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. I just read about the neatest (British) project for this, far easier to bring along wherever you go… so if you agree, consider supporting them:

Bee Saviour Behaviour Crowdfunder Campaign


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:


All the Buzz!

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.

Your email:Email:

I only use your email address to send you occasional bee-related emails (opt-out any time). Read my full privacy policy.


A short note from Elise Fog

elise-fog

Hello, I hope your bee is feeling better! If you're still concerned, do drop your question below and I'll try to answer as quickly as I can. The response to this page has been incredible, and I've added to this page based on hearing so many bee stories.

I truly believe every single bee’s life counts. I also think that saving a bee’s life creates a special connection that will never bee forgotten. Sir David Attenborough once said something along the lines of: if you love something, you’ll care about saving it, but you won’t fall in love until you’ve seen and learned about it first.

If I’ve helped you help your bee, I’d so appreciate it if you might consider supporting me. One way to support me is by buying my bee art. Another way is to support me with a one-time or monthly contribution.

Make a contribution 💛


Have a bee question?

I only use the information you provide in order to help with your bee question. Read my full privacy policy for details.
Your email is important so that you know as soon as I reply, and also in case we need to exchange photos of your bee.


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

  1. 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

  2. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  3. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  4. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  5. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  6. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  7. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  8. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  9. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  10. 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

  11. 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!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  12. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  13. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

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

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  18. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  19. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  20. 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

  21. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  22. 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).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  23. 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?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  24. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  25. 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.

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  26. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  27. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  28. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  29. 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

  30. 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!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  31. 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?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  32. 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.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  33. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  34. 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

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  35. 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!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  36. 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

  37. 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

  38. 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

  39. 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

  40. 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

  41. 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

  42. 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

  43. 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

  44. 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

  45. 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

  46. 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

  47. 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

  48. 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

  49. 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

  50. 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

  51. 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

  52. 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

  53. 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

  54. 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

  55. 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

  56. 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

  57. 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

  58. 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

  59. 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

  60. 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

  61. 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

  62. 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

  63. 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

  64. 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

  65. 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

  66. 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

  67. 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

  68. 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

  69. 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

  70. 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

  71. 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 there. It can move it’s wings to open and close. It is pouring with rain again today so don’t feel I can put the box outside just yet. Any advice?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Virginia Stone

    1. Sometimes bees decide they want nothing to do with the sugar water offered. It may be that she’s not hungry, or it may be that she doesn’t recognize it as food. If the latter, you can trick them sometimes by sprinkling a few drops of sugar water on a flower (dandelions work well since they’re out quite early in the season, and the shape of their flowers makes them very good bee plants). That way, it’d be something she recognizes as food, and you’d simply be topping off the nectar supply, which otherwise wouldn’t work for long, having been clipped from the original plant and placed in her shoebox.

      If it’s still pouring with rain, then your bee will be going nowhere far even if you let her out (she’d simply crawl somewhere and try to wait out the rain safely). So I agree, she’s better off with you in her box. I’d just keep her box somewhere cool today so she doesn’t damage her wings at all being warm and attempting to escape her box before it’s a good time to go.

      Hopefully your temperatures will be warming soon, as 1-2C is far too cold for a bee! Do you think it is a bumble bee (large and fuzzy), or a honey bee (smaller, less fuzzy, and striped), or some other kind of bee? If she’s very large and fuzzy, she might well be a bumble bee queen.

      Basically, I’d advise you to keep her safe until the weather is more favorable (keeping her relatively cool during the day; basically matching outdoor temperatures, or close to those, but keeping her from freezing). It’s worth noting that bees taste things with their feet, and so just a very tiny drop of sugar water near one foot might work if she stepped in it. Just make sure to avoid her getting sticky by putting down too much sugar water. If she doesn’t want sugar water now, she may well be interested later too as she gets hungrier, so it may simply be a matter of trying her at different times of day.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  72. Hi,

    I found a bumblebee while out and it was crawling on the ground and not flying. She kept falling onto her back. I scooped her up and tried to give her plain water and then tried to warm her but she still wouldnt fly. After an hour of seeing if she would fly off, she hadn't, so I brought her to my house (about 1.5 kilometers away from where I found her). Is it ok to release her from my house or should I bring her back to the place I found her once she is ready to fly again? She is rather large and fluffy and since it is early spring I believe she may be a queen. Any help is appreciated!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Aurora

    1. Generally speaking, it’s good to release bees where you found them, but if it’s early spring where you are weather-wise (in terms of days steadily above 60F or 15C), and if she’s likely a bumble bee queen (particularly large as well as fuzzy), then it’s likely alright to let her go at your house, rather than taking her back to the spot you found her, because it’s most likely that she has not started a colony yet. Bumble bee queens do a little foraging once they start a colony, but they’re most often out and about soon after emerging from hibernation, and while they’re still searching for the perfect spot (usually underground) to raise new bees (once they’ve raised a few bees, those new bees do all the foraging, while the queen stays safely in the colony).

      She certainly needed help if she kept falling onto her back, and it’s very kind of you to have scooped her up! Keep her somewhere coolish and safe overnight (if it’s nighttime where you are), then try her with sugar-water in the morning (or later today, depending on your timezone; just a few small drops of sugar water below her head). Depending on your weather (how warm it is, as well as if it’s sunny or not) you may want to warm her up indoors and release her mid-morning (so long as it’s near or above 50F or 10C, ideally with the sun out, but at the very least not raining, snowing, or extremely windy). Ideally release her somewhere there are good bee flowers (even dandelions work, in fact they’re wonderful bee plants). If you happen to know of an area nearby where there are abandoned mouse burrows, so much the better, but she’ll find them otherwise (unless she’s a tree bumble bee, but most bumble bees live underground, and love to use old burrows).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you so much! It is early morning right now in my time zone and I kept her in a container over night, I'm going to attempt to release her in a fee hours once it is warmer out! I'm not sure if she is a queen or a worker but I was assuming queen because it is early spring currently and i don't think too many worker bees are out yet! Your advice is very helpful and I'll update you on if she flies away when i release her!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Aurora

  73. We've suddenly got lots of bees in our bathroom on the window sill. Have no idea how they're getting in or why they are all on the window sill. The problem is they are all have dead and some already dead when we return home and find them. They happily crawl onto a piece of tissue if I hold one next to them and then I put them out of the window. But they don't fly. They look dizzy. I will try the sugar solution now I've read this website.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Polarjo

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that. Do they look smallish with stripes, and not very fluffy, like the honey bees pictured on this page? Or are they very fuzzy, more like bumble bees? Either way, that’s strange behavior that you’re witnessing, and my first thought (when you said they had appeared suddenly and many were dead and some looked dizzy) is potentially acute pesticide exposure. Not that I want to jump to that conclusion necessarily, but it’s an unfortunate possibility.

      What’s your weather like there? Have any responded to the sugar water solution? Are they still showing up? They shouldn’t be dying simply from being inside for a little while, it’s very strange. Could you reply to the email I sent you with a photo of them?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  74. Helped me as i have bees bumbel in my front step .so gonna leave them and use side door.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Diane Mbende

    1. I'm happy to hear you'll be leaving them bee :) They'll simply be there for the season, and then come autumn, the new queens that hatch then will disperse to hibernate in the ground individually.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  75. Hello. I have fed my sleepy bumble bee sugar water and placed her in a shoe box for the night. When the sun comes out tomorrow it will probably be warm enough for her but tomorrow night is supposed to be cold again. Should I keep her until Monday when the nights are supposed to be warming up? Thank you for your help.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Christina Wheeler

    1. I’d be inclined to leave it up to your bee by setting out her box once it’s warm tomorrow, with the lid open. If she’s ready to go, she’ll go for sure, and she should be fine tomorrow night even if it does get cold, since she’ll have the day to find where she wants to be, and you’ll have given her a good start with sugar water for energy. If she’s still in her box as late afternoon turns towards evening, then I’d keep her safe for another night before releasing her the following day once it’s warmer.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  76. Found a slow bee on the ground caught out in the rain when I was walking earlier so I took it home for some warmth and sugar water. Its begining to dry off but not interested in the sugar water. After a while I began to notice something small and pale yellow hanging off off the back left side of the abdomen which at first I assumed was pollen but upon closer inspection it has a worm or noodle like appearance. I thought it might be some debris from outside and tried to gently remove it but after feeling resistance I stopped, not wanting to hurt the bee. I'm a bit worried it's actually part of the bee, does anyone know what this might be?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Stuart

    1. Without seeing your bee, I have no way to say for certain, however it’s possible that it is part of the bee (especially if it has a somewhat gooey appearance). How is your bee behaving otherwise, does it seem alert and active, or is it still sluggish? If you’d like to reply to the email I’m sending you with a photo, that might be helpful (unless you’ve already released your bee by the time you receive this)?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Unfortunately it turned out to be a wound, which it did not received from. The bee was okay for a while but began to twitch a lot, once the tongue came out for a while I knew it didn't not have long for this world. Hopefully it passed comfortably in the warm tho

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Stuart

        1. I’m sorry to hear that, though I had feared it would be the case. It’s kind of you to care so. Bees face many challenges to survival, and it’s always nice to try to help them, even in cases where ultimately we cannot.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  77. I’m nursing a bee right now. It got really cold yesterday. Poor thing. It’s snowing and raining now so he/she’s been here for 24 hrs already. We’re sitting in the sun in my kitchen. I only have honey unfortunately but it seems to love that. Hope it gets warmer!! It’s only 7 Celsius now the sun is out.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Paul

    1. I think I’m getting attached haha it’s so cute. It knows when I walk in the room and maybe I’m crazy but it knows I’m here to help. Ok I’m definitely crazy cause we just sat looking at each other for about 15 mins... so cute.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Paul

      1. Aww, that sounds adorable :) I hope your weather warms up soon so that your bee has an opportunity to fly back into the world… though I bet you’ll miss your little friend when that happens! That’s wonderful you care so much, snow and rain is no fun for bees, but it sounds like you’ve given your bee an excellent safe haven in the meantime.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

        1. She flew away after 24hrs of hanging... bless her... i wish her the bee-st life! <3

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Paul White

          1. Aww I’m so happy you two enjoyed your time together, and that she’s off on her buzzy way into the world, after having been kept safe and warm and well-fed by you in the meantime :) It’s so heartwarming to hear these stories, and I’m glad my page provided a little information to help you both out in her time of need!

