are gone? Thanks a lot for your work on bees.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Makanaola

    1. I am happy your bee found you, and I hope the morning finds her well tomorrow, with more energy. They don’t typically need food at night because they slow down naturally with cooler temperatures, but it doesn’t hurt to make food available (so long as she can’t fall in, as you ensured). In the morning, don’t worry if she seems very sluggish, they do not move much when they’re not warm. Assuming you have a sunny day, I’d put her in the full sun in the morning, and try her with more honey if that’s what she’s drinking already. Put her box out in the sun with the lid off, near to where you found her, so that she still knows where she is when she’s ready to go. Sun and warmth should work the rest of the magic to revive her along with the honey, and even if it takes a few hours, you should see her buzz off happily, so long as she is healthy. I am very sad to hear of your mention of dead bees, it is such a problem, people taking away their food sources, and poisoning those that are left :( I try to keep up my hope though, because anyone can help provide habitat for bees, and the more people who do, the more possible life will be for our buzzy friends, upon whose wings the world as we know it depends.

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  155. I found a bumble bee inside my house, which wasn’t moving much. I offered some sugar water and was fascinated to see its tongue ‘lapping’ it off the spoon. It wasn’t able to walk on my floor, and after moving it to a lavender bush where it crawled around apparently looking for some nectar (out of the way of over-interested toddlers) I noticed it seems to have some of its rear leg missing, as though it has been scraped lengthwise. There are no fuzzy hairs, the ‘thigh’ is visibly thinner/flatter than the opposite leg, and there is clear fluid on the remaining structure. The poor thing is still clinging to the lavender. Not sure if it’s hopeless or whether I should pop it in a box overnight in case it’s can recover. Any hints? Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ally

    1. I am sorry to hear about your bee’s leg. Did you take a picture, by chance? You can reply to this email if you’d like so that I could take a closer look. Her ability to survive will depend on the extent and location of the wound. It’s unfortunate it’s a rear leg, as those are the most important. That’s a good sign that she’s drinking sugar water though, and otherwise showing signs of energy (it is fascinating to watch them drink, I agree)! I’d be tempted to bring her in for the night if it were me, as she might otherwise be easier prey in her current condition (especially since it’s late in the evening where you are). But I would say her chances of recovery are very much up in the air, depending on the nature of her wound.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  156. I live near a lagoon. I just moved here a week or so ago and I've found two bees in as many days while kayaking in the middle of the lagoon water. There are strawberry fields across the lagoon if that is of particular importance.

    The first bee I found was struggling and moving about in the water. I was able to lift her out of the water on my kayak paddle. She sat there for a while and moved about a little bit while I drifted to shore. She fell a few times into a bit of water and then into the sand. But by that time she was able to clean herself off. She just took off and flew and it was a wonderful moment after so many emotional ups and downs.

    Now I'm sitting here with my second bee. Consider her story the same except that she wasn't moving at all in the water. She's inside with me right now because it's dark and she's finally moving around a bit but not enough that I'm comfortable taking her outside just yet.

    So, my official question is what I should do with bees that fall into saltwater like this? Is there something special to do for these bees?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rae

    1. There’s nothing particularly special to do for bees that fall into saltwater. Interestingly, honey bees (and I’d guess other species of bees too) are attracted to salt water, since they require salt for their own metabolic processes, and for their larvae. All bees “taste” with their feet, incidentally… which can get them intro trouble if the water is choppy at all.

      So the best help you can give them is just helping them out when they misjudge the water and get stuck!

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  157. Okay so basically I saw a bee in my pool and naturally took it out and put it in some kitchen roll, then made the sugar and water method and the bee drank it however it’s not moving now so I can’t tell if it’s dead or sleeping? Please help? I hope I didn’t kill it?!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to LillyCh

    1. An unmoving bee looks a lot like a dead bee, but there’s nothing you’ve done that would have harmed your bee (though it depends on how long they’re in a pool, in terms of their ability to recover). I would usually say to put your bee in direct sunlight next, if you have some, but it’s late where you are, so that advice will have to wait until morning. A wet bee is going nowhere fast until it dries out, and I assume it’s still fairly damp, even on the kitchen roll. I would keep your bee in a ventilated box overnight, somewhere not too warm and not too cold, and in the morning I would try your bee outdoors in direct sunlight as soon as it warms up a bit. It may take it a number of hours to recover as it warms up and dries out, but it’s a good sign that it drank some sugar water, and you’re doing everything right, it’s just a matter of the bee pulling through now, from its experience in your pool.

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  158. I saw, and photographed, a bee with a bubble just behind its head. I've never seen this before - was it ill?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to David Jay

    1. Ah hah, it’s just a huge (relative to the bee) drop of water. That is one soaking wet bumble bee! She’ll dry off with time and sunlight. Usually I see them hiding underneath the flowers in the rain, hanging upside down… and now I see why that would be advantageous (the drops falling off them more readily, rather than gathering in a big ball on top).

      I think if you wanted to do her a favor you could delicately roll a bit of tissue to form a thin “rod” that you could touch to that drop to absorb some excess… but she should be fine left to her own devices too. Hopefully your bee will have an opportunity to dry off and warm up soon!

      Reply

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    2. I have just sent you an email, I would love to see your photos to know how this bubble looks.

      Reply

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  159. Hi, I found a bee today and brought him/her home as I do quite often to feed them sugar water and release them, however this one has his tongue out constantly and doesn't seem to be drinking. He is very wobbly too. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Many thanks in advance!

    Catherine.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Catherine

    1. A tongue out constantly is a sign of a bee near the end of their life, unfortunately. It appears to be associated with either illness (bee diseases and parasites) or pesticide poisoning, most commonly. I’d still continue trying your bee with a drop of sugar water near the tip of its tongue, but I would doubt that any “flushing” of its system would help at this point. I fear that other than make your bee comfortable, there is little left to do, unfortunately 😢

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you Elise for sharing your knowledge!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Catherine

  160. Hi. There was a bee that flew through the window yesterday, but spent ages unsuccessfully trying to get out of the window. I tried to help it out with a bit of paper, but it eventually ended up buzzing around the floor. When it was just sitting there, I decided to put it outside, unaware of exhaustion which can affect bees. After it did not fly away, I did some research and decided to feed it sugar water.

    However, when I came to check on it, I found it lying in the liquid (outside on my patio), although the liquid wasn’t deep, so I pulled it out and found it was still alive. It was turning to evening and it was cold outside, so I decided to bring it in to a shoebox and I kept it for the night.

    When I woke up this morning, I found it still alive, but struggling, and I think I saw some sugar granules stuck to it. I put a small amount of sugar water near it, but again, when I came to check on it, I found it lying in it. Unfortunately, I pulled it out and did not see any movement.

    Is the bee dead? I didn’t see it moving for a few minutes, but couldn’t stay any longer as I had to go out. Is there something I did wrong? In hindsight, I should have just caught the bee with a glass when it was trying to get out, and I should have prevented it from falling in the liquid, but is there something else I did wrong, which I can fix to save a bee next time?

    Thanks for your help, and I only hope I could have prevented my mistakes and saved it.

    Charlie

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Charlie

    1. I am so sorry to hear that. I think I should update my page to further stress how important it is to keep them from falling into the sugar water, which might happen if they’re especially weak or clumsy. Another thing to try if they do fall in is to drop slightly cooler than lukewarm pure water on them, to rinse away the sugar water so that it doesn’t crystallize on their wings. Typically they’ll clean themselves off if they fall in (and gain energy by so doing), but they won’t do that if they’re utterly exhausted.

      Did you try your bee outdoors in sunlight the following morning, after offering sugar water? I’m afraid that absolutely no movement is not sounding hopeful for this particular bee. Yes, trapping future bees in glass jars temporarily—in order to get them outdoors sooner, while they still have plenty of energy—would definitely be ideal.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I’m afraid I didn’t have time to put the bee in the sunlight in the morning, as I had to leave the house. There was also no sunlight at the time, and it was still quite cold, as well as me having a cat that would love to kill it if it spotted it. I would have definitely placed it in sunlight if I thought it was most suitable.

        Unfortunately the bee is dead, but this information is very useful, and I’ll be sure to help the next bee with my newly-equipped knowledge.

        Thanks for your help.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Charlie

  161. Hi, I’ve just cycled along a stretch of road that is flanked on one side by some allotments and then verges teeming with wildflowers. However, in the space of about 250 metres I saw approx 60-80 dead bumblebees lying in the gutter. It is very hot here in Brighton today and exceptionally windy. Is it possible they have been blown off the flowers? I cycle this way often and have never seen this before. It was desperately sad to see.

    Thanks

    Hannah

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hannah

    1. Bees don’t fly well at all in high winds. Roads are already especially dangerous for bees and other insects. I’ve heard of this happening before, and it’s attributable to bad conditions (like high winds) along with the pollinator habitat being right alongside the road. It’s still a net positive for pollinators to have road verges left for them, but it’s truly unfortunate that as a society, that’s the only strip of land some pollinators can rely upon for food, as it’s not a particularly safe area even when conditions are good.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  162. Hello, I've noticed a bee in my garden that has been in the same position for over a day now. It seems sluggish and has barely moved, only to change position. It is on a flower so I put a small bit of sugar water on a tray next to it but it still hasnt moved. The temp outside has been between 15-25 degrees Celsius, so not cold at all. Is there anything else I can do to try and help it? Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Becky

    1. Unless your bee is sitting in a very cold and shaded position (if so, I’d consider moving your bee to a sunny location by clipping the flower)… but assuming that this is not the case, I’m sadly not sure what else to advise. Can you see any visible damage to your bee? How do the wing edges look, are they smooth or are they ragged (this is a way to gauge their relative age)? Bees do “wear out” at the end of their lives, and occasionally we see them in their last days or hours, slowly winding down.