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  78. So I found a tiny guy in my basement! Idk

    How long he was there but he was just on the floor of my pantry at nine o clock at night. It’s been raining on and off New England for weeks now. I gave him some

    Sugar water and set him in a box with huge openings on both ends. I let him be for a bit and found him ok

    His back legs spread out like he was possibly trying to move. Should I wait till morning then set the box outside. I’m afraid it’s rain again for the next few days also. He’s a pretty fuzzy guy too with no visible injuries and he was moving ever so slightly when I found him. I’d feel awful if I didn’t at least try.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Margarida Gale

    1. I would definitely keep your bee in tonight. If it’s raining for the next few days that might be a bit of a problem, as bees don’t really fly in the rain. If it warms up a bit during the day and stops raining, try setting the bee’s box outside. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your bee stays with you until the weather is better. If that’s the case, keep the box somewhere safe from mice, ants, and such. Offer small amounts of sugar water during the day. Wait for better weather, and as soon as it stops raining and the temperature gets closer to 60F or so, place your bee out, ideally in direct sunlight, with the box open. A combination of warmth and sugar water usually works wonders! But cold wet weather is no good for bees, so if you can keep your bee safe in the meantime that’d be ideal. Don’t expect your bee to move much until it gets warmer. Keep your bee somewhere cool at night though. If your bee seems very active tomorrow, you can always try removing the lid and placing your bee outdoors in its box, but it’s unlikely to want to leave until it’s not raining!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  79. I’m here for bee rescue! Found a chubby fuzzy little dude this morning in the cold. Thought he was dead but his feet wiggles when I touched him so I scooped him up to bring him inside. Looks like he took a bit of damage- a bit of internal ‘goo’ on the outside of his body but his body seems mostly intact. Don’t know if he got chomped by something. One wing is at a weird angle but after some sugar water and warmth he started to move his legs a bit and now he is very gradually shuffling around. I wouldn’t call it walking though, just kind of dragging himself millimeter by millimeter. He seems a little tucked in, like he can’t get the weight off of his face. He is much more responsive now (flips me off a bit with one leg if I get too close haha) but his tongue has been permanently out for several hours and he’s not drinking anymore. I’ve got him on a heating pad on its lowest setting, with several layers between him and it. That seemed to give him a bit more energy, and hes dragging himself around with a bit more purpose now. Overall though his wings don’t appear to be working and his head being tucked down and dragging on the ground is rough. He’s not using his two front feet very well- he seems to be mostly covering his eyes or chest with them. Anything I can to do give him a better chance?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Casey

    1. It’s kind of you to try to help your fuzzy little rescue bee. I’m not sure in this case if there’s a way for your particular bee to recover fully though, with the damage you’re describing. I’m particularly concerned about the wing at a weird angle, and the internal goo you describe, as well as the tongue dragging on the ground. This may be a case of simply keeping your bee comfortable before the inevitable.

      Do you see an open wound? I ask because one could try to seal a wound with something like liquid bandage, though I don’t know if that’s been tried on bees before. Insects can repair small wounds over time, but larger wounds won’t knit together easily given their exoskeletons. Does it appear that you can nudge the wing back into place (to match the other side)?

      The tongue being out is, I’ll be honest, often one of the last things I’ve seen them do before they pass away, so it’s never a good sign. It is, however, a good sign that your bee has energy enough to lift a leg… you’re quite right about the intent there, it means the bee feels you’re too close, and is somewhat equivalent to “buzz off”!

      I wish I could suggest something further to help. I think it’s unlikely your bee will survive, given the damage. But if your bee perks up a bit more, and pulls its tongue back in, you might see if it’s possible to nudge the wing in case it’s “out of place” rather than broken, and it’s possible that sealing the wound temporarily might help, but I do doubt it, sadly :(

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  80. Please help! I just found a bee, she’s very very small, and a little fuzzy, with no markings I’m pretty sure. She moved a bit, and I gave her a bit of sugar water, which she drank. However, she hasn’t flown away, and is simply sitting there. Is she dying, or just weak?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amelia

    1. Likely she’s just weak. That’s good that she drank some sugar water! What time of day is it where you are? If the sun is still out and it’s above 50F/10C, try placing her in direct sunlight. Often it’s just a matter of warming up before being able to fly.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  81. We have the bee in a shoe box for a couple of days now, we let her outside in the sun but she just immediately burrowed in the grass and then crawled around for a few hours, she showed no signs of flying and the weather started to get worse so we felt the need to bring her back inside in the warmth and away from predators. She has a few flowers in her box that we refresh and also sugar water, but she is not showing any signs of wanting to fly away when she has the opportunity to. It is now bad weather (cold and rainy) should we continue to keep her inside of set her free in nature? We are just worried she might not make it if we let her go...

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emily

    1. So if she’s a queen bumble bee (very large and fuzzy), which I think we thought she was, then it makes some sense for her to be crawling around on the ground when you let her out. Most make their homes underground, and early spring (depending on where you’re located) is the time of year when queen bumble bees emerge from hibernation seeking to start new colonies.

      That said, if she was still crawling around visibly and night was getting on with bad weather coming, it makes sense to bring her in so that she can try again on another day, staying safe from predators and with sugar water for food in the meantime.

      I’ve known bees to stay with people for up to a week or so, and especially in early spring, it’s a time when bumble bee queens are waiting out the weather if they’re outdoors, so I wouldn’t bee too concerned about keeping her for a day or two longer, since she’ll be safer with you. Rain is really no good for bees, nor cold either, so I’d be inclined to let her wait out the bad weather with you rather than letting her go. I’d keep trying her outdoors at the beginning of any day that’s warmer and sunny, and she’ll likely wish to go in the end, even if she decides that crawling around looking for a spot to burrow is the first thing to do! If you’re releasing her near your home or in your garden, then you may end up with a happy colony of bumble bees too :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  82. I need help! I found a bumble bee yesterday morning on the ground hardly moving. So I gave it some sugar water and kept checks on it all day. It perked up a little by night time, but still seemed really lethargic so I brung it inside for the night. This morning the bee has a lot more energy, but keeps trying to fly and ending up on its back. I've helped it outside, but I don't know what else to do?!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kieran Shilston

    1. It flew off! I put daffodils around it and it got its fill and eventually flew off! So happy!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Kieran Shilston

      1. That's excellent news! She likely just needed a bit more energy to get going... bees aren't particularly early risers :)

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  83. This is great information I found a little busy yesterday in the mailbox it was freezing outside and she couldn’t move I don’t think she’s a queen I have named her Pete she was doing really well yesterday but today she is not buzzing around happily like she was after coming around I put her in a jar with holes gave her some sugar water and she recovered in about an hour but it was too cold to release her it is not supposed to get above 50 where I live until Friday so I was planning on waiting until Friday to release her but I want her to be happy until then and I don’t think she’s happy in the jar I want to try the shoebox idea so I just wanted to ask since it’s going to be so long should I get a flower for her I would have to go to the store and buy some which is fine but I don’t know what kind to get that would provide her with some nectar or will sugar water suffice until Friday I don’t want her to go hungry also should I put regular fresh water in there for her as well please help me keep her alive and happy

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tawnya

    1. How close to 50F will it get before Friday? You could probably try releasing her outdoors sooner if it’s close to 50F, so long as it’s sunny, though otherwise I agree that waiting until Friday makes the most sense. Do you think she’s a bumble bee worker (fluffy, though smaller than a bumble bee queen), or is she thinner/striped and less fluffy, more like a honey bee?

      Yes it’s hard to communicate to them that what we’re doing will help them, and research does show that they experience emotions (in a bee-kind-of-way) so it’s important that she not feel too confined or unhappy, I agree!

      Sugar water will be sufficient to keep her alive, but she might like flowers in her box too (except that they’ll run out of nectar fast if they’re picked). One solution to the running-out-of-nectar issue is to put flowers in, but drop sugar-water on them first in order to ensure she doesn’t get frustrated looking for food where there is little.

      Honestly I’d look around for some local dandelions, those are excellent bee plants at this time of year. The issue with buying flowering plants at a nursery is that often times they’re fairly high in pesticides (not always, but more often than they should be). If you do go to a nursery, ask for good bee plants for your area, and also check with them on the pesticides; organic would certainly be the thing to look for, I would worry otherwise in case her food might be contaminated.

      So long as you keep the mixture of sugar to water at around 50:50 (half and half), she won’t need a source of water separately.

      I wish you and Pete all the best, keep me posted and feel free to ask if you have any other questions as time goes by!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. The weather keeps on changing hair when I leave in the morning for work it will be 40° but when I return home from work it says that it will be 50 that will be at 6 PM in the sun will be down I don’t want to take her with me to work because I don’t want to keep her away from her colony I want her to be close to her colony when I release her I will get the dandelions we have some dandelions that’s the only flower we have growing right now I will put them in there tonight so she will have Them if it is 50° tomorrow when I get home from work and the sun has gone down already would it be OK to release her then will she be OK thank you for your help it is very kind of you to answer these questions

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Tawnya

        1. I forgot to mention she is big and fluffy not as big as a bumblebee she is very fluffy

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Tawnya

          1. You’re right to want to release her close to where you found her if she’s not a bumble bee queen. Feel free to email me a photo of her if you’d like (wish I could accept photos on my website… I’m going to try to get that to work at some point, but I need to some upgrades to my website first to make that happen).

            I would feel a little hesitant releasing her so late in the day (when you get home from work), because by then it’s cooling off, and so she wouldn’t have as much time as she might to reorient herself before night falls. I see your point about it being far too chilly early in the morning before you leave for work. One thought is that if it’s forecast to be a warmer and sunnier day, you could leave her outdoors with her container open somewhere that appears safe. That way she could go if she felt warm enough and had the energy, or she’d simply be waiting for you when you came back from work.

            A shoebox would be safer than a jar in that respect, as I wouldn’t want her to be cooked in the sunlight accidentally if left.

            I’m happy you have dandelions, they’re really excellent bee plants, and far too often maligned as “weeds”. They’re such good bee plants because they’re out early in spring, and last throughout most of summer and into fall. They offer plentiful nectar and pollen compared to some other flowers, and they make their nectar and pollen easily accessible to a wide range of bees (bees have different “tongue” lengths, and so some flowers are much easier to feed from than others, depending on the bee).

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  84. Our bee is home now, she has livened up thank god, however she is moving around a bit, should we keep her in the box until the morning still? I imagine Letting her out at night as it’s cold, is the wrong thing ? Or if she’s moving around is it best to let her out ?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emily

    1. It depends on your bee, I like to take my cues from their behavior, but I would probably still try to keep your bee overnight and release her in the morning (you mentioned your weather would be favorable tomorrow). It won’t hurt her to spend the night in a ventilated box, and if she’s sluggish still it would keep her safer from predators… otherwise she might get cold in the night air quickly, before being able to make it to somewhere safer.

      That said, I never want to keep them against their own will, and if she’s very active and flying inside her box, that can be a reason to release her earlier than tomorrow morning. Still, my inclination would be to keep her safe overnight, putting her box somewhere cool right now (such as a garage or other sheltered area with outdoor-temperatures). Being somewhere cool will naturally slow her down, and then you can warm her up and offer sugar water in the morning when it’s a good time for her to go (she likely won’t be an early riser either).

      Perhaps try placing her box somewhere cool and listening for buzzing noises over the next hour or so. If she seems quiet, then I’d leave her bee inside the box, and plan to warm her up and feed her in the morning so she has the whole day to decide where she wants to spend the night tomorrow. As a bumble bee queen, she’ll be searching for a place underground (such as an abandoned mouse burrow) in which to start a colony, but it often takes quite a bit of searching (a week or so, depending) before finding a good place.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Our bee is still in a shoe box and moving around but still no signs of flying, she stops and starts! It’s not rainy and cold, she loves bluebells, and sugar water, but doesn’t seem to get any better! Help

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

      2. Our bee is determined to stay in her box! She has a few leaves she keeps hiding under, every now and then she will buzz around, she doesn’t try to fly and I don’t know if that’s because she can’t? I wonder if she is still in some form of her hibernation ? She has plenty of access to sugar water and has been out in the sun, but keeps, what is appears, falling asleep. Should we keep her in the box overnight again

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

        1. I think you have a choice here. She should be able to fend for herself with the help you’ve given her. If you leave her box out (or tip her out) near some flowers and a nice bit of ground, she may well burrow under leaves there for the time being, and go about her next day as she would usually in nature. Alternatively, if she is still looking unstable on her legs, and as though she won’t fare well outdoors, you can keep her another night. Recently I chatted to some folks who dropped a comment here, and their bee just took a few days before deciding to buzz off, for whatever reason. It’s unusual, but it’s not unheard of. She won’t come to any harm if you keep her another night, but she might be just fine if you “push her out” into the world too, since that’s where she’d usually be, and you’ve helped a lot just by making sure she has plenty of energy, and placing her in a good spot.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      3. So our bee is in the box and every now and then buzzes lots like it wants to get out but then it crashes and sleeps again, it’s sunny and warm out and she’s got sugar water, should I tip her out the plastic box or let her come out in her own time ? She keeps doing this thing like she’s humping the leaf

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

        1. I’m only just awake on my time zone here, sorry for my late reply. Hmm, I would just let her go on her own time. Often it can take bees a good hour or two to “wake up.” Hopefully by the time you receive this she’s buzzed off, but if not, just leave her near flowers with an open box in the sun with a little sugar water, and she should be on her way, assuming there’s nothing else amiss. Just occasionally they seem to want or need to stay with folks for an extra day before buzzing off, for no seemingly apparent reason, but I’d still expect her to get going today given some more time.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      4. Yeah you’re right I have put her in a cool room and she is keeping still and is happily sat on her leaf, we will keep an eye on her and intend to let Aher out tomorrow, bless her, has quietened down! And is just sat still, we have added a small amount of sugar water to her box, again thank you so much for the help , will let you know how she is in the morning, I will video it !

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

  85. Hello, I just found a bee (well 40 mins ago now) and im at work, it was just sat on the concrete floor tipping over, not really moving much so i gave it a bit of sugar water and it moved a bit, but then went back to still and tipping over, im going back out to check on it in 30 mins, what should i do if it is still there? it will be dark and cold soon

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emily

    1. Is it a large fuzzy bee (like a bumble bee) or a smaller thinner striped bee (like a honey bee)? If it’s still there when you get back, and not looking as though it’s doing well, you might take it home with you in a small ventilated box to keep it safe overnight from predators that would otherwise target a bee that’s in trouble. If it’s a very large fuzzy bee (like a bumble bee queen), then you wouldn’t even need to worry about bringing it back to the same spot tomorrow to release it; but if it’s a smaller fuzzy bee (a bumble bee worker) or a honey bee, then you’d need to return it to the same spot to release it so that it can find its way back to its colony.

      The reason I’d suggest keeping it overnight is mainly to protect it from predators, and also so you can feed it more sugar water in the morning before releasing it (hopefully in the sun and near some flowers that other bees are visiting) in order to give your bee the best chances for survival. Tipping over doesn’t sound too good, but it might just be out of energy. If you do bring you bee back with you, keep it somewhere coolish overnight, and then warm it up in the morning in direct sunlight, or indoors if it’s not too sunny. If it doesn’t respond to warmth and sugar water in the morning, it’s possible something else might be wrong with it, but let’s hope not; it’s amazing the recovery that bees can make simply with warmth and energy from sugar.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you i am going to go and check now, i live about 40 mins from work, if i can bring it back i will, do i need to put anything in the box?

        it is a large fuzzy bee with a red spot/mark on the bottom of its body, large bee, very sweet.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Emily

        1. For the trip home you wouldn’t need to add anything to the box, but I do think it’s nice to put things of interest for them to clamber over (which you can do once you’re home), just so that they’re not sitting inside a bare box wondering what happened to them! If it’s a very large fuzzy bee, it’s very likely to be a queen bumble bee, since it’s that time of year. They emerge from hibernation in early spring, but because the weather can be variable, sometimes they get caught out in cold/rainy weather, or simply run out of energy if they don’t find more flowers quickly enough.

          If you can provide her safe shelter overnight, as well as some more sugar water for energy, that will help her out. Just make sure to keep her cool overnight, and she won’t need much food tonight, but in the morning it’d be good to warm her up and make sure she takes as much sugar water as she can drink, before releasing her ideally in a sunny spot near some good bee flowers. Don’t be surprised if she seems lethargic though for awhile, even in the morning. It takes them a few hours to get going in the morning, since they’re rather large and need a lot of energy and warmth before they can fly well.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Thank you, she was still there so we have put her in a box with a bit of sugar water on a leaf, we will take her home, will keep her in a cool room as well and see how she is in the morning, she really looks half gone :\\ i wish there was something else i could give her to boost her up! can it take a while for sugar water to work then? she doesnt seem to be drinking/consuming much of it... poor thing

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Emily

            1. If she’s cold, the sugar water will appear to have a delayed effect compared to the instant effect it would have on a warm bee. Since it’s getting late there anyway, we would expect her to slow down in response to the coolness of night coming on. So I wouldn’t worry if she’s quite inactive tonight, it’s a natural state for bees when they’re cold, and they save energy that way too. In the morning, as I mentioned, don’t expect her to get going fast. If it’s sunny, I’d place her box open in direct sunlight and offer more sugar water then; if it’s not sunny, bring her box indoors where you can warm her up with your house’s heat, and between the warmth and sugar water she should make a full recovery so long as nothing else is wrong with her.

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

              1. Ok that is good to know, hopefully she will just stay snoozing til the morning then!I didnt know what to expect, i really hope she makes it! its cold and dark now outside, and checked the weather for tomorrow and it looks good, we have a nice space we can release her in if she makes it. Thank you so much for your help and rapid response, it's helped us understand and take action otherwise not knowing what is ok to do and not do. 5 stars!!!

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Emily

  86. Thank you for your helpful advice as we've had to come to the rescue of a queen bee this evening. We've had 2 in. of snow this afternoon here in southern Wisconsin. With the sudden fall in temperatures and the sudden snow cover, a queen bee literally showed up on our doorstep between the screen and back doors. She was pretty dazed and half frozen. It appears she literally was trying to get into our house. We gave her sugar water and placed her in a well-ventilated box in the garage. As the evening continued and fearful of freezing temperatures (its dropping to 22F tonight), we've now moved her into the lightly heated breezeway and she's making quite the buzz in the shoebox. Any suggestions on how to make her more comfortable? Reduce the stress of being in a box? It's supposed to warm up tomorrow afternoon (50F).

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Carol

    1. I’m sure that sudden drop in temperatures along with snow surprised your queen bee! I’m not surprised she was trying to come indoors :) If you’re going to keep her overnight, and if you currently still hear her buzzing about in her box, then I’d place her box somewhere very cool, matching night time temperatures, to slow her down a bit so she doesn’t damage her wings buzzing about in an enclosure (since she’s likely confused about being there too). Even with the temperatures so low, she’ll be fine (and safer than outdoors) if you move her back into your unheated garage, because she’ll be protected from any frost there. Then I’d rewarm her in the morning in your breezeway or indoors, and offer her more sugar water at that time, before releasing her tomorrow once the sun has been up enough to warm things up a bit outdoors for the day.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Happy to report that she settled down in the box for the night. We gave her more sugar water this morning, waited for the snow to melt and temperatures to warm up before opening the box outside and she happily flew off!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Carol

        1. I’m so happy to hear that! It’s wonderfully heartwarming to hear that you cared about helping your bee, as a queen you’ll have helped many more bees that just one too :)

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  87. Hello, we live in Oxford UK. Yesterday was very wet and I believe down to 13 degrees. At 6pm yesterday I found a honeybee on our patio, it was moving slowly. I gave it some sugar water and it drank straight away. At about 7.30pm I expected it to have flown off but was sadly still there, moving but not going anywhere.

    With it being fairly cold we took it in last night in a container with holes to stay warm.

    This morning I opened the lid outside and it was very active and we thought it might be ready to fly off. Having checked throughout the day, it’s now 4.40pm it still hasn’t gone anywhere but moving in the open container.

    I’m not sure what else to do, if you could offer any advice I’d greatly appreciate it?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Nyiesha

    1. Hmm, that is strange, I’d have expected a honey bee to fly off by now, especially having drank the sugar water you gave it. Can you see anything that might prevent it from flying, physically speaking? Was it a sunny day today, or cool and rainy? I realize it’s getting late there now, but my thought would be to place your bee in full sun tomorrow morning (assuming you have a sunny day), after once again offering sugar water beforehand. There should be no reason that your honey bee would not fly off in those conditions, unless there’s something else that’s ailing it, such as physical damage or internal issues.