      Reply

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  163. Hi

    I have found a soggy bee she is still moving, I have given her some sugar water. Unfortunately the weather is damp and drizzly. What can do with her to help her dry out

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jo

    1. I would bring her indoors, and if she’s soggy she’s not going anywhere fast, so you needn’t worry about having an enclosure for her yet (or, you can put her in a box, but I’d leave the lid off so you can keep a close eye on her while you try to dry her out).

      If you have some source of dry warmth (such as a radiator), I’d put her box close to that for just a little bit, but carefully monitored, as that drying heat can be a bit dangerous for bees. You could also try putting her beneath a warm light, if you have any of the old types of bulbs that give off a bit of heat when they’re on (I don’t mean a heat lamp, just a regular old-style bulb that emits some heat).

      If the weather will be damp and drizzly all day, then I’d expect to keep your bee overnight… especially as it’s late there now (so I assume you were planning to do so anyway). When you’re ready to retire for the evening, I’d put a lid on a ventilated box for her, just so she doesn’t crawl and get lost in the night. I’d probably leave her box indoors, but not in a particularly warm room, as you wouldn’t want her to try to effect an escape during the night, and damage her wings in so doing. How’s the weather looking for tomorrow, any better?

      Even if she spends the night feeling a bit soggy, it’s not going to be all the world, since she’s safe with you (not easy prey). In the morning, if it’s not sunny, I’d try to warm her up more indoors near something that will dry her and warm her slowly but surely. A day indoors in her box might do this, if the weather is still awful; but ideally the weather will be good enough for you to set her box out in the direct sunlight with the lid off, which will definitely dry her well, and the warmth of the sun will also give her energy. Definitely offer her some more sugar water in the morning too, to make sure she’s as well fed as she can be before you see if she’ll feel good enough to fly off.

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  164. I've found a bumblebee in our pool that I'm trying to help. It has now dried up a lot and it managed to stretch out the tiny wings and fold them again. But it doesn't look so happy and does not want to drink. It can move all legs but they are shaky and its head is on the floor all the time.

    Will it survive? How does the chlorine in the poolwater affect them? Is there anything else i can try?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Niels

    1. I realize it’s late in the evening where you are now. I think your bee most likely needs time to recover from its experience. I would place your bee in a ventilated box overnight, and put the box somewhere cool, similar to outdoor temperatures, but sheltered from the elements.

      Hopefully tomorrow you have a warm, sunny day. Bees recover far more quickly in full sun, but depending on how long it was in your pool, it can take hours more to feel itself and start moving normally and thinking of flying.

      I don’t think anyone would say that chlorine is good for bees, but it doesn’t seem to have too much ill-effect at low doses, like those you’d generally find in swimming pools.

      Reply

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  165. We found a bee ( we think it's a tree bumble bee worker!) He is missing his a wing and cannot fly, although he keeps on trying! We have had him in an open top box for 6 days now with lots of flowers (provided fresh and often!) And water and even little socks to sleep in. He seems very comfortable and healthy but because of his missing wing he just can't fly. Its very frustrating for him and it's sad to see so my question is how long can will he survive if we keep feeding and watering him? And what is the best way to make him happy without friends or flight? :(

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jenna

    1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, losing a wing is so serious. You don’t, by chance, know where their nest is, do you? Although, much as there’d be jobs to do around the nest that don’t require flying, I’m not sure how tolerant other bees would be, nor had research been done that I’m aware of in bumble bees. Honey bees have little tolerance for disabled bees, but bumble bee colonies are smaller, and so they might be different. I’m also not sure quite how one would go about introducing the bee, as they understandably get a bit defensive around their nests.

      I’m not sure the lifespan of tree bumble bee workers, and haven’t been able to find that information this morning, but I’d assume it to be around a month. It is likely that your bee is not freshly emerged, since they do work around the nest first, before becoming foragers.

      I am not sure there is a way to make a social bee like this happy without friends or flight, however I imagine that fresh flowers, water, and soft nesting material will help. Make sure that the flowers have some nectar still in them, or supplement with sugar water in a tiny dish. You wouldn’t want to keep your bee cold just to slow it down, but it will likely continue to try to fly whenever it’s warm.

      I wish I had more to suggest, or that there was some way to create a usable wing for your bee.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  166. I've had a bumblebee on my window screen for two days. We did just have a small storm the first day. I have noticed him moving around and sleeping. I was wondering if there was anything I can do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gos

    1. I am sorry I did not have a chance to reply sooner. So long as your bee is in a relatively sheltered location, it should be able to wait out the storm, but if you’re concerned that it appears as though it might drop to the ground, or be exposed to the storm, I’d gently brush your bee into a ventilated box which I’d place in a location mirroring the outdoor temperature, but safe from the elements and predators. Then once the weather gets better, you could release your bee, perhaps offering sugar-water first. You likely would need no sugar-water while keeping your bee overnight, so long as you kept your bee as cool as outdoor temperatures, since they expend so little energy in that state.

      Reply

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  167. I often visit a community pool, and there are quite a lot of honeybees buzzing around! They usually land on little patches of water along the side of the pool, either resting or drinking, There are not many flowers nearby and the hive isn't visible from the pool area, so I'm guessing the bees are there for the water. Is it safe for honeybees to drink the pool water which has chemicals in it? As a side note, because bees often fall in, I started keeping a clean eye-dropper bottle full of sugar water in case I need to fish one out and help it dry off and get a little energy. Thanks! -Mylee

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mylee

    1. That’s wonderful you’re keeping sugar water on you! Honey bees do need water (not just nectar), which they use in order to cool their hives (teams of bees also fanning their wings vigorously). Pool water isn’t going to be ideal though, since they are carrying it internally in their honey sacs, and I’d imagine they’d absorb some chlorine while doing so, before bringing it back up. Do you think you could place out a shallow dish (ideally some kind of glazed ceramic, or glass, or anything something that’s not plastic, which also exudes stuff in direct sunlight). If you filled it with pebbles of different sizes, and added water to it from time to time, maybe with a little note explaining why it’s there (at your community pool, that is)? I’m not sure if the bees would know to go there rather than the big pool, but with all the bustle of human activity pool-side, a shallow dish within sight with pebbles and uninterrupted drinking might just draw in bees, and tap water would be much nicer for them to drink from than pool water (and less dangerous too, in terms of accidentally falling in).

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  168. Hi I’ve found a bumble bee but it won’t take any sugar water and keeps flipping onto its back... now it’s just lying on its back with its body pulsing... what should I do..? 😱 thanks rachel x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rachel

    1. I'm sorry to hear that (and I apologize for replying likely too late). I've not heard any good outcomes from bees behaving in this way. They should never go flipping on their backs normally. Is there any physical damage that you could see? Were they otherwise active, or sluggish?

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  169. Hiya, And here I thought I was being over sentimental when I helped out this larger-than-usual looking bee yesterday evening. I live in the Swiss countryside and had been accompanying my singing with my dobro guitar on this blues tune I had written, (strangely named "Hum-Song", believe it or not.., ) when I noticed a bee on the window pane. I have a deep resounding voice and the dobro also vibrates in a unique way, so I couldn't help thinking to my self whether my solo performance had indeed acted like some sort of beacon and made her land there. I kept playing and singing and looking up at her every once in a while, she wasn't leaving and I couldn't help but notice that the skies were a darkening as silent lightning forked it's way across the horizon. Suddenly huge drops of water started falling from the firmament above accompanied by big claps of thunder and a howling wind come hither, yet still Bee didn't move and I instinctively felt that she was going to be done for if she didn't get to safety. And if it wasn't the storm then some of the gigantic spiders that roam around the house would end up getting to her. So, on a whim, I decided Bee needed some form of saving and since nobody else was in the vicinity to do any sort of rescuing, I was going to have to be the chivalrous knight to do it. I went down into the kitchen and grabbed a plastic cup with some paper, opened my window reached out and entrapped her in it, covered the glass with the paper and then proceeded to build a makeshift house for the night out of a soft plastic box that had contained some basil leaves from the shop. I used a fondue fork to punch breathing holes into the plastic and I basically did everything you wrote about above, inclusive the little lid with water on it and added a knife's tip of honey too, so as to calm her wits down with something familiar-smelling, or so I thought. Then I put her into her home for the night and set it down upon a shelf near the radiator, lit a candle for Buddha and asked the infinite Universe/Multiverse to take care of her.. See, I had no idea what I was doing, I only wanted to help and was just hoping not to kill the poor thing. I woke up early (around 05:30...) and proceeded to go downstairs and see how she was faring, she seemed weak and I decided that it might be time to let her go, so I brought her back upstairs to the same window I'd found her the night before and opened up the plastic-box. At first she wouldn't move so I gently coaxed her on with a train ticket that I had found on my shelf and that's when she revved up full force and flew out of the box and over the garden below. I became emotional and told myself that I must be the only one in the whole wide world who does such things. I even spoke about it later on some dating site, the woman mockingly said that I deserve bee-saver award of the year, she'd rather talk of tanning and the summer to come and so I left it at that and the site too. The day went on by and the question remained in my mind; "are there people out there in the world who do such things, or is there something wrong with me?" So, that's when I typed 'saving a bee from the storm' and happened upon this your wonderful blog. That's like the coolest thing ever and all the reward I really need; to know that there are indeed kindred souls out there who are made from the same sort of "soul-wood".

    Thank-you for being you, 🙏🏽

    I wish you lots of light,

    be blessed.