      I wouldn’t give up hope yet, especially as you indicate your bee is quite active. One other thing you could try, especially if it’s still cool tomorrow, is to warm your bee up first thing in the morning indoors (as well as offering sugar water). So long as it’s not rainy (she won’t fly in the rain), that would give her the best chance of flying back to her hive safely.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  88. Last evening around 6:30 pm I found a bumblebee on the sidewalk of the parking garage. It was still alive, but there was no safe or sheltered place to move it to and the rain was coming and it was cold outside. I am in southern Ontario Canada and our spring this year is cold and wet, there are not many flowers out yet and only the woodland flowers are starting to bloom. I decided to bring her home with me. After reading your site I realized she probably is a queen out from her hibernation. I debated whether to keep her in last night because of the cold rains expected today but she got more active and i didn't want her to expend her energy so I put her out in the garden along side the house that does not get as much rain usually as the rain tends to come down on an angle. I had made some sugar water but she never took any. When I put her in the garden she climbed under an exposed plant root and stayed there. I left the sugar water nearby. I checked on her this morning and she was in the same place a little wet so i put some straw and leaves over her and a piece of wood angled over thd area to protect better from the hard rains that had started. I worried about her all day and now that I am home I decided to take her inside again to see if i can get her to take some sugar water. The weekend is still going to be cold and wet with the possibility of snow flurries. I don't know what to do, she move more when i first brought her in but is quiet now out in our garage. it s connected to the house but not heated so a little cooler out there. We just had a news story how the bumble bee in Ontario is on the verge of extinction s i really want to save this girl.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Donna Johnston

    1. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things so far. Do you have any dandelions out, by chance? I was thinking that you could place a dandelion near here, first dropping some sugar water on it to “boost” its remaining nectar, and that might fool her into taking a little sugar water for energy.

      If the weather is unseasonably cold and wet (with snow flurries), I wouldn’t expect her to go anywhere anytime soon. Since she won’t be expending much energy, she won’t need much food, but it’s still important that she not starve of course. Sometimes a drop of sugar water (just a small drop) right below their heads can help, since they smell the sugary substance.

      I’d either establish her somewhere sheltered outdoors, or keep her in your garage in a ventilated box with things of interest (anything natural, really), and a tiny little bit of sugar water nearby (not enough for her to accidentally fall in). Though I’d also be cautious about ants and possibly rodents being attracted to the sugar water, so if you can place her somewhere where that’s unlikely, that would be ideal.

      Basically the idea is just to shelter her from the weather and from predators while she’s still moving so slowly and unable to fly. She’ll need more favorable conditions (warmer weather, a bit of sun, a lack of rain) before she’s in a position to go about founding her bumble bee colony for the year.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you. She is more active inside so now i am worried she is using more energy than she has. Dandelions are not out yet. What if i go to the garden center for some flowers? What would be the best to buy, tulips? pansies? daffodils? We have rabbits and mice outside so I am concerned to put her back in the garden.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Donna Johnston

        1. Be careful with plants from the garden center, because they’re often laced with pesticides in greater amounts than usual. Not always, but too often. Though if you have a nursery that sells organic flowering plants, that would be alright; I would just ask them which are the best bee plants, because they’ll know which ones for your area. Tulips and daffodils (and other “showy” flowers) aren’t very good bee plants, because they’re bred mostly for us rather than pollinators, and often have very few floral resources nectar/pollen-wise.

          Also honestly, she should be able to take sugar water from a small dish like a bottle cap or similar size (though the smaller the container, the better, in terms of her not accidentally falling in it and getting sticky). If I were you, I’d continue to keep her in a cool location (like your garage) in an enclosure (a shoebox with holes for ventilation that aren’t too large for her to crawl through), with some natural twigs/leaves/etc. so that it’s not a bare box.

          I’d continue offering her sugar water, though I might take it away at night and then keep an eye on her during the day off and on when she has the sugar water available in her enclosure. I have heard from a reliable bee person that it may (no guarantee here) make it more likely for her to extend her long tongue ready to drink, if you stroke her thorax (the middle part of her body, in between her wings). I have not tried this myself, and I always hesitate to recommend it as bees are so much more delicate than us, but I thought it would be remiss of me not to say that I have heard from a trustworthy source that this can work on occasion, if you’re truly worried she’s active but not getting enough food to replace her energy.

          As soon as it gets slightly warmer (without rain/snow), and ideally on a sunny day (even if it’s still cool, say around 10C or 50F), I’d try placing her outdoors with her container open, ideally after managing to get some sugar water into her. If you find you’re unable to get her to drink, then on that first warmer day, I’d place her directly on a flowering plant if you can find one. If she’s a very large fuzzy bumble bee, and thus a queen as you think she is (which is likely), it will not harm her to release her further from where you found her (since if she just emerged from hibernation, she will not yet have started a new colony).

          So you could drive her somewhere to some flowering plants, and try placing her directly on a flower in the sun, which would give her the best chance of survival if she hasn’t taken any sugar water before then. Dandelions are excellent because their nectar and pollen are so accessible; if not dandelions, then I’d try to locate flowers in your area that you’ve seen bees visiting before, or where you see bees active, and place her either on or as near as possible to these.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  89. I found a queen bee in a terrible state this morning. Wet , bedraggled in the muddy grass and half of one antenna missing , I thought it was about to die . I picked it up and put it on my hand where it stayed for the whole of my 45 minute walk. Took it home, put in shoe box, made sugar water and still expected the bee to die. However 6 hours later with the sun popping out, put out shoebox and after about half an hour she flew off. Not sure how long a bee can survive with one of its antennas half gone. Anyone know?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tracey

    1. I’m so happy to hear that your bee responded so well to your help, and that you felt comfortable picking your bee up to warm her and take her back with you :) They can indeed survive just fine with half of one of their antennae missing (I’ve seen it before). While I’m sure life as a bee is better with a full set of antennae, she should still live a good bee life thanks to you!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  90. Update on our bee: she had some sugar water this morning, sat in the sun outside in her box and has flown off! :) and there are dandelions open this morning! Thank you for helping us save a bee!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kate

    1. I am so happy to hear your bee flew off happily after you helped her, that’s so wonderful to hear! I am happy too that you learned a bit from reading through these comments; I’ve been astonished that so many people have reached out to me, and it’s so heartwarming to speak with folks who care about helping bees in need. I think every bee life saved is important :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you, Elise, for your reply and for sharing your information!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to kjlamoureux

        1. You're welcome :)

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  91. Hello Elise, so glad I found your page. My son and I found a very lethargic bee on a daffodil during our walk after dinner. We are in SE CT and our daffodils are starting to bloom in earnest. I believe she’s a queen, as she looks almost exactly like the middle queen bee photo. It was around 50F but was feeling cool with the sun setting so we brought her inside and tried to give her some sugar water. She seemed confused, and I did not see her tongue, but she stepped in the water and then groomed her leg so perhaps she got some. She seemed a bit more lively so we tried putting her back outside on the daffodils, and she had nectar from one flower (we saw her tongue that time!), but when we returned a bit later she hadn’t moved far and seemed quite lethargic again. Forecast was calling for showers tonight, so we brought her inside and put her in a box with some leaves and a daffodil bloom (I did read that you don’t advise that for overnight but she seemed happy with her daffodil, I thought it might help her feel more comfortable - I did also put a small shallow lid with sugar water in a corner of the box). Sadly we don’t have any dandelions blooming yet but we will try taking her outside and get her more daffodils once it warms up tomorrow. I read down a ways in the comments and have learned quite a bit!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kate

  92. I hang all my laundry outside and recently heard that bees do not like laundry detergent. I do not own a dryer. Is there a bee-friendly laundry detergent I can use?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Gabriele Finn

    1. I have not heard that about bees particularly. I think dryer sheets are likely to be the most problematic for bees, but if you happen to hang scented laundry up, that might be a slight issue. I think bees would likely just avoid it though, rather than it being detrimental in any significant way (such as having an impact on their foraging).

      I’d recommend looking up homemade laundry soaps, which are better for the environment, and typically far less scented (depending on your choices). I happen to make my own laundry detergent out of borax, baking soda, and handmade soap; so long as you use soaps that are unscented or lightly scented (ideally with natural oils), I’d say it’s better all around for the environment.

      Bees of all kinds rely on their sense of smell in order to find flowers, and it has been shown that exhaust and pollution interfere with their sense of smell and make it far harder for them to find flowers, especially flowers slightly further afield than their immediate area.

      For those with dryers, I would recommend unscented dryer sheets, or better yet, you can buy “wool dryer balls” that go in your dryer instead of dryer sheets. When dryers push scented air out into the environment it can go a surprising distance, and hang in the air for quite a long time. Considering that bees are even more sensitive to scents than we are, and depend a great deal on their sense of smell in order to locate good food sources, I think that the more people who avoid using scented dryer sheets, the better.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  93. Hello -- I live in Phoenix AZ and the last couple of days rescued about 5 bees in the pool. After getting them out and setting them in a safe location, I've noticed about 10-15 bees show up acting aggressive. Did pulling them out somehow trigger an alarm pheromones? Wonder since they were fighting for life swimming, that pulling them out somehow released the pheromones.

    I want to help them, but if I risk a swarm attack in the process, Ill have to revaluate.

    Also, I'm pretty sure they are African based on size, color and aggressive.

    Thanks for any insight here!

    Joe

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Joe Deromanis

    1. I do not think it’s likely that pulling bees out of a pool of the water would cause other aggressive bees to show up in response. I have not had any personal experience with the Africanized honey bees though, and I think in Arizona you may have some. I did watch a documentary that indicated they’ll fly for a mile or so to pursue you in order to let you know to keep away from their hives. However, they’re also important bees I think, with stronger immune systems than European honey bees, and our domestic honey bees need infusions of fresh genetic material in order to combat the many challenges they face. So if you’re not too averse to helping them, I’d pull them out of the pool and then simply stay out of the way for awhile afterwards.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  94. I just wanted to thank you for posting this. It helped me save a bumble bee last night.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Caryn Downing

    1. Wonderful news, I'm so happy to hear I could help!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  95. We have had a bumblebee in out garden for the last 6 or 7 days. It has been sat on the same flowers barely moving. This morning the bee was on the floor so we gave it some sugar water and it did perk up for a while (walking around a bit etc) but it couldn't fly more than a inch off the ground and only for a couple of seconds. I carefully placed it on a dandelion in the sun and 7 hours later it has barely moved. I've moved it inside into a container (as my dog was trying to eat it) with some soil and leaves and have been feeding it sugar water. Is there anything else I can do for the poor thing? I can't see any obvious reason why it can't fly. Thank you

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Adele

    1. I cannot see a reason why your bee would not respond to sugar-water, warmth, and flowers and still be unable to fly, so I can only imagine that there was something else wrong internally with the bee, if there was no obvious damage to its wings. I am sorry not to have any more advice for you, but they do suffer from other problems (parasites, illnesses, and such) which affect their behavior like this, and for which there is nothing to do other than to make them comfortable for their time left (keeping them safe from predators and feeding them).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  96. Last night I found a honey bee that wasn’t moving and had flown indoors somehow. I gave it sugared water and it drank but after trying to put it outside (as I know honey bees are supposed to go back) but it defiantly did want to inside, probably because of the warmth. So, I kept it in a shoe box, with air holes, leaves and sugared water and left it open in case it wanted to go out. In the morning it had come out and had moved and flown out. I tried to take it outside but I kept flying around. Finally, got to outside on a flower, got pollen on it but stopped moving although it is alive. Fed it some more sugared water and it drank it but still isn’t moving. What should I do ?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ann

    1. I’m sorry I was unable to get back to you sooner. It also sounds as though you did everything you could for your bee. I would think it would just be a matter of time after that. I would have continued to observe her, but sometimes they just take some time (I’ve known it take an hour or two) to fully recover, warming up and reorienting themselves outdoors.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  97. I’ve just found a bee and have it some auger water and brought it inside, he keeps walking around and trying to fly but every time I put him outside he doesn’t get very far! What should I do i want too save him.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amelia

    1. If sugar-water and warmth doesn’t help, then there may be something else you can’t see that might be wrong with your bee… but it might simply be that your bee is out of energy too. Did you see your bee’s tongue come out to drink some sugar-water? Is it staggering, or falling over when it walks? When it tries to fly, does it come down with a bit of a crash, never attaining much height (and how far does it go)? And do you know if your bee is a bumble bee (particularly fluffy and large)?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Yes he was drinking it his tonge was out and he kept cleaning his tongue too, he did come crashing down and flying in circles, he’s definitely a honey bee, ive got him back inside now in a shoe box, ive put holes in the shoe box and leaves and found some dandelions and put it in the box with suger water, is there anything else I can do? He’s much more active now

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Amelia

        1. It might just be a matter of time. Dandelions are a good idea! If it’s a honey bee, it’ll definitely want to get back to its hive before evening. Feeding your bee and warming it up should give it the energy it needs to fly off, assuming there’s nothing else (something internal, for example) that’s wrong with you bee.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Should I not keep it over night? As it’s 9 at night here now and it’s pretty dark?

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Amelia

            1. Sorry I should have checked with you about what time of day it is where you are. Yes, if it’s late and dark, your bee is likely better off with you. It’s just that honey bees like to get back to their hives if they can, but it should be fine kept overnight. Just keep your bee somewhere cool, as if your bee is gaining more energy and feeling better, it might try to escape and hurt its wings in the process. How is your bee acting now, more normally?

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

              1. He looks like he’s sleeping but he’s still alive, he’s got lots of pollen on his legs from the dandelion, but he’s just sat on a leaf.

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Amelia

                1. That sounds good then, just put the ventilated box somewhere cool for the night (but not too cool, since honey bees are used to begin warm together). The idea of being somewhere cool is just to slow your bee down so it comes to no harm while you’re asleep. In the morning, hopefully you’ll have a warmer day, and you can put your bee’s box open in the sunshine. If there’s no sun, then place your bee’s box in a nice warm room indoors in the morning. And before releasing your bee, offer more sugar-water in the morning too, so your bee has plenty of energy for the day ahead. Don’t be surprised if it takes a few hours to “wake up”, especially if it’s a cool morning.

                  Reply

                  Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

                  1. Thankyou so much I will let you know how it goes tomorrow

                    Reply

                    Leave a Reply to Amelia

  98. Hi, I found a very dozy bee last night in my house, I have followed the above advice as the weather wasn’t very nice so put her in a box, gave her a little sugary water to sip on but this morning she seems soaking wet. I think she may have got herself covered in the sugary water and is now too sticky and wet to fly. She hasn’t buzzed or tried to fly yet but it’s still early in the morning, is there anything more I can do for her? The sun isn’t out and it’s quite chilly too. Thanks, Emily.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Emily

    1. I am in Oregon, so I apologize for my late reply. My answer may therefore come a bit too late, but if you think she’s absolutely doused in sugar-water, you might try drizzling a little slightly-warmer-than-room-temperature water on her to wash her off. You’d then end up with a wet bee, but at least not a sticky bee. Though bees are pretty good at cleaning themselves off too if they get sticky, but they do need to be active and warmed up to do that. As to her not buzzing or trying to fly yet, bees get going surprisingly slowly each morning, so it’s likely just a lack of warmth and sunlight causing her to seem so inactive.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  99. I found a smallish bee on its back struggling and waving its feet around. I picked it up but it doesn't seem able to hold onto anything or stand right-side-up. It looks like it has its tongue sticking out so I tried to give it sugar water but I couldn't determine if it was able to drink any or not. It's still struggling and can't stand on its own. It was dry when I found it but might have gotten a bit of sugar water on it when I put it on the plate to try and feed it. I moved it onto a napkin to try and help it dry it off some. It's in an open jar on my desk at work so I can keep an eye on it. Is there anything I can do? I love bees and hate to see one struggle like this.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to DJ

    1. If its tongue is out, it likely needs more sugar water still. I wouldn’t worry if it ended up with a little sugar water on itself, as once it has a bit of energy, it should be able to clean itself off. However, it is concerning that your bee is struggling even to stand. What time of day is it where you are? Is there any sun with which to try to warm your bee outdoors by some flowers?

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. It's the afternoon. It's cloudy out but I can put it by some daffodils outside. It's 62F out currently, is that warm enough? I just tried giving it more water, it had stopped moving a lot but when I picked it up to try and feed it it did move a little so it's still alive. I have a meeting but will check on it again when I get out and try some more sugar water

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to DJ

        1. See how your bee looks after your meeting. I’d try your bee with more sugar water and also see if warming it up a bit helps. Are there any dandelions flowering nearby, by chance? They’re easier to put a bee on, and their pollen and nectar is far more readily accessible than daffodils. And yes, 62F is definitely warm enough for your bee. Assuming there’s nothing else wrong with your bee that we can’t see, a little more sugar water (and perhaps warming your bee with your breath a bit once it’s on a flower) should do the trick.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  100. I have found a large bee in my garden which seems in distress. It has a small bee attached to its leg. I have brought them indoors as very cold outside, and given the large bee some sugared water, which seems to have revived it. However, not sure why the small bee is attached, and seems to be dead? Can you please advise?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Garry Peat

    1. For anyone else who reads this thread, we decided on a plan of action over email, and the good news is that the queen bee was freed from the dead worker bee clamped to her (a highly unusual situation, but one that would have cost her life had she not had Garry's kind help at just the time she needed it).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  101. Only recently have I started saving bees. This happened a few weeks ago. We opened our pool early, and the wasps have been terrfible since we got our pool. I will kill them in a heartbeat. Even before I never really thought about killing a bee anyway, I had killed about 15 wasps with a afly swater, then this bee went to attack a wasp and the wasp hid behind the cracks of the deck, then started to emerge and there was the bee trying to get a hold of it. Then this bee suspends itself in my face, like only 12 inches from my eyes as if to stare at me. i looked it in the eyes, and she flew off. Two weeks ago I emptied our pool basket when I saw something move in the grass. It was a bee to weak to do anything, without thinkig I picked her up with my finger and put her on a plant. Still nothing she was too starved and cold. I looked this sight up and made room temperature sugar water, and honey water. She was moving a little bit, but the next day she had fell to the ground, not moving till I petted her. I brought her back in and fed her again only to realize I had made her wings and body sticky from trying to nurse her. This was my first time, I put a little bit of Dawn dishwashing liguid in some warm water and i let her fall into it, the bee went crazy when after only one second in the water. I thought ok she is going to sting me now. The second I made it outside, she was gone. I would like to think that's the one that looked me in the eye. Found one yesterday in the same condition, this time I was sparing with the sugarwater. I just stucke a straw in it and let her lick only one drop, I watched her eat that drop and she tried to climb on the straw but i pulled it back and gave her one more drop, she fell in the dirt of that plant and started buzzing, I put my finger on her stinger (bottom), her front legs grabbed that top of the plant and she flew away, I will never harm a bee ever even if one stings me, they mean to much to us, and it hurts me everyday when I get home and I dump out 2 or 3 that didn't make it. People that need to read this never will. They just want to exterminate. I'm the one that shouldn't care because I am gay and 56. But I do because God put this creature on this Earth to feed us. Some people have children and should be thinking of their great great great grand children and will they die because we were scared of the bees. Sorry this was too long!

    Keith Tackett

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Keith Tackett

    1. That's wonderful that you are saving bees from your pool! I'm surprised about the Dove, but so long as it's just a quick dunk, I imagine it might be quite effective for unsticking a very sticky bee. Typically if they're just a little sticky, they can get a quick energy boost while they clean themselves up. In some cases, dropping slightly warm water over them helps wash them off too.

      You are right that many people who'd benefit from reading this never will. But I'm thankful that it does reach a surprising number of people searching for ways to help struggling bees they find. I hope it helps build connections between people and the individual bees they meet, as well as helping save the lives of quite a few bees in the process.

      In the end, I feel each bee matters. And yes, our world (and that of generations to come) depends on them. Bees are keystone species, supporting many other pieces of the interconnected ecosystem that forms the web of life on this planet. Humans are a highly adaptive species, but to the extent we might adapt to a world without bees, it would be a highly impoverished world, both in its colorful flowering beauty, its ability to support such a wide range of life on earth, and in terms of the food we eat.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Yep the dove was a mistake we had warm soapy dishwater (fairly clean) it was crawling all over me and doing her stinger as with a rhythm, then she accidentally fell off my arm into the water and immediatly took a quick bath, i grabbed her as sson as she started perking up, i let her fall one more time for a second in the water, she was so frisky that I was scared she was scared and would start to defend herself. But as soon as I started to put her on a flower she flew right off. I never knew these creatures were so gentle. If you arrive on this situation and try it console people on it, the secon one I saved I only gave it a drop or too, people need to know that you can't get their wings sticky.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Keith Tackett

  102. I just found a bee on the street an hour ago and I took her in, gave her some sugar water which she refuses to drink so I let her be. I thought she might be cold which I think was the case because now she is moving around a bit. Before she was not moving at all. I don't think I should let her out yet because she seems weak and it's night time plus it's cold outside (9pm) My mom though is very angry with me and tells me she won't survive if I let her stay the night.

    As I type she is cleaning herself (because she got some sugar water on herself). Ok now she's back to not moving at all. I don't know, she is just weird.