    Namaste. 💨🌞⛩🍀🌻🐝😽

    M🐉

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Marcello

    1. Your story has made my week, and more 🤗 I thank you for describing everything as it happened and felt to you… I almost felt as though I was there as you were writing. Bees are delightful and I do cherish every interaction I have with each personally, I am happy to hear you felt the same about your bee too. It is a warm feeling, helping a bee in its quest to live its life well and happily. It is good too, to connect with similar souls… I agree that it can seem one has little in common with anyone else, depending on whom one happens to be around.

      Reply

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  170. Hi there, I have come across a downed Bee. The weather is cold and it has been very rainy today. She was sitting on the track outside my home. I brought her in to warm up, but on close inspection it seems that the hairs on her thorax are really stuck down, kind of congealed together. I have never seen this before and have no idea what to do to help. Other than this she is really perky (although not yet flown), and pretty fed up being held hostage!! Any ideas or suggestions? Many thanks for help. Really glad to find this website!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kat

    1. I do apologize for not having had a chance to reply sooner. It’s possible what you’re describing is just normal wet bee fluff… I’ve seen bees look like they have miniature all-over mohawks before, from having been out in summer rains. Once they dry, they fluff right back up again. If you were to suspect some substance besides water on your bee, you could try dropping tepid (cooler than lukewarm) water, just a very few drops, to dilute anything stuck to the bee. Though doing so will mean they’ll take longer to dry off, warm up, and get going.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks Elise, tried some water but the fluff didn't seem to change - had her for a couple of days as it has been so cold and rainy here. Day of sunshine yesterday so she was left in the porch on clover flowers (she's been feasting on them all weekend!) in the glass that she couldn't climb out of. When checked on a while later, she was gong, so looks like she has warmed up and flown away, phew! Hopefully she will be ok despite the odd fluff look she is sporting :-/ !!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Kat

        1. (Gone, not gong!!!)

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Kat

          1. I'm happy to hear she ate well and took off once the weather warmed up! It's unusual, but sometimes they can get odd things stuck to their fluff.

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            Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  171. A honey bee landed on me over an hour ago and I cycled home for 30 minutes with a bee on my hand. I didn't know what to do! It wouldn't get off my hand for flowers and has had a little drink of sugar water off my hand. It is getting late now and I don't want to force it! He is on my hand as I type this message. It seems to be more active now and wanders across my hand and cleans itself every so often. I want to help it but don't know how!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Will

    1. Oh my goodness! Is there any chance you can house your bee in a box for the night, and then cycle back with it to where you met it first tomorrow morning? She would be able to join another hive too, if she came with pollen and nectar, but releasing her where you found her would be ideal. I’d say to keep her tonight in a ventilated box, and then tomorrow morning, cycle back with the box to near that same spot, hopefully there are some flowers nearby and it’s a warm day. Maybe bring a little sugar water with you, and I think if she has a bit more, plus sits in direct sunlight, she should happily buzz off!

      In terms of getting your bee off your hand, if it’s still there, well, very gently nudging her in a non-aggressive manner would be ideal (honesty I suddenly had an image of you sleeping with your hand in a bee box all night! ;) But if you had some leaves or flowers in the box, and as it’s wandering across your hand, put a leaf in front of it and then transferred it to the box, that might work.

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  172. We found a bumble in our flat this afternoon. She was on her back, could have been here since last night. We don't have sugar in the house, so we put some honey and water near her.

    We are really concerned because she is only walking in a circle.

    It's been 4+ hours. She doesn't seem interested or able to fly, either.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to L

    1. Have you seen her drink any of the honey water (her long tongue would come out like a straw if so)? Have you tried warming her up outdoors? I realize it’s late there now, so something to try for the morning would be to place her in direct sunlight ideally. They can be very sluggish when they’re cold, especially when they’ve spent awhile indoors, and it can take them hours to warm up and get going again.

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  173. I found a Tree bumblebee yesterday morning I gave it some sugar water and let it sit on my hand for a bit to warm up , eventually I put it in a box with some tissue and sugar water and left it close to the door so it could fly away when ready but the little guy still hasn't left 24 hours later. The more I have watched him I have noticed he is rather active but is missing one of his front legs and has a what looks like a ripped wing. What should I do with the little guy?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Courtney

    1. I am sorry to hear about that… one leg missing is alright (though not ideal), but a ripped wing is troubling, as we can’t repair those. If you’d like to send a photo in reply to my email, I can take a closer look. I also don’t know how tree bumblebees feel about injured bees… you don’t happen to know where this one was living, do you? Because there are things it could do around the nest if it’s unable to fly, but otherwise healthy. Bumble bees are accepted into colonies other than their own too, but only if they come bringing nectar and pollen.

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  174. I found a Bee that had been upside down all night; the floor was wet; think it got stuck. I saw it last night but mistook it for a bit of wood or something, anyway it twitched this morning so I turned it the right way up and put it on a leaf. I then found your site, and I made a little paper box for it; and put it near a hot air heater, with some sugar water, watermelon and some flowers. It started to come round, so I put it outside "not raining but overcast" I have gone back and it has flown off! Took about 2 hrs all told. Thanks!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Martin

    1. That's excellent, I'm so happy you were able to help your bee!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  175. Not a question just a thank you! I had a baby bumblebee stuck to my jeans when I got home and looked up how to rescue it and came across your wise words :) thank you x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Filzzy

    1. Happy to help you help a bee!

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  176. I found s bee in the ground and picked it up and took home as was cold and almost dark. I put in a little box on a leaf with some flowers that had pollen on and tried to feed sugar. I have not seen it eat with it’s tongue like other bees I have saved it moves some legs one side more than the other. It looks like it breathing but not moved it’s wings or moved very far at all. Legs are moving up and down and the end bits are moving. It’s been like this since I picked it up last night now but I can’t see any really good signs of recovery. Its just lying there - It’s a fluffy bumble bee. It it injured? And suffering what should i do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tracy

    1. Has your bee responded to warmth or sunlight, or was it a colder, cloudier day? It must already be evening again there, so it’s had a whole day to recover. Would you mind taking a photo and/or short video and replying to the email I just sent you with those?

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  177. Saved a bumble bee from drowning last night gave some sugar water and kept out of cold. Okay this morning but wings are not parting anything I can do to help or do they need to dry off properly? Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to KC

    1. Bees take awhile to get going in the morning (an hour or two or three sometimes), so I wouldn’t worry yet. Your bee needs to be well-warmed before flying, so by placing it outdoors in direct sunlight, it’ll warm up the fastest.

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      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  178. Hi I found a ground queen bee when I was out today working in a park and didn't have any sugar water to hand. I scooped it up and placed in on a flower by wasn't able to stick around and see if it perked up. Is this a suitable alternative to sugar water?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to MCV

    1. It's definitely helpful to put bees on flowers if they seem to be struggling, and if you're not near any sugar water. Try to pick flowers where you see other similar bees foraging, because different types of bees have different tongue lengths, which affects the types of flowers they can feed from. Dandelions are good because they have plentiful nectar and pollen available to a wide range of bees.

      Reply

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  179. It not a question is a comment. Yesterday was Heavy rain and late afternoon we had some very sad soggy bees on some chive flowers. The next morning there were found sad wet bees so I found your page and read it. I brought in the bees, still on the flowers put them in a container will a teaspoon on sugary water. I covered the container with a metal food closhe so they had air and were in the warm. About 3/4 hour went by and we watched them feed and preen themselves dry. When they started to buss and there wings were dry, the started to fly under the closhe so when the sun eventually came out we opened the window and flew out. In total we helped 8 lovely bees and were so very happy that they didn’t die. This was all down to reading and understanding what to do as I don’t think they would have survived another night in the pouring rain. Thank you.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Stoat

    1. That's such a lovely story to read first thing! It sounds like you've been having some very un-bee-friendly weather lately there. I am so happy you were able to give your bees a helping hand, and that they all flew off happily, with plenty of energy, as a result of your thoughtful care.

      Reply

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  180. Hello, I hope you can help. I have stayed at my boyfriends parents house last night. They have a big patch of scabious flowers which the bees love. The flowers are covered in a lot of very wet bumblebees, 50 or more of them who have apparently been there for a few days. (We have had rain all week). His parents assumed they probably just hunkered down and waited out the rain so have left them to it. It is still raining this morning but is supposed to clear up by the afternoon with partly sunny weather forecast. I have gently stroked a few of the bees and they have all moved, so are still alive but otherwise sit completely still. Should I try to bring them all in and feed them? Or will they dry out with the better weather later today and be ok on their own? Many thanks, Freya

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Freya

    1. They’ll be alright where they are, so long as they’re all clinging well to the plants :) If any fall to the ground, I’d bring them in though, since they’re not as safe from predators or other hazards on the ground. But so long as they’re all clinging well they’ll be fine, this happens naturally sometimes, getting caught out in unexpected summer rains. I’ve seen large gatherings of bumble bees caught out in similar circumstances, and when checking each following day (even if a few days elapse), they all still seem safe and sound exactly where they were clinging, and they’re all waking up to a nice breakfast on those same flowers, once they warm up and dry out in the sun!