    What should I do? Please help ASAP

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Hanna

    1. A spot od Dawn dishwashing liquid, she may have gotten sticky, her wings have to be dry and not sticky! trust me I went through this with my bee, you're a great person for doing this, I am gay and married to a guy that gets pissed and me for saving them. If people keep exterminating these creatures their offspring will die, we won't be alive to know how many generations. We have a are kindred spirit that would only do this. Read my experience it explains it all. Keith Tackett

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Keith Tackett

    2. I wrote that last reply in rather a hurry, so now I’ll explain a bit more. If she’s large and fuzzy, she’s a bumble bee (most likely), and those are particularly alright to keep overnight without any harm. Honey bees, on the other hand, do want to make it back to their hives at night if at all possible, though they too can survive somewhere else overnight. But I’ve known folks to keep bumble bees for several days during times of severely inclement weather, and it simply keeps a stranded bee safe. Since it’s evening, I’d keep your bee relatively cool to mimic cooler night time temperatures. In the morning, try warming up your bee in a warm room, in direct sunlight, or even gently with your breath (they like the warmth of our hands/arms too, but not everyone—nor every bee!—is comfortable with that, so try other ways to warm her first).

      If she’s not drinking sugar-water, that’s fine. In fact, cleaning some off of herself will give her some energy anyway! In the morning, after you warm her up, try putting a drop of sugar-water near her again. It may well be that simply warmth will do the trick and get her buzzing on her way in the morning. If at all possible, release her once the day has warmed up a bit, rather than first thing. If you can warm her up and let her out mid-morning, she’ll have her best chances of making it where she’d been planning to go before she was stranded on the street without any energy left. If she still doesn’t want any sugar water, then find some flowers to put her on in the morning, ideally in direct sunlight. It’s kind of astonishing to think about, but bumble bees are only ever about 40 minutes away from starvation, according to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hey Elise! Thank you so much for your reply. Yes it's a bumble bee, sorry about not saying that earlier.

        I'm relieved now, I'll let her stay the night :) Should I keep her in my room (where it's warmer) or put her in the kitchen? Problem is my sister has cats and they have access to every room except for mine. Also should I let her out tomorrow? It's gonna be around 8 degrees for the rest of the week. Is this too cold? :(

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Hanna

        1. Possibly your room, from the sounds of it, assuming it’s not too warm (is there a coolish spot, near a window)? The reason to keep her coolish (besides mimicking the outdoor temperatures) is that way she doesn’t get all “buzzed up” as it were and damage her wings in an attempt to escape her enclosure when it’s not actually a good time of day outdoors to be flying. Your bee doesn’t sound as though she’s wanting to go anywhere fast right now though, so she should be fine in your room.

          And yes, I’d let her out later in the morning (mid-morning-ish), after it’s warmed up for an hour or two, near where you found her, and in direct sunlight on some flowers (that other bumble bees are on, ideally). Try her with sugar-water again too first. 8 degrees is definitely on the colder side (closer to 10 would be better), but it should be good enough for a bumble bee, since they can generate their own heat too (by decoupling their wings from their wing muscles and ‘shivering’ themselves warm).

          If possible, keep an eye on her in the morning after you put her outdoors. Bees can take a few hours to warm up enough to really get going too, I’ve watched it happen before… they just soak up the sun and clean themselves, and if they’re on a flower have a few sips of nectar, while waiting to warm up enough to be able to fly well and begin their day.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Thanks a lot for your help! I'll keep her near the window then and release her late morning. She was sipping some sugar water actually a few minutes ago :) She also got more active. That makes me happy! I'll keep you updated on how it goes with Beeny.

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Hanna

            1. So she doesn't fly away...It's 7 degrees out today a bit too cold. She is also not moving much. Her booty is throbing though. Why does she do that? To keep herself warm? Also are her wings sticky from the sugar water is that why she won't fly? Can't she clean it off?

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Hanna

              1. Sorry for my late reply, I’m in another time zone (US west coast).

                She pulses her abdomen in order to circulate air and warm herself (she breathes through little openings for air called spiracles, located along her abdomen).

                I’m not surprised she’s not moving much. It will take warmth and energy to get her moving. That’s too bad about your temperatures. If it’s sunny out at all, you might still try her outdoors in the direct sun and see how she responds.

                Otherwise you may end up with a bee friend for a few more days, while you both await better weather!

                Without seeing her it’s hard to say about the sugar water, but they’re pretty good at cleaning themselves off. Bumble bees (especially if you have a large queen there) are heavy, and they’ll walk about at cooler temperatures rather than even trying to fly. So just because you don’t see her wings opening, doesn’t mean they’re not in good shape for flying. Similarly, just because she’s lethargic doesn’t mean she’s not doing well; she’s just cold, and probably a bit confused… they like to be warm in the day!

                Observing her should tell you about the condition of her wings in the end, because you’ll see them move at some point. If you believe they’re stuck together, dropping a small amount of slightly warmer than room temperature water will dissolve the sugars without any harm to your bee. But then you’ll have a wet bee, and it’s harder to warm up a wet bee, so I’d not do this unless you think there’s a real problem.

                What I would do is try releasing her when it’s sunny again, but it’ll take her a couple of hours to warm up in all likelihood, enough to be on her way. And if it’s too cold, she won’t go, and you may simply end up bringing her back in for another night to keep her safe. Try her with very small drops of sugar-water, or try bringing her a few flowers and add a drop of extra sugar water in their centers for her to find.

                If she’s a very large bumble bee (a queen), then helping her out will help a large number of future bees (several hundred)! Ideally she’ll bee on her way soon, and if you warm her up and manage to get a bit of sugar-water into her she may well be on her way once it’s warmer (or once the sun comes out, even if it’s still cold). I’ve seen bumble bees out at 7C, but they don’t fly as easily at low temperatures, so they often simply crawl from flower to flower (I find them sleeping inside flowers that close up at night here, like crocuses).

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

    3. Is she large and fuzzy? If so, there’s no harm to keeping her in, and possibly some help, because a weakened bee won’t be able to get back to where it needs to bee easily if it’s cold and late in the day. Keeping her in keeps her safe from predators, and there’s no reason at all that she shouldn’t survive if she’s in an enclosure with small holes for ventilation overnight, as described above. If she didn’t survive, it would mean there was something else wrong with her, and that she would have died outdoors anyway. I’ll send this now and then follow up with some more advice about sugar water.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  103. We found a bee yesterday 1730 very wet and cold. Have tried sugar and water and he spent the night under a shelter. Still lethargic today and still doesn't drink the sugar water, we think he probably flew into window and knocked himself out and maybe hurt quite badly. It's warmer today with less rain but he doesn't move much can we do anything else! Where we are we have bad Asian hornet prob so want to try and save him and the hive.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Fiona

    1. Bees can appear very lethargic for a time, while still experiencing a complete recovery. I’ve seen them take surprisingly hard knocks from windows and still be alright (even though they have exoskeletons, they can still heal). Do you know what type of bee you have (large and fuzzy like a bumble bee, or small and stripe-y like a honey bee, or something else)?

      I would keep trying the sugar water in the form of small droplets right below the bee’s head. Assuming the weather is half decent to where your bee could go out if it was feeling better, I’d also try warming your bee up in a warm room, or even with your breath gently, if you feel comfortable doing that. Sometimes they like to crawl on people’s hands for warmth too, but I don’t advise that unless you’re completely comfortable doing so… and the bee has to be comfortable too, rather than feel it’s a threat in any way, so it’s always wise to proceed slowly and look for signals from the bee (the most obvious signal is a middle leg, or two middle legs, raised by a bumble bee, which means they feel you’re too close). But if you can just get your bee warm and energized, it should be all set for flying.

      I think while your bee is very lethargic though, especially with predators about, it’s wise to keep a close eye on it and continue to shelter it. With warmth and, ideally, energy from the sugar-water, your bee should recover, which you’ll know once it starts to return to its fast-moving, buzzy self. One thought is to put a flower or two (ideally ones you’ve seen other similar bees on) inside your bee’s enclosure. Perhaps try a few drops of sugar water near the center of the flower as a “top-up”, in the hopes of helping the bee discover the food source.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  104. So we found a wet bee yesterday arvo, gave it sugar water but this morning it was still on the patio, bought her in in a box this morning but she looked like she wanted to escape, now just sitting on the patio again. I feel she may die, what can we do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Abby

    1. My first thought is to warm her up, but it’s getting late into the evening there, so this would be something to try tomorrow morning. I’d try her again with sugar-water in the morning, then warm her either by placing her in the sun, bringing her indoors in a box into a warm room temporarily, or by gently blowing warm air on her where she is with your breath for a few minutes (if she holds a middle leg up, it means she feels you’re too close; two middle legs, even more so).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  105. I'm happy to have found your website for advices :-) Just now I saved one bee worker. It took less than an hour to recover and then flew back to the flowers.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to David

    1. That's excellent!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  106. So pleased I found your site...I found a queen bee a couple of days ago, that I felt sure was on the way out, tried giving her sugar water, but still she looked awful, soaking wet and barely moving. Found your page and took your advice about bringing her inside and putting her in a shoebox...she had an amazing recovery and a couple of hours later, she’d got out of the box through a big hole I hadn’t noticed...was buzzing around the room and flew off...thank you for your advice!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Alison

    1. I'm so happy to hear that!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  107. I have found what I think is a buff tailed bumblebee 2 days ago crawling on the floor I decided to do some research and help her get back to health as she could not fly. I have warmed her up and fed her sugar and water solution which she has been licking up nicely. It’s not day 3 and she isn’t showing any signs of flying she buzzed her wings but can not get off the ground and was wondering why this is happening she is very lively in every other way.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kealy

    1. It might simply be a matter of spending some time in direct sunlight (on your next warm day) to get her buzzing properly again. Bees take a surprising amount of time to warm up, but warm direct sunlight is one of the best ways to do so. Otherwise, they may appear lively in other ways, but simply not have sufficient warmth and energy to get off the ground (which takes a fair bit of effort for a bumble bee)!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  108. I found a huge fuzzy bee floating on its back in a water bowl yesterday, so scooped it out and followed your advice, put it in a box with some sugar water and put it inside till it was dry and wings weren't saturated - released in garden, seemed much more energetic and happy

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Cathy

    1. That's wonderful to hear!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  109. Hello, I watched a bumblebee fly slow & low into my pool (faceplant!) I plucked her out & shes been sluggish, but perked up when I had her inside near my (not hot) furnace... She started crawling around... I don't live at this house & don't want to leave her ourdoors with the snow/rain coming over the next 24 hours... I'm on the north shore in MA & was wondering whether I would be detrimental to take her with me about 20 miles west where I can watch her & keep her warm... does she need to stay in her original vicinity?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Erika

    1. I’m sorry to be replying so late, I’ve been far too busy, but I think your email was fairly time sensitive. Still, here are my thoughts:

      For the most part, I’d advise never moving bees far from where you originally find them. If she’s an early bumble bee queen, it might be fine to move her though (assuming she hasn’t yet started her colony this year, but there’s no way of knowing for sure if that’s the case or not). But 20 miles is too far for bees, generally speaking, if they hope to get back somewhere. As an alternative, you could take her with you and then, a day or two later, drive back to this spot where you found her and release her?