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  181. Help, weve had awful weather where i love for 3 days. Constant rain. On one day we had the same as a months rainfall in a day. I found a bee in my lily plant, hes been there for 3 days, and I realised he wasnt okay. Weve brought him indoors as its late now and still raining, weve given him sugar water but he doesn't seem to want to drink it. Hes not moving much at all, only a sudden burst of energy now and again. When hes walking around the box hes in, he seems to he dragging his behind a fair bit. I've put a lamp over the box for now to try and dry him off but sadly he doesn't seem to be improving. What can I do? Thanks so much. Ps, weve named him Barry. I don't even know if there are boy bees .... but we liked the name.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Laura

    1. Be careful not to leave the lamp for too long, as artificial heat can dry bees out a bit too much. Do you have any bee flowers that aren’t wet? Dandelions would do nicely, as they have a nice open surface accessible to many types of bees (or another flower you have where you’ve seen similar bees foraging). My thought is that since it’s been days since your bee may have eaten, you can put a few drops of sugar water on a dry flower, and see if your bee will drink those up, thinking they’re drinking from a flower, and thus boost your bee’s energy.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about dragging behavior if your bee is still wet from the rainfall. I would remove the heat lamp tonight and simply put your bee’s box in a cool, dry location. Put some dry leaves, maybe even a folded paper towel, in the box to give your bee something to cling to and help them dry off a bit. In the morning (since it’s late where you are), I’d hope for some direct sunlight to warm your bee up, otherwise try warming your bee indoors, perhaps with the lamp (so long as you’re they’re the whole time monitoring changes to your bee’s behavior… if it looks like its not responding to that kind of heat, I’d simply keep it in a warm room instead).

      It may take your bee quite a while to get going (hours), given its recent experiences. I do hope it’ll take a bit of sugar water from a flower; if not, try placing it gently on a stable flower outdoors once the rain relents (ideally late morning tomorrow, assuming the sun is out, or at least assuming it’s stopped raining and it’s not too chilly—ideally above 15C—outdoors).

      At this time of year, by the way, your bee is most likely a girl… but she won’t mind the name Barry :)

      If you get worried, reply to the email I sent you with photos and a short video if you’d like, so that I get a better sense of your bee’s condition.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  182. Hello! I found a little bumble bee this morning who was completed soaked on my path... I scooped him up and popped him in a shallow pot and moved him out of the rain. I've just checked and he's still there. I've offered sugar water but I don't think he's interested. I've now put him in a bigger tuppaware box with holes in the lid. He's walking a little but not much. Is there any thing else I can do? Also, I've seen another bee on my foxglove, who has clung to the same flower all day and is also soaked. There's other bees flying around but this one is not, should I rescue him for the night or leave him put?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Stacie

    1. I would put something inside the box for the bee to dry off on a bit, maybe a folded paper towel, though dry leaves would work too. Not that your bee will dry off too quickly in the night, but it might well appreciate something dry to cling to. Since it’s evening there, I’d definitely keep that bee in a ventilated box, and hopefully tomorrow morning will be bright and sunny, and your bee can warm up and finish drying off in the sunlight before buzzing on its way tomorrow. For your other bee, so long as it’s clinging on well to your foxglove, I’d leave it where it is. This does happen to them naturally (getting caught out in unexpected rains), but they get into trouble when they are washed off flowers and onto the ground, exposed for any predator to find, or be accidentally trodden on.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks for the quick reply! I have put a paper towel in and a few leaves, so that bee will set up camp in there tonight :) hopefully this rain will ease and tomorrow I will release in the morning. He is very wet, poor thing, but seems to be moving around a bit more. Would it be worth offering sugar water any more today?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Stacie

        1. I would wait until morning before offering sugar water again, if the bee wasn’t interested when you first offered it. I don’t like to risk them falling into sugar water at night clumsily, and also you want your bee to go to sleep soon. It’s still a good idea to have offered sugar water earlier, as you wouldn’t want your bee hungry, but since it didn’t want any then, I’d imagine it fed well in the day and simply got caught out unexpectedly in the heavy rain.

          Bees aren’t exactly early risers, but when the sun hopefully comes out tomorrow, just put your bee out in the warmth and offer a bit more sugar water then, in case it needs a top up in order to get going in the morning!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. I found him about 10am but it seems to be ok, waking around a bit more now, no buzzing though as the back is still quite wet. I will keep the bee safe tonight and do as you suggest in the morning :)

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Stacie

  183. Hello! I had a bee on my door step this morning weak and not moving possibly the bad rain I’m not sure, since reading this website I have give him some sugar water and he’s now buzzed his wings a few times and is moving around lots!! I’m worried to put him outside again as it’s still bad weather will he be ok in a shoe box or will he die? I’ve put lots of holes in so he’s not able to suffocate thank you x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sophie

    1. Since it’s late there, I would place the box somewhere coolish (like a sheltered spot that is still near outdoor temperatures). Your bee will slow down naturally once it’s cool, and should be safe inside the box you have. Tomorrow morning it will hopefully have stopped raining, and you can then warm your bee up (in direct sunlight if you have it, or by placing its box in a warm room) and offer more sugar water. Don’t be surprised if your bee takes a little while to get going tomorrow, it depends on the bee (and the weather)!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  184. So about 6 hours ago at around 6:30 p.m. I found a tired bee, I gave you a little guy some sugar water when she drank up and then hunkered down on my outside table. We were checking on him periodically and assumed he would leave when he got the energy but the sun went down so we kind of fell asleep on the table anytime we would check on him he would move around a little bit but not fly or get up.

    Sorry, your website and you recommended putting him in a small box with some grass which I did, but as soon as I did that now he's buzzing around the box and climbing on the grass and trying to get out, but it's 12:30 at night or rather in the morning and I can't let him go now because it's gotten chilly.

    We have a lot of birds in this area and they leave them on the table he's sure to get picked up. I warmed him up with my hand and picking him up and bring him inside and I'm sure that's why he's feisty. Am I doing the right thing by keeping him overnight?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jane

    1. I’m sorry to be replying so late, yes you are doing the right thing keeping your bee safe. The key would be to cool your bee down since it’s so late at night. You’re right that it’s warming your bee up that got it buzzing at such a late hour of night! As soon as your bee gets chillier, it’ll naturally slow down. You can cool your bee fairly quickly by placing its closed (ventilated) box outdoors for a short time. Then move it somewhere outdoors-ish in temperature for the night (either actually outdoors but sheltered, or indoors but cool in temperature).

      First thing in the morning, warm your bee up again ready for the day, offering another drop or two of sugar water too!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  185. I found a bumblebee with a broken leg it seems. She drank some sugar water and while she was crawling, she got her wings wet. I'm not sure on what to do. I have her in the sun right now

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Antho

    1. If you could reply to my email with a photo, that might help me take a look at her leg. Has she tried to clean her wings (is it sugar water on them)? If she drank some sugar water she should have more energy, and a little sugar water on her wings shouldn’t hurt as long as she cleans it off fairly soon. If you are worried it might dry on them and stick them together, you might try very gently dropping just a very few drops of tepid (cooler than lukewarm) water on her wings to rinse off the sugar water, but ideally it’s best to let bees clean themselves off, as getting her wet will delay her recovery, and she’ll gain energy by cleaning herself off too.

      Now that she’s warmer and more energized from the sugar water, has her behavior changed? Is she buzzing at all, or looking ready to fly off? She should be alright with one broken leg, but it does depend on the nature of the injury (and having been physically injured at all may point to other less visible physical injuries).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  186. It’s quite a miserable day today, really wet and the rain just isn’t disappearing at all. I have a fluffy looking, very strong pollen plant that’s grown off of another plant in my front garden and the bubble bees love it. But there’s about 10 bees left on there not moving and stuck to the stems of this weird fluffy plant. Almost just hanging on and have been there most of the day. I’ve saved a bees life before but not 10! Do they need help or will they just stay there until it’s stopped raining? X

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Dani

    1. They’ll be alright there, so long as they’re hanging on well to the plant! The days aren’t freezing at night anymore (I assume), so they’re all just very wet. I’ve seen countless bumble bees in one garden in a similar state, drawn to some particularly irresistible flowering plant, and then caught out in summer rains. I checked on them the next morning and watched them all slowly waking up as the sun rays hit them, then drying off and going about their days after a few hours! If you see any that have fallen, you might want to help those (since they’re not as safe exposed on the ground), but so long as they’re all attached to the plant stems, they’ll hang on tightly (easier to do on fluffy plants)! and they’ll all be buzzing around those same flowers again once it warms up and stops raining 😊

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you for replying so quickly! That’s great news. I panicked there not sure whether I was going to be a bee hotel tonight or not😂 yeah they’re all hanging on very well. I’ll keep an eye out though incase any drop. Thanks again😍

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Dani

  187. I found a bee on the side of the road as I was comming back from school and a had a tub from my lunch so I got some leaves and some flowers and I’ve took it home and I made a little bed for it and I think it has a broken leg what should I do ???

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chantal

    1. How is your bee behaving other than that (is it active or moving very slowly)? Bees can survive the loss of part of a leg (perhaps even a whole leg), and so long as its other legs are alright, and so long as it still can fly, it should be able to recover. Has it responded to sugar water?

      I realize it's late there, so I think it's best to wait for morning to try warming your bee up. Ideally it'd be best to release it near where you found it, if that's possible. If you'd like to take some photos or a short video to send me, that might help me diagnose its condition a bit further.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  188. Hi,

    I found a bee struggling on the ground yesterday so I picked it up and put it on a flower. Later, I found the same bee still just sat in the same flower and I was worried so I brought it inside to warm up/eat sugar water. It livened up a little and was walking around but at this point it was night time so I kept it in a box overnight (with holes in, access to sugar water and some leaves etc). This morning I found the bee just lay on its back at the bottom of the box and seeming weak again. Is there any more I can do than release her?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hannah

    1. I would try gently helping your bee back onto its feet, then offering some more drops of sugar water, ideally while it’s also sitting in direct sunlight. Is it a bumble bee, a honey bee, or another kind of bee? How do the edges of the wings look? (that helps indicate age, as the older a foraging bee gets, the more ragged its wing edges look)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I don’t know much about bees, but I would guess a bumblebee? It is almost entirely black with faint stripes on its abdomen. The wings don’t look ragged at all. I put it outside although there’s not a lot of sunlight, and it crawled about a bit until I put it on the ground. Then it froze again and doesn’t seem to be going’s anywhere. I put drops of sugar water around and a flower but it’s not eating although the tongue is out.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Hannah

        1. I'm sorry to hear that, as it doesn't sound good if it's not responding to sugar water and warmth. You mentioned it's not sunny, but was it a warm day otherwise (I realize you're getting my message late, because I'm on west coast U.S. time)?