      On the flip side, I’ve definitely read that honey bees and bumble bees can join other, different colonies if they’re moved, especially if they land at the colony entrance bearing nectar or pollen :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  110. I'm currently trying to revive a Red-tailed bee (not sure if it's a Queen or worker) but the bee crawled into the sugar water I placed out for it and now I'm concerned the sugar water has dried on the bee and is causing the bee problems in trying to recover as its fur on the top of its back looks matted. It's not moving much and I've sheltered it indoors overnight and today is still not moving much at all. It no longer seems to want to feed on sugary water either. Do you have any advice on what I should do going forward? I hate to think I'm prolonging any pain it might be in.

    Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to James

    1. Even if a bee isn’t moving much, it’s not necessarily a sign of anything other than being cold and/or tired. Also, bees are pretty good at cleaning themselves off. In unusual cases, where they really appear to have something sticky on them that’s making their life difficult, you might try dropping room temperature droplets of water on them gently, to help dissolve any residue.

      If you do get them wet, you’ll want to dry them (by warming them up well) before releasing them. Ideally your bee will simply clean herself off though, once she’s warmer with a bit more energy.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  111. I rescued a bumblebee that fell in my pool. I’ve been giving sugar water and it seemed to work yesterday. I monitored the bee closely all day, but I think there’s something wrong with her wings. They move quickly, but she’s not flying. I fully expected her to pass over night, but surprising she was there again this morning. I fed her again today and found some dandelions. I now got a box and she’s coming inside tonight because it’s going to be cold. What else can I try?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amanda

    1. I wouldn’t necessarily conclude there’s something wrong with her wings, just because they’re moving while she’s not flying. It takes quite a bit to warm up a bumble bee, so she may well be moving her wings without taking flight. She may also appear to “tremble” as she warms herself up. To speed up the process, I advise warming her up during the day (especially just prior to release), as well as continuing to offer shelter and sugar-water to tide her over (especially if it’s likely many days before favorable weather conditions occur again).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  112. Thanks to your site I saved a queen bee. She was on my path late at night hardly moving. I found your site and put her in a shoebox and fed her, she stayed the night and happily flew away the next morning thanks to you I could help her xxxxx

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kay

    1. That's wonderful to hear!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  113. Enjoyed the read I have a bee that's been in my garden for 3 days now. It was walking around on the patio I placed it on some flowers in sun light but it's just moving around now and again I check on it every day and through the day I've offered sugar water each day but doesn't seem to take it. Really want the bee to survive.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tom

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your bee isn’t responding to warmth or sugar-water, but it may simply still be a cold bee that will be revived when the weather changes. How’s the weather in your area currently? Sometimes bees can look very slowed down for days at a time, during chilly weather at this time of year (and they don’t need much in the way of food if they’re in a state of torpor from being cold).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  114. Hi I have just found two Queens.. One is red tail bb.. I have given suger water.. But her tongue it stuck out.. She is tryn to get it back in and is dragging it around...

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Muma bee

    1. Hmm, that’s concerning. Has she responded to warming her up in (hopefully you have some) direct sunlight outdoors? I have seen this behavior before, and I believe it’s either a sign that something else is amiss, or a sign the bee is totally exhausted and out of energy. Warmth and sugar water should help if it’s exhaustion and a lack of energy, but it may take a bit of time too for her to recover.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  115. Hello,brought a bee in last night from the pavement (it had been there a couple of days in temperatures of 7-11 degrees C.

    Put in in shoe box on kitchen roll, with a little water/sugar.

    Doesn’t seem to be responding.

    Moved on its back and seems to be panting heavily.

    Not been on it’s front much and never opened its wings.

    Any ideas on what do do please?

    Thanks

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Honky

    1. There are times when bees can really look quite poorly off, and yet still recover with time, warmth, and sugar-water. The main things you can do to help an individual bee would be offering sugar-water, sheltering your bee overnight, and warming your bee up prior to releasing them on your warmest upcoming day.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  116. Hi. I have a sickly bee. Found on its back and looking rough. Have tried to give sugar water but it doesn't extend its proboscis. I've brought it inside in the conservatory. It's moving its legs and rolling about but stays curled up slightly. Any suggestions please. I can't tell which bee it is as it's colours are quite a lot darker than the images you show.

    Thanks. Gwen

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Mrs Gwendolen Spencer

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your bee, that doesn’t sound like promising behavior :( Internal parasites affect some bees’ behavior before they die (as does acute pesticide exposure).

      If it’s an unusually large and fuzzy bee, then it’s likely a bumble bee queen (common to see at this time of year, emerging from hibernation).

      If your bee is simply cold and out of energy, warmth and sugar-water should do the trick. If she’s not showing signs of drinking (even when placing a small droplet of sugar-water right beneath her head), it’d be good to know how direct sunlight (or how warming her up) affects her (if it’s still daytime there). If it’s already evening, I’d leave her in the conservatory and check on her in the morning to see how she’s behaving.

      There may be nothing you can do though, that does happen sometimes, depending on the reasons the bee is struggling. I don’t like the sound of rolling and curling, that’s unusual.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  117. Hello, I have a bubble bee worker who was unfortunately caught by my cat, I managed to save it before any damage done I think. I've had the bumble for 3 days now, it has a little clear ventilated box with natural bits in like grass, leaves and bark. It roots under a piece of bark every night and takes sugar water from a flower that I feed it, there is also a little lid with extra sugar water in the box. There has been no sun and it's been col every day and bee is showing no sign of wanting to go anywhere, ice tried a couple of times to let it go, but it won't have any if it, we had partial sun one day and it was getting all excited and strutting about, but no buzzing and no wind movement going on. I can't see any damage to it's wings, it moves them fine to clean them etc. Is this bee just sitting it out until nicer weather do you think? I've not seen any other workers about, just the odd large queen. This bee sits on me to warm up a couple of times a day and likes to sleep in my hand when it is snoozing, snuggles into my fingers. So worried it can't fly, but hoping it's just because it's too chilly? It drops off things rather than buzzing or flying. Any advice? We don't have many flowers in our garden at the moment, we are moving and it's very sparce and obviously time of year, but I do find the bee dandelions and I have some rosemary flowers too which it seems to like.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Sophie Holden

    1. I don’t think you have to worry yet about your bee, from what you’ve said. I would imagine she’s simply waiting out the cold weather somewhere comfortable (that being your enclosure, complete with sugar-water). I do see them “bumble” about this early on in the year… not even flying from flower to flower, but simply walking and often times falling off when a petal gives way. I would imagine that, given a warm day and full sun, your bee will once again fly, and be happy at that time to be set free and make her way back to her colony. That’s adorable, that she warms up on your hand… they love our warmth :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  118. I found a bumble bee upside down late last night in my washing up bowl inside the house, no idea how he got there? After a sad, “oh no” I scooped him out and left him just there. I got up this morning and went to put him in the bin and he’s alive. Moving very slightly. I’ve tried sugar water. He now sat on a piece of kitchen roll in my lounge near the fire. I’m running out of ideas. I desperately want him to pull through.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Bonneygirl

    1. I would keep warming your bee up and offering sugar-water. If it’s at all warm today, try putting your bee in direct sunlight. Some times it just takes time to recover, depending on how long they struggled especially. I hope your bee pulls through!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi Elise and thank you for your reply.unfortunately I had to leave for a meeting and left her out with some sugar water. I found her upside down and quite dead when I arrive home 3 hours later. I’m very sad. I know you can’t help them all. But it’s still affected me all the same. Wish I’d noticed some signs of life last night now. Could of kept her warm.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Bonneygirl

  119. I have just been outside and found a large bumble bee on my patio. It's really struggling and the wind is really harsh. I put the bee in a really sheltered spot in the garden, gave it some sugar water and then read up on what else to do. I ventilated a shoe box, put some grass in it and went back to the bee but they had flown away. The sugar water had done the trick

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to karen payne

    1. That's wonderful to hear!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  120. I found a bumblebee sitting on the pavement last night in the rain. She's been quite loud, on and off, in her box with her sugar water, so I think she's ok, but I'm not sure whether to release her yet. The forecast says it's warm enough, with only intermittent rain expected, but 40mph wind all week! Will the wind make things too difficult out there for her, or is it still better than staying in a shoebox for days?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Zeph

    1. Usually bees can handle windy conditions, but 40mph is intense. 20mph is hard on a bee, and honey bees (to take an example I know of) don’t usually forage when winds are above 12mph or so.

      With winds like that, I’d keep your bee in if possible, placing her box in as cool a location as possible (which will slow her down). But I’d take my cues from her to some extent too; if she is buzzing around her box a lot, that’s a concern. If it’s warm enough that she thinks she wants to leave, placing her in a sheltered spot outdoors in her open box might be another thing to try. Then I’d just keep a close eye on her right afterwards, in case I could do more to help.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  121. Hi, I have picked up a very tired and cold juvenile queen (I think) bumblebee; she was clinging onto the wire of my rabbit's cage in the wind. She picked up on sugar water, put her back out yesterday morning but she was still in the same place last night so I've brought her back in. Not sure what to do as the weather is going to be so bad this week, it's stormy and wet. I've put her in a pop-up butterfly tent with sugar water and some fresh flowers picked. I can easily give her new flowers and keep her topped on sugar water but I don't know if I should put her back yet outside, even though the weather is so bad, as she has her work to do. Any advice please?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to ctallers

    1. I would take my cues from your bee (and yes, at this time of year, she’s likely to be a young bumble bee queen). She will be fine in a butterfly tent with sugar water and fresh flowers, even for a week if the weather is awful. If she were outdoors, she’d be huddled somewhere trying to wait out the bad weather too. If she shows signs of buzzing around, as though she seems, in your opinion, to want to be let out, then I would do so, but I’d also keep an eye on her in case she didn’t get far. You’re not keeping her from anything other than huddling somewhere outdoors though, awaiting better weather. This is a hard time of year for new bumble bee queens, as the weather is so unpredictable, so having a safe place to shelter is a very good thing.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you Elise, your advice is much appreciated and a bee lifesaver! Should I put her directly on to drink the sugar water/put her on the flowers in the butterfly tent, or will she find her own way? I don't want to move her about if I don't have to. She's currently in the conservatory as I read down that you should keep her relatively coolish as central heating may confuse her and we want to warm her up before release. If she is not moving, does that mean she is hibernating again?