          Unfortunately, if the bee is continuing to leave its tongue out, that's not a good sign (and typically indicates they don't have long left). When they don't respond to sugar water and warmth, there's usually something else going on internally. They do suffer from various bee diseases and internal parasites, and pesticides have been shown to weaken their immune systems, making them more susceptible to illness.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  189. Hello. I found a fluffy small bumblebee which sat on the ground and did not move. It had intact wings and looked overall not injured. The only thing was that it wouldn’t fly, or move at all, just sit and pulse with its abdomen. Sometimes it shook some of its legs but just minimal. In addition to that the tongue was out pretty far (about one centimetre in total). I tried to help her, offering sugar water. After it didn’t take any of it, I decided to take it with me and try to feed it at home. It did not take any of the fluid and didn’t really react to anything I tried. (No movement no fleeing, no drinking) So in the end I decided to freeze it, as this was what I read on a different page, a “gentle” way to end it. So the thing here is: I found already two bees with this behaviour and not a single clue on the internet. Everything i could find regarding the tongue behaviour was that in hives numerous bees die due to pesticides with their tongues out. As an important note on the weather and the time of the year: it was early June and around 5pm with full clear sky and a temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius. If necessary, I could provide images and a short video. Please help me help them better as I can’t stand nature’s cruelty... Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Pascal

    1. If you’d like to reply to the email I’m sending you with photos and a short video, that would be helpful.

      Having a tongue “hanging out” for long periods of time is not a good sign, you’re right. Sometimes I believe it simply indicates an exhausted bee (which should then revive quickly if you can get the tip of its proboscis into a drop of sugar water). Other times it can be indicative of being at the end of its life for a variety of reasons. All the dead bees I’ve seen have had their proboscises out.

      Do your bees respond to warmth? That’s another thing to try if a bee looks uninjured. I realize it’s a warm day there, but have you tried putting them in direct sunlight? Pulsing their abdomens is a normal behavior for them, which I’ve often seen while they’re warming up.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  190. Last night I brought a bumblebees inside it was wet and very exhausted. I had put a piece of card board with a piece of kitchen roll on also a small piece of tin foil with a mix of sugar and water. Placed this on my table in the conservatory. I put the tied bee on it and covered it up with a clear orchid plant pot (ideal as it has lots of air holes at the top. and u can see what is going on without disturbing what's in there) . Before I went to bed I looked in on it, I could see it had moved slightly and it was on the edge of the foil, think it was having a drink. I made the pot dark by putting some paper around it. This morning it looked a lot livelier, so I took the top off, it fluttered its wings walked round a bit then flew toward the glass doors. Then just slid to the floor still flapping it's wings, I got a glass and put it back under the pot. The thing is it is almost ready to go out, but because the weather is so bad I do not no what to let it out. . Have u any suggestion as I do not what it to fret or do u think it will go to sleep under its cover.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Marjorie Topping

    1. I apologize for replying so late, I’ve been traveling, and my thoughts likely come too late as a result.

      In the end, I try to leave it up to the bee, but it also depends on how bad the weather is. If it’s raining and around or below 12C, I’d definitely keep your bee inside. It has no idea (being indoors) of how bad the weather still is outdoors. And it certainly sounds as though it needed a safe haven when you found it. You don’t want it attempting to fly much, possibly damaging its wings inside a container though. So if it is looking almost ready to go, and starting to fly around, you can move your bee in its enclosure to a cooler area, and the cool will naturally slow the bee down. Then you can warm up your bee and offer more sugar water again the next morning.

      If the weather were to continue to be unfavorable, you could keep your bee for a few days, warming it slightly each day and offering small amounts of sugar water during the day, then putting it somewhere cool each night. Once the weather clears, you’d then warm you bee up well with sugar water in the mid-morning before releasing it, ideally in direct sunlight, and as near to where you found it as possible.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  191. Congratulations on launching the new site!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to David Colgan

    1. Thank you, it's so much buzzier now!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  192. I realize this is a bee topic, but I can't find any info online and need help. I found a wasp in my house and went to go capture it and put it outside, when I noticed it was injured. It is trying to crawl, but keeps falling on it's back. In desperately trying to do anything I can to help him. And yes, I realize most ppl will think I'm crazy, but I am one of those ppl who believes that all living things matter alot. Is there anything you can think of that I can do to help or is he probably not going to make it?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Lauren Thompson

    1. I love wasps too, and I’m so sorry to hear about yours. It depends on the extent of the injury, honestly. If it keeps falling over, that’s unfortunately not a good sign. Exoskeletons can heal, but only very small wounds (and wings never heal, though they can sustain a fair bit of damage before being useless for flying).

      I am afraid that physical damage isn’t possible for us to repair, though I wish we could. Wasps do drink sugar water (they drink nectar, and only gather meat as protein for their young), so potentially you might be able to keep your wasp alive by feeding it, but I’d worry about its quality of life if it’s injured to the point of being unable to stand up or crawl.

      Bees are descended from wasps, by the way; it’s just that bees went vegetarian and became fluffier as a result (for gathering pollen). Wasps are still good pollinators too though!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  193. Hi, is there someone who can answer a question I have please?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Paula Anderson

    1. I apologize for replying so late, I’ve been traveling. What is your bee question?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  194. We have a honey bee in our garden. It wasn't able to fly yesterday, but was walking, albeit looking weak. We gave a bit of sugar water, but unfortunately the bee fell in it.....I think maybe my young daughter was trying to help. Its still here today, I've given it some more sugar water, which it was drinking at for a long time - but it got some on its legs. Its back sitting in a.box, in the sun - is there anything else we can do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to ali gale

    1. Sorry for my late reply, I’m on west coast U.S. time, so I only just got up. I hope that by the time you receive this, your bee has buzzed off! They’re pretty good at cleaning themselves off (and they get extra energy too, while sipping all that extra sugar water). But if they’re really covered in sugar water accidentally, and seem to be drying before cleaning it off, I advise gently dropping tepid (cooler than lukewarm) water, just a very few drops, over them. This will help wash them off, and it doesn’t hurt to get a bee a bit wet, but it does take them longer to get going afterwards, because they have to dry off first from the “shower”.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  195. We have a tired bee, looks like a small bumble bee maybe, and its tongue is bent backwards under itself. Is this normal?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Josie

    1. Do you mean the tongue is folded beneath the bee along the length of its body? If so, that’s perfectly normal. They do not “roll up” their tongues, instead they fold them beneath their body when they’re not drinking. Bee tongues are quite long too, reaching up to 2cm when fully stretched, depending on the bee (they have an elastic aspect, so they’re not quite as long when tucked beneath their bodies. Has your bee tried drinking from the sugar water mix (if you’ve offered that)? Is it late in the day where you are?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  196. I have a big bumble bee in my garden for 2 days now yesterday she feed from some flowers I pick and some sugar water this has worked in the past but today she doesn't want to feed and is just walk around on the ground although very quickly shall I just leave her or can I do any thing else.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sandra

    1. If your bee appears energetic I wouldn’t worry about her. A very large bumble bee might well be a queen bumble bee, and if so, it would be normal behavior for her to be walking around on the ground… they nest underground, and they like to search for abandoned mouse burrows to begin new bumble bee colonies. It’s a bit late in the year for that to be going on (usually they find places to live in early spring after emerging from their winter hibernation), but I’m still getting some reports of queen bumble bees searching for nest sites, and it does depend on your local weather conditions too. If it’s been a cold/wet start to your year, that makes it more likely to be the case (a queen searching for a suitable place to live). So long as there are flowers around to boost her energy when she needs, she should be fine, and it’d be perfectly natural not to be flying off in such a case.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  197. I have a bee on my house walk was there this morning and still there tonight ! What do I do? Obviously strong enough to cling to wall!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Karen

    1. I apologize for responding so late, but if your bee looks comfortable enough on the wall, I’d leave it there overnight, since at this time of year, it will not be unusually cold. It is surprising that it was there all day long, so if your bee is still there in the morning, it might be good to move it to some flowers (ideally ones with other similar bees) in full sunlight. If it appears to be unusually sluggish, you might first (in the morning) gently encourage it onto something like a leaf with a few drops of sugar water right below its head (not too much that it might fall in and get sticky!). If you see a long tongue protrude when it smells the sugar water, then you’ll be able to see it drinking too.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  198. I love fluffy bumblebees. One was on the ground. 7pm Toronto. Sluggish, not moving away from danger. I scooped him up with paper and placed him on a flowering bush. He buzzed his wings and moved to a spot he preferred. I watched him for an hour not moving. He wiggled his butt. (his buddy is buzzing all around the garden. )

    I read this article. Thought I should put him in a shoe box inside with sugar water. He was not amused. Buzzing. Trying to climb out. Falling in the water. Now all wet , desperate to get out. So now I felt horrible. I bring him outside and let him crawl on me for a bit. Then encourage him on the ground where I put a lid of sugar water. Nope. Back to me. And then I put him back on bush.

    So night. Not feeling well. Not thirsty. And now all wet..... Whatda mess I made...

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

    1. I am sorry to hear of your experience. Is your bee back on the bush now? Your bee will likely be fine outdoors at this time of year, and I’d imagine your bee will also clean the sugar water off itself, especially as it sounds as though it has its energy back, with all the buzzing you described. I would simply leave your bee to itself if it is outdoors on a bush.

      For the future: sugar water is an excellent way to revive a sluggish bee, but it’s important not to put your bee in a situation where they might fall into any dish. Which is why I suggest simply placing a few drops below their head, so that there is no risk of falling into any of it. That said, they will gain energy as they clean it off themselves, however it will take them extra time to do so, and if they don’t do so in time, it can leave a sticky residue on them.

      It is also important to pay attention to their behavior… a sluggish bee caught out late at night, especially in bad weather, will be thankful of shelter within a shoebox or similar, but if a bee is buzzing about, then there is no need to offer them a place to stay. I always advocate “listening” to their behavior.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  199. Hi,

    I found a bee on my floor last night, around 7pm. Not sure how long she was there for. I've had several bees visiting my flat the last 3 weeks, probably due to my neighbour who keeps the most amazing garden downstairs and also, there's a big blossoming tree nearby that's attracting a lot of bees.

    Anyway, back to the bee: I picked her up and put her on my kitchen counter, she was barely moving, and acting very weird, her legs were twitchy, and it looked like she was barely supporting her body. She actually fell on her back, all of a sudden, several times I was watching her. I offered her sugary water, and fresh flowers from the garden but I didn't get much answer from her. I tried to warm her up by slowly blowing warm air on her, that seemed to help a little, because she started trying to move.

    It was raining outside the whole night (and around 10 degrees), so I decided to keep her indoor, especially since she doesn't seem to be able to move (walk or fly). I left her on a dish with fresh flowers and sugar water and I slept like hell for 5 hours. I swear I could hear buzzing around my head and woke up several times thinking it's the bee feeling better and trying to find a way out. It wasn't. She's barely moving at all now, she's trying to move one of her back legs very very slowly. She's shrivelled up and I think her tongue is out, and I think she's dying :(. It's heartbreaking to watch her suffer like this. Is there anything I can do to help this poor soul? I've never seen a bee act this way and it looks like she's slowly fading out :(( I have heard that pesticides attack a bee's nervous system and maybe the weird twitching and falling on her back was because of that?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Diana Giurghita

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that… I’m afraid none of the symptoms you describe are good signs at all. I wish there was more I could suggest for you to do, even simply to ease her suffering. Curling with her tongue out is a sign that she’s almost gone, I’m afraid. Twitching as you describe is, sadly, a likely result of acute pesticide poisoning. I’ve seen footage that I’ve wished I’d not seen showing the effects of acute pesticide poisoning, both in the vast almond orchards of California, and in “bee kills” where flowering linden trees have been sprayed to protect cars in parking lots from sap falling on them, and hundreds of bees have rained down from them. There are other issues that affect bees, including internal parasites, but I am not aware that any parasites or bee diseases cause the twitching that is so characteristic of poisoning.

      I do wish I had some better news for you :( It makes me so sad to hear this sort of thing, and it’s even harder to be there like you, witnessing it. All I can say is that the end is certainly near for her now if her tongue is extended and she has started curling up. I hope you find no more bees in a similar situation, because it’s not a good sign if someone is using pesticides nearby at levels high enough to produce acute symptoms (compared with the more typical chronic, slow-acting exposures).

      I do find it heartbreaking, and I sympathize with you so much. Scientific research is showing how bees are capable of various types of learning, including passing information on between generations depending on the type of bee, and also including at least primitive emotions. Honestly I believe each bee is an individual capable of thought and emotions of their own, and so it is especially hard to see them suffer so without being able to help further. It is so important that we eliminate pesticide use, but it seems so difficult to do, as existing food systems have come to depend on agrochemicals. Like so much going on right now environmentally-speaking, there are clear paths forward that would preserve both our natural world and humanity with it, if only we’d change our ways as a collective species.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  200. I have found a bumble be on the ground this morning and it couldn't seem to fly I think it's hurt it's wings so I placed it on my lavender plant when I went out but I have just come back and it was still there so have brought it in as it was starting to rain. It's now on my window sill in a box with some flowers and sugar water. I'm not sure what to do as it can't seem to fly.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kathryn johnson

    1. Could you reply to my email with a photo of your bee, showing her wings if possible? What kind of day was it today, overcast and cooler? Still, even if it had been a cold day, she should have been able to get some energy from the lavender and fly home. Was the lavender plant in the sun or the shade? If the weather had changed today (becoming much cooler), or if she was in the shade all day, that might explain it, without it being wing damage… I hope so, for her sake, as we can’t fix wing damage.

      What’s her behavior like on your windowsill, relatively sluggish? On cold, wet days in spring I have seen bumble bees unable to fly for a few days, instead spending their nights inside closed flowers. So it’s possible she might just need to warm up more, and a combination of sugar-water and warmth tomorrow morning might help her, so long as she’s not physically injured.

      They take awhile to warm up (often hours), so you might want to take her out mid-morning tomorrow, and try some drops of sugar-water below her head. Or since the flowers are out, you could try placing her on a flower bees love, in direct sunlight.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  201. 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???

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ann

    1. It sounds as though she’s searching for a new nest location, but that she’s already started one somewhere that she had to give up for some reason. They often nest in abandoned mouse burrows in the ground, or sometimes under sheds and in compost heaps. Most are ground-nesting, although some (like tree bumble bees) are not, but it sounds as though yours is very interested in locating a new nest underground.

      One option is for you to place her and her young in a shoebox temporarily while you sort out a new place for them to live. If she’s desperate, it strikes me that she might readily accept anything you have to offer her home-wise. You can make a bumble bee nest with a plant pot that’s about 20cm in diameter, a bit of old hose pipe, some chicken wire, and some straw or similar cut-up dry materials. There’s a pretty good PDF here outlining how to do this: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Making_a_bumblebee_nest-1.pdf

      Would you mind replying with a photo? Also, where are you located? It would be helpful to know what type of bumble bee you have there! And it’s quite unusual to see them carrying around young bees!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  202. Hi, I just saved a Carpenter Bee from my pool and dont know what to do since the sun isnt out anymore. Its only 12:34 pm for me so Im hoping the clouds go away.

    I tried offering sugar water and I believe that the bee took a little of it but now they are resting on my table cloth.

    A small section of the wings seem messed up and Im scared that they are torn.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Baily

    1. Nevermind about the wings, I believe they are just a little ragged from age. I am wanting to move the bee to a box but Im a little wary since I cant tell if they are male or female.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Baily

      1. It is most likely your bee is female at this time of year. She’ll let you know if she feels threatened, by lifting a leg to ward you off, or trying to move away, or other signs of wariness. That said, a cold wet bee is unlikely to be in a position to sting, but it’s still a good idea to keep a close eye on her behavior if you move her, as it’s hard to explain that you’re trying to help :)

        Since it’s close to midday still, I think your bee may air-dry quite well wherever she is. She won’t be able to fly until she’s dried, but she should be fine recovering on your tablecloth. If you see a long tongue stick out into the drops of sugar water, that should mean that she’s drinking some and taking in some extra energy.

        You are right that torn wing edges simply indicate age most of the time, so you likely have an older carpenter bee. They’re lovely large bees! I hope the clouds pass soon as that’ll help; but even on a cloudy day, so long as it’s a decent temperature (mid-60s F and above, ideally), your bee should be able to dry off in good time. Carpenter bees also fly when it’s a bit cooler, and I’ve noticed they stay out later than many other bees, so she should be fine even if it’s early evening before she’s ready to buzz off.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  203. Hi there,

    I am very worried for a little bumblebee that I found on the sidewalk at 5:45 pm today. (It is now 10:15pm) It was lying on its back in the sun, twitching it’s little legs and antenna. I picked it up and brought it home, and we put it in a dish with sugary water, and a couple dandelions. I had to leave and when I came back late tonight it’s head was somewhat in the dandelion—which had closed—and wasn’t moving, and the sugar water has become like syrup and was all over the dish (and I’m also worried that some is on the bee, I didn’t mean for that to happen ) and so I brought the bee inside and now it’s still on it’s one side, twitching it’s legs and occasionally it’s antenna.

    I tried to give it some honey water but idk what good that’s doing; I basically just have it laid in a dish that has honey water in it and the water has moved to be under its little head.

    I’m so upset for this poor thing, and I have no idea what to do for it. It’s really moving it’s legs a lot, and I really really don’t want to give up on it. I am hoping you are able to help me, I have never cared for a bumblebee before and I’ve never even really seen one up close. The weather has been warm but not hot, and I found the bee laying on the sidewalk in the sun, so I don’t think temperature is what caused this but I don’t know.

    I really feel for this sweet little bee.

    I thank you so much in advance for any help or time you can give me! It warmed my heart so much to stumble upon this page and see all the good and kind work that you do! ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Maiya

    1. I’ve made a little shoebox shelter for the little bee, but am still very worried for it. It stretched it’s legs taut when I placed water in the box, but is now back to twitching it’s legs and antenna. I really hope things turn around; I feel like this bee is really fighting to get better please let me know anything you can for how I can help, and what this bee might be going through! Thank you

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Maiya

      1. I’m so sorry I didn’t reply to your message sooner, I always feel so bad if I miss someone’s message though overnight!

        It’s a bit hard to diagnose the twitching, but it might point to internal problems. Sometimes bees suffer from internal parasites or bee diseases, and twitching may accompany those. Twitching can be a sign of pesticide poisoning too. But on the other hand, it does depend on the nature of the twitching… bumble bees “tremble” to warm up too.

        Let me know if your bee still seems alright this morning. Other than trying to get some energy into her (through the sugar water), and warming her up, there is sadly nothing else I can advise. I cared for a bee recently for whom all I could do was keep her safe from predators (the ants were after her) until the inevitable (it was a honey bee with deformed wing virus).

        I do hope your bee is not suffering from something more severe. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a bee is alive or not, but so long as she’s standing firmly on all of her legs, and a gentle nudge shows some change in leg position, she’s still with us. In which case, I’d place her box in bright sunshine to see if that helps. If she drinks, you should see a very long tongue poke out (almost as long as the bee herself).

        I do wish I could suggest more, it is very hard when they don’t respond to the usual treatment and get better quickly. It’s wonderful to hear that you care so much about your bee.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  204. I like bees-one sunny early March morning me and my brother came downstairs and found a huge bumblebee, Mum called her beekeeper friend who said it was a rare species of stuck bumblebee queen. She flew out soon enough..

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to I told you, I'm beegirl

    1. Excellent! Yes, bumble bee queens are surprisingly large fuzzy bees, it's always lovely to see them up close :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  205. We have a wonderful bee nest in the eaves of next doors house. The elderly lady was asking me today what kind of bees she had been invaded by? I told her how lucky she was and they’d be gone soon. (They have white bottoms) But anyway, I have two bees that can’t fly? They’ve landed in my garden and been there all day. All day they’ve been trying to fly. One has a very small from leg that it seems to be holding up. Is it possible that we have disabled bees. I don’t know what to do for the best?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emma Bonney

    1. You might look on this page to help determine which kind of bumble bee you have, these are the most common ones with white bottom: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/white-tailed-bumblebee-species/

      You’re quite right that your neighbor is very fortunate, and they’ll only be there for the season. Bumble bee nests disperse in fall, with young queens going off on their own and hibernating underground for winter.

      I’m sorry to hear about the two that can’t fly. Is it a warm day there? Have you tried placing them in direct sunlight, and offering them a few drops of sugar water mix? If that isn’t helping them, then yes, it’s possible the bees have been disabled, likely by an encounter with a predator that they narrowly escaped. Simply holding up a leg though (especially a middle leg) often means they just feel you’re a bit too close!

      I realize it’s late there, one idea would be to try to get them back to their nest, but given that we can’t talk to bees to tell them what we’re doing, you’re unlikely to receive a warm welcome from their nestmates! If it’s not freezing or raining, they should be fine outdoors overnight, but I’d check on them in the morning and see if moving them into sunlight and offering them sugar water might help them fly.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  206. Just saved a love queen bumble bee. Found her in my shower in water when I got in from work. Picked her up out her in the sun give her some sugar water and put her outside to dry off.

    Started to get later with the weather going slightly colder so brought her in and put her in my back room in a little box with a bit more sugar water.

    5/10 mins later she had crawled out the box to the window. She started to buzz started flying and flew straight out the window.

    I've done my best so lets hope she's ok.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amy

    1. I'm so happy to hear she revived so quickly! That's always a good sign :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  207. I FEEL SO BAD...TODAY AND 2 WEEKS AGO I FOUND TO STRUGGLING BUMBLES. I DODNT KNOW WHAT TO DO SO I PUT THE IN SOME FLOWERS...I WISH I WOULD HAVE FOUND THIS WOMDERFUL SITE. WE HAD A THUNDERSTORM LAST NIGHT AND MY DOGS FOUND THE STRUGGLING BUMBLE THIS MORNING...I HOPE SHE IS OKAY....NEXT TIME I WILL KNOW BETTER....THANK YOU!!!!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to TAMMY MICHAEL

    1. Thank you for caring so much about your bumble bees, and I'm so glad you have this information for the future!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  208. I found abumble bee yesterday on the pavement and bought it home, been feeding sugar and water solution which it took but not much movement, I really thought it would be dead this morning but it has hung on all day, the tongue has been out and not feeding much, I have bought him inside tonight and given more solution, I don't know what else to do

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Helen

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your bee, it’s kind of you to take your bee in and try to help it. To be honest the tongue hanging out is not a good sign, it tends to be the last thing they do :( If sugar water and warmth don’t help your bee, then there’s likely something else amiss, either internally or it may simple be an old bee near the end of its life. I wish I could suggest something else for you, but if sugar water and warmth don’t help, there’s little else we can do for them unfortunately.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  209. I found a bee in the garden yesterday, and gave it sugar water, which it seemed to drink. It was walking round, but wouldn't fly. I left it for a good while, but it didn't look any better, so I put it among flowers. It was struggling, and I didn't know what else to do, and thinking it would probably be dead this morning, which really upset me, the thought that it was suffering. This morning, it was barely alive, so I gave it some more sugar water, which it seemed to drink. I don['t think it will make it, but I can't kill it. Any more suggestions as to what I can do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to polly

    1. Is your bee a big fuzzy bee (like a bumble bee), or a thinner striped bee (more like a honey bee)? Have you seen a long tongue come out and poke into the sugar water (their tongue is almost as long as their body)? How’s your weather there, in terms of rain and daytime temperatures?

      So long as there’s nothing else wrong with the bee internally (and so long as it’s not an old bee at the end of its life), warmth and sugar water should effect a cure (and there’s really nothing else you can do besides try to warm your bee and give it sugar energy). The weather ideally needs to be close to or above 15C (60F), and placing your bee in direct sunlight is ideal. To tell how old your bee is, one way to check is to look a the condition of the wing edges: if they’re frayed and uneven, it’s an old bee, whereas if the edges are smooth and unbroken, it’s younger.

      If the weather is cold and wet, you could try warming up your bee indoors in a ventilated box, and offering a bit more sugar water, to see if it becomes more active. Bees certainly can look barely alive simply when they’re cold.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  210. Hi. I found a honeybee hanging on for dear life on the window of my car when I left work today. It's chilly and rainy. The bee wasn't moving. She was obviously sluggish from being cold and wet. I stopped at a store and found a bottle to put her in and got her off my car. Now, she is in my house, following your instructions. I have her in a box with holes, a small dish of sugar water, a small dish of regular water, and a small branch with leaves. The thing is, I live about 20 minutes from my work. I was planning on taking her back there with me tomorrow evening when I got back to work and releasing her there. But I read above that honeybees need to return to their hive each night, which obviously won't be possible. The weather is also supposed to be even worse tomorrow. I'm not sure if I am doing more damage, since it's a honeybee and not a bumblebee. If you email me, that would be great. Thank you!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Jessica Allison

    1. Hmm, yes it’s ideal that honey bees make it back the same day… but yours already likely wouldn’t have survived by the sounds of it, had you not taken her in. Once they’re cold and wet, they have real trouble recovering… they’re simply easy prey at that point for birds, ants, and such.

      Releasing her in the evening isn’t ideal though either, especially if your weather is bad. Where are you located roughly-speaking, is it evening there already?

      There are several options here I think. One thing to note is that although it’s certainly best if you take her back to where you found her, it’s not impossible for her to be taken in by a new hive in a different location. I’m not suggesting that’s ideal, as there are guard bees who like to prevent those from other hives from coming in; however, the guard bees often let in honey bees from other hives if they come bearing nectar and pollen.

      If there’s a possibility you could drive to where you found her earlier in the day (tomorrow I’m assuming), that’s another idea. You could try her with sugar water before taking her there, and then you could simply put her in an open box in a somewhat sheltered spot and leave her so long as it wasn’t raining, or perhaps gently tip her onto some flowers if some are nearby (I wouldn’t recommend leaving the sugar water, as it attracts ants, and they’ll take advantage of a weakened bee too if they stumble upon one). This way you wouldn’t have to wait possibly hours, which is about how long it often takes bees to get going from a slow start. She’s definitely far more likely to be able to fly off earlier in the day, although if it’s still cold and rainy, this is not really a good option. Honey bees avoid flying in the rain, and they’re not good at flying below 55F (12-13C), especially if the sun isn’t out to warm them directly with its rays.

      The other thing to do is simply to keep her fed in her box until the weather improves (basically until it’s not raining, and above 55F or 13C). This isn’t ideal either, as it’s an unnatural situation for her, but there’s no real reason she wouldn’t survive it, and I think if you turn her out in the cold and wet there’s little chance of her survival then. This happens to bees sometimes when the weather changes; they do in fact try to predict the weather, but if some foragers get caught out when it suddenly changes to cold and rain, their lives are at risk and they often don’t make it back to their hives.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  211. Hi! I found a bumblebee in my house last night so I put her outside. She has been buzzing around my yard for a few days. I guess she figured she would like to spend the night inside! She was in the same place this morning so I brought her in after reading your posts. She is moving around a bit. She hasn't opened her wings. I put sugar water in with her but not sure if she has ate any. It was cool and rainy last night. The temp is + 9c ... may warm up to +15c if the sun comes out. Should I wait for her to get moving more before I put her out. And where would be the best place to put her? In some dry leaves?

    [email protected]

    Marybelle White

    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Marybelle White

    1. I’m sure she appreciated the shelter overnight if she was caught out in the cold and rain! I would wait until sometime mid-morning to put her out, but you needn’t wait until she’s moving about… in fact, she’s more likely to start moving about more in direct sunlight outdoors, so she’ll probably need to be outdoors before she warms up enough to fly off. If she drinks, you should see a very long tongue poke out into the sugar water… it’s almost as long as the bee when it’s out. In terms of where to put her, anywhere close to where you found her is good, I like to put them near flowers where other bumble bees are foraging.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  212. Hi please can you help?

    This afternoon I found a relatively small bee on our bedroom floor. The bee was moving but only just. I picked him up gently and fed him drops of sugar water from a spoon intermittently, whilst sitting in the sunshine for a couple of hours. He has made attempts to walk and does appear more mobile but has made no effort to fly. He is currently resting on the outside hot tub lid, as it is warm ish, as the sun is dipping in the sky. Other than cleaning himself he has made no further attempts to move for approx 30 minutes.

    I’m referring to him as male as I think he must be a worker bee and I’m also presuming he is quite young as his torso doesn’t have much colour with only a halo of yellowy fuzz on the middle section of his body. What else can I do to help? My husband thinks he is dying and I am merely prolonging the inevitable.

    I hope you are able to reply soon.

    Kind regards,

    Helen,

    Lincoln, UK

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Helen

    1. It sounds as though your bee is a honey bee (and if she’s a worker, she’s female; most of them are female, and it’s only later in the year that the males come out, with huge eyes compared to normal bee eyes… though bee eyes are generally large to begin with)!

      I wouldn’t give up hope, because a cold bee that’s out of energy often looks like a dying bee. I don’t usually encourage folks to house honey bees for the night as they’re better off getting back to their hive. But if they’re caught out and can’t make it back, they’re easy prey when they’re moving slowly and not flying.

      How warm is warmish, in terms of today’s afternoon temperature? I agree that it’s not the best of signs that your bee has been sitting in the sunshine for a couple of hours, drinking sugar water intermittently, and is still not making an effort to fly. Can you see any visible damage to your bee? If you’d like to reply to my email with a photo, feel free, though in this case I don’t think there’s going to be much more that I can tell from a photo.

      So long as your bee isn’t twitching or falling over, I’d say there’s definitely hope of making a full recovery. Some individual bees just take more time than others; we have no way of knowing what happened before she ended up on your bedroom floor. I’d be tempted (if she hasn’t gone by the time the sun has gone down) to encourage her gently into a ventilated box in order to keep her safe for the night, because she won’t be going anywhere then if she hasn’t already left. Then in the morning you could place her box outside in the warmth and sunlight, and offer her more sugar water to increase her energy levels. That might be all it takes, or it might be something internal that we can’t cure, but I think it’s worth trying to help (since they really can look half-dead when they’re cold and low on energy).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  213. Hello!

    I found a bee 3 days ago getting blown about by the wind on the pavement and it was about to be blown out onto the road. So I picked it up and set it on my windowsill, hoping it just needed to get its energy back. It kept trying to walk off the window sill which I tried to stop because there's a big ant colony at the front of my house and I didn't trust that they wouldn't try to attack the bee. The bee couldn't fly, and still can't. Even after being offered sugarwater (and not drinking it) and regular water with the same effective. Dandelions it loves so have been scouting for them every day. The last two days i've gone to work and i've put the box outside so she could fly away if she needed. Everytime I find her about 30 cm away from the box on the ground. First day she loved all the flowers and went mad for the them, second day was pretty into them. We lost her yesterday and thought she'd buzzed away somewhere. I found her on the floor by the door today. And now she isn't even interested in the flowers. She can't fly at all, wings buzz and won't lift her off. Don't really know what else to do, cause there aren't many flowers in our back yard and she can't fly to any more...Don't know what her wings won't carry her, already put some warm water on them to help if they were sticky.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Chloe Lopez-Colclough

    1. Still have her but she just keeps doing that waving thing...Dunno if I scare her now cause when I open the box she automatically moves more and tries to fly but her wings are still not lifting her off. Do I just put her outside and let her die?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Chloe Lopez-Colclough

      1. Yes, the photos are large enough for me to see her. I don’t see any visible damage to her body, which is good. What I have noticed in the past is that bumble bees, especially large ones (it’s a bit hard for me to judge her relative size, but she might well be a queen) have to be very well warmed before they’re able to lift off the ground. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with her wings necessarily, or anything preventing her from flying other than the ambient temperature and possibly a lack of energy.

        If you were to put her out to “take her chances,” I think she’d be less likely to survive than if you held onto her until the weather warms up. I say this because if she’s sluggish and can’t fly, she’s easy prey. She looks healthy to me though, and I think the weather simply isn’t good enough for her yet if it’s right around 10C… that’s cold for a bee, and although some will be able to fly at that temperature, it’s still much harder than say 15C.

        I realize you’ve tried her by the radiator, but bees also take several hours to warm up in my experience. Radiators can be quite drying too, so one has to be careful leaving them by one. The sun is such a good source of warming them up, but this time of year often makes the weather unpredictable. It is a bit concerning that she’s become less active over the days with you, but if she hasn’t taken any sugar water, she’ll likely just have had what she could get from the cut dandelions, and if she’s cold too, she’ll be conserving her energy… a cold bee can look a lot like an almost dead bee, but in the right conditions they can make a good recovery and “spring to life” as one watches them over time. I’ve seen perfectly healthy bumble bee queens at temperatures around 12C, unable to fly and falling about a bit even though they buzz their wings as if trying to fly. In these cases, it’s simply taken time, energy from flowers or sugar water, and some additional warmth from the sun before they’re slowly able to lift off and take to the air again.

        So, what I would do is keep her in her ventilated box while the weather is cold and rainy. The small dish of sugar water you have there looks good, and if she’s really hungry, she may well go to it. On the next day when it gets above 10C and hopefully closer to 15C, as well as having some direct sun, I’d put her box outdoors later in the morning. The day you plan to release her, I’d also scout around for a few more dandelions, and try placing those in her box laced with a little extra sugar water mix so that she has an opportunity to fill up on some easy energy. Make sure the sun is directly on her if there is sun, she’ll warm up faster that way. If you want to warm her up first (the morning you plan to release her) in a warm room, that might help as well. At night while she’s in her box, keep her cool even though she’ll be sluggish, so she won’t waste her energy or get too out of sync with the temperatures outdoors. Do let me know if you have other questions, or if something changes with her that you’re concerned about.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      2. I was just writing to you… I wouldn’t give up on her just yet. How warm have your days been? Has it been sunny? Would you mind sending me a photo in response to the email I just sent you?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  214. Hello! I found a bumble bee last night on the ground looking very cold. Took the wee one inside, and gave it sugar water and popped it in a box to warm up. It seemed to come right before we went to bed - it was climbing up a fabric covered container I had in the box and generally exploring (never flying though!). But this morning the bee only moved around for a bit when I offered it sugar water and has since stopped moving. I've noticed as well that the wings were colourless yesterday and much darker, almost black tinted today. I'm worried I've mixed the sugar water wrong (Originally I didnt know the ratio and had too much water, then I didnt know not to use boiling water!) and killed my poor bee with kindness. Is there any chance my bee is just sleeping?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sarah

    1. How is your bee now? That’s very strange about her wing color appearing to change, I’m not quite sure what to say about that, as it shouldn’t be possible, at least not in my experience… but I believe you that you saw it, which is why I’d love a photo to identify your bumble bee and see if her wings differ from the color typical for her species. Are you in New Zealand, by chance?

      If you still have her, would you mind sending a photograph in reply to the email I've just sent you? I think it’s quite unlikely you’ve done any harm, and yes there’s a good chance that if she’s not moving much, she might just be cold. Have you had a chance to put her in full sun for a few hours to see if that helps get her moving, along with a bit more sugar water?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  215. Hello, thanks for this great website. I found a bumblebee on my lunch break today on the walkway in front of my apartment and moved her into the flowerbed for safety. She buzzed her wings a little.

    But when I came home from work, she was still there.

    I offered her sugar water as instructed but she simply slowly walked away from it. I believe she is missing one of her left legs. She seemed even more listless. Eventually I took her inside (I'm on Long Island in southern New York, and the weather today was an unseasonably cool 50-55F) and she's in a box on my dresser right now. I left the top of the box open and put a mesh strainer over her with a shallow tray of sugar water.

    She climbed up the side of the mesh strainer and has now been hanging upside down there for awhile. I'm assuming there's nothing more I can do for her, but...is there anything else I can do for her?? I love animals and want to help her live.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emily

    1. It’s tempting to say that you should just let her “hang out” for a bit, since she’s likely still upside down hanging from your strainer :) Seriously though, other than sheltering her for the night, there’s nothing else you can do tonight. In the morning, I’d warm her up indoors before placing her box outdoors in the flowerbed, in direct sun if you have it. If she’s still dangling, then just turn your strainer over so she can leave when she wishes.

      You might try again offering a few drops of sugar water in the morning too… often they’re quite attracted to it, and it gives them energy fast. But it depends on the bee, and sometimes they’ll never have anything to do with it (my guess in these cases is that either they don’t feel hungry, or they don’t see it as food, but I think generally it’s most likely to be not needing it, since sugar water seems to be quite attractive to bees).

      Although it’s not ideal to lose a leg or two for sure, they can still manage without one or two, and the wounds do heal over time (even though they’ll never regrow a leg). Don’t expect her to buzz off first thing though, it often takes bees a few hours to warm up before starting their days.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. FYI Elise, when I came home for lunch our tiny patient was gone. :) Wishing my little friend a healthy and happy life. <3

        Thank you again for your advice and the great resource of your website.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

        1. You're welcome, happy to bee of help!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      2. Thanks very much for your response, Elise! Our wee patient made it through the night and, as you predicted, is still "hanging out." :)

        It is supposed to be a bit warmer today, but also windy and rainy later, so what I'm going to do is put her and a sugar water dish out on my terrace under a table. I don't want to put her back in that flowerbed because the grounds of my apartment complex are very "manicured" and I never know when the gardeners are coming. I don't want her to be distressed or killed by them.

        I'll check on her progress on my lunch break and then again after work, and take her inside again tonight if necessary.

        My terrace does get tons of sunlight until the afternoon, so hopefully even with the cloud cover our small friend will warm up!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

  216. Good morning, I found a bee yesterday which looked listless so I brought it to my drive and offered it sugared water. I wasn’t interested in it at all. After reading your page I thought it could be cold. We have had a lot of rain and temperatures as low as 1 or 2 degrees. I put it in a shoe box and after a little while we heard it buzzing. Hoping it would be happier now warmer, then it would have some sugared water but it isn’t. It will move and crawl away from the water into a dry area and just sits ther