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to ClaireT (@CTallers)

        1. How is your bee now? I am so sorry to be replying so late once again, I hope my message still arrives in time to be helpful. I think she will find her way to the sugar-water, they always seem to do so. Placing bees close to the sugar-water does help, but they’ll explore too, and they’ll know it as soon as they find it. The conservatory should be a perfect place, temperature-wise. If she’s not moving, it’s not hibernation, it’s more likely a period of inactivity brought on by the cool temperatures. She should be moving around a bit from time to time though. I’d place the sugar-water as close as possible to her, and then just keep an eye on her from time to time.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Hi, she seems in no hurry to go anywhere! I tried warming up today in our house as the weather was ok. Her wings didn't open further nor did she do any buzzing around. She seems to just walk a little bit around the butterfly tent. Not witnessed her having any sugar water as yet so a little worried that she may be hungry - don't want to touch or force her though. We'll try again tomorrow if weather is good. Should I put her back in the rabbit hutch where we found her (the rabbit has been moved!) or somewhere else in the garden with flowers? Also, when I do open the butterfly tent, sometimes she buzzes at me, and sometimes she goes down and lifts her legs up at me - defence mode?

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to ctallers

            1. These are all great questions :) I would try her again tomorrow when the weather is good. I’d try placing her near the flowers and in direct sunlight. Perhaps, too, she’s sipping her sugar water while you’re not looking (I do hope so!) If she raises a leg, she’s telling you that you’re a bit too close, and she’s concerned. If she raises two legs, she’s getting really concerned at that point ;) Bumble bee communication, they do it with other bees too, but I’ve seen them do it when I get to close with a camera lens as well!

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

              1. Further update - I have identified him/her as a tree bumblebee, but he/she doesn't seem large enough to be a queen

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to ctallers

                1. It’ll be a “she” at this time of year, but yes. We don’t have tree bumble bees here, but looking at those queens, I think you’d know it if you had one, as they’re much larger than workers.

                  So if it’s a worker, then she ideally needs to find her way back to her colony. What happens when you put her in the warm sun with her enclosure open? Have you tried placing a few drops of sugar-water almost directly under her head, to see if that perhaps gets some energy into her, if that’s the problem?

                  I once heard someone who was fairly experienced with bumble bees in England suggest very gently stroking their thorax (middle section) to stimulate drinking (you should see a long proboscis extend from the bee). I almost never advise this because it’s important to be very gentle, and for all the advice came directly from someone trustworthy, they still weren’t certain if it worked enough to recommend, it just had sometimes for them.

                  Reply

                  Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

                  1. Hi, I think the problem we have is that the weather has just been awful and cold over the past week and the poor little thing hasn't had the opportunity to warm up in direct sunlight outside. She did yesterday with a sunbeam in the house all morning and didn't move. Thankfully she did respond to sugar water last night which I fed her, but she's hardly moved at all now from her position two days ago and is clinging onto the butterfly tent netting. I've checked the weather forecast and it should get to about 12 tomorrow, it's not been above 8 - 9 for days. I think she is confused and disorientated? But I'm also worried if we keep her in any longer she may die. We have three options as I see it 1) keep her in until weather improves and hand feed her sugar water, but that's been over a week now she's been in, 2) pop her back in rabbit hutch, 3) pop her in bird box which we've prepared for her with bed of moss and rabbit hutch material (tree bumblebees nest in bird boxes so may be a goer), 4) pop her onto flowering area. Sorry to keep messaging you and I really appreciate your advice; most insects I have saved before have perked up in a day or so, but this little one doesn't seem to know what to do.

                    Reply

                    Leave a Reply to ctallers

                    1. Hi - I hopefully have some good news! Over the last two days the weather has perked up and she seems a lot more alert. I left her in her butterfly tent this morning outdoors with roof open. It's currently 14 degrees at home. Let's hope she has done what comes naturally to her when I get home and she is better and flown off.

                      Reply

                      Leave a Reply to ClaireT (@CTallers)

                    2. Yes, most do perk up given some time, this one in particular sounds like she’s really been struggling. I’m honestly not quite sure what to advise. I don’t think there’s a risk of her dying because of keeping her, but I know what you mean, and it’s something I would worry about too. I think it’s likely important to keep getting sugar-water into her, and that’ll be harder to do if she’s out… especially if it attracts ants, which will also kill a weakened bee. If the weather improves as you hope tomorrow, I’d try getting her out there as soon as it’s warm and seeing what direct sunlight unfiltered through a window does for her. Otherwise, perhaps your idea of the little nest box is a good one… you could always keep checking on her, offering sugar-water from time to time, then taking it away again so that it doesn’t attract other critters that might harm her.

                      Reply

                      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

              2. Hi, still no signs of her wanting to go and we're getting a bit worried. We are considering building her a brief nest in an old bird house and putting her out in it to give her a chance; she can snuggle down then if too cold - any thoughts on this please?

                Reply

                Leave a Reply to ctallers

  122. My son and I were out walking our dog on a public footpath and cycle way when we came across a bumble bee right in the middle of the path. My son managed to tempt it onto his hand with the intention of putting it somewhere safe but the bumble bee had no interest in getting off his hand. I will add here that for whatever reason the bumble bee was unable to fly and seemed very sluggish with no energy. We did have very strong winds here yesterday so possibly it was too strong for the bee. Anyway my son then kept it on his hand as this footpath is very busy with dog walkers and cyclists and the bumble bee was more in danger of staying in the middle of the path. We kept on walking with my son still carrying the bumble bee. He did find a small flower which the bumble bee did start to feed from. While walking up our local main road there was a strong gust of wind which caught the bumble bee and blew it off my son's hand and it didn't even attempt to fly. My son tempted it onto his hand again and we decided to take it home in order to give some sugar water to hopefully strengthen the bumble bee as well as to warm it up before letting it go. Gradually the bee started to get more lively and my son put it in our back garden in a safe place so it could fly off when it was ready. Would it be able to find it's way back to it's colony?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Christine Elsey

    1. At this time of year, it’s very likely your bee was a queen bumble bee (did she look quite big?) It sounds as though you saved her little life, as being a cold bumble bee on a frequented footpath is not a safe place to bee.

      Assuming she was a queen bumble bee, your garden is a nice safe spot for her to begin her colony, or find a place nearby to start one. In very early spring, bumble bee queens are emerging from hibernation, and foraging during the day while they look for a good spot underground (often abandoned mouse holes) in which to start a new colony of their own. It’s quite likely she wouldn’t have started her own colony as of yet, and so moving her to another place shouldn’t matter.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  123. Thanks just what I and more importantly the queen bee needed.... every day is a school day thank you x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ayse

    1. That's wonderful to hear!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  124. Hi, I just found a bee on the path, put it in a shoe box with holes with a few drops of sugar water on a spoon, unfortunately it stumbled and rolled on the sugar water. I am worried her wings will not 'work' tomorrow if she does recover some strength overnight inside & tries to fly. is it Ok to drip tiny drops of lukewarm water on her back tomorrow morning if she seems to have recovered and see if she wants to fly away? (only if it is sunny & warm'ish).

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Pat Whitwam

    1. Yes, it is alright to drop some (not very warm, perhaps just above room temperature) water on your bee. Though she’ll need to dry off somewhere warm before she can fly after that, and be very conservative about it, just enough to help dilute any sugar. But see if she doesn’t clean herself up; so long as they have the energy, they do a pretty good job of it themselves.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  125. Hi Elise, what a lovely website :-)!! I just have a question about a bumble bee I found today. I always pick them up - love them so so much! Today it’s been stormy weather and I found a bumble bee in a pile of water. Luckily when I checked if she was still alive - she was but only barely. I first put her on a near flower but on the second walk I saw she had fallen so I took her home to dry and warm (gave some hunny - didn’t realize it should’ve been sugar water! But she didn’t want it) but soon became very active and didn’t really want to stay in one place so I decided to bring her back to the place I found her in case she had made a home already! But now doubting if that was the right decision as not sure if they can survive a stormy rain?! She didn’t fly yet but kept buzzing at home and just seemed to want to be active. Once outside I placed her on a flower that she was eating from and just kept hanging there. But can bees hang on well in storm?! Just feel so bad I didn’t decide to keep her inside now I’ve read they can stay away from their home a few nights! So to make a long story short :-)! Can a bumble bee survive storm? Thank you!!! Steph

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Steph

    1. I’m so happy to hear you always pick up struggling bees… and putting them back, re-energized, right where you found them is an excellent thing to do. Yes, they can survive storms… I’ve seen bumble bees here hanging, dripping wet, their fluff all in spikes, beneath flowers. Even when they’re cold, and go into a kind of torpor, their little feet lock onto what they’re hanging onto. They typically hang on just beneath a flower to shield themselves from the worst of the rain. I do take my cues from them too… if they really want to go, I feel they should go, and so long as they leave warm and full of energy, I would imagine they’ll fare well. One of the reasons I suggest bringing them in, but keeping them some place cool and sheltered, is so that they aren’t inclined to leave until the conditions are more favorable. But plenty of bees manage out in bad weather, even if they spend a night getting soaked; so long as there’s sun in the coming few days, they’ll warm up, and putting her on a flower is ideal in this case, since she’ll have an easy food source nearby to build her energy once the storm passes.

      In fact, the photo of a bee on this page up above is after a late summer’s heavy rain, and there were numerous bumble bees I discovered that morning looking like this beneath all the flowers. I turned the photo above upside-down so that it looks right when you view the page, but actually the bee was upside-down, holding on beneath the flower!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Hi Elise, thank you so much for your kind reply and the lovely work you do :-)! I did go back to look for her but nowhere to be found, neither on the ground or anything so I think/ hope she took off and found a good place to rest! Though on my way back found another little buddy that had a broken wing! Have been housing him for a few days now and seems happy with the flowers I got him! Unfortunately he can’t fly anymore so I guess I have a little addition to the family!!!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Steph

  126. Hi, Elise. This site is amazing and Ive learned so much. Yesterday I found a little bee inside my house, so I put it in a little container with holes at the top and named him Gideon. Then I gave him some sugar-water to eat. Today Gideon seemed healthy and ready to go, he was buzzing inside the container and walking around, so I tried to take him outside. I live in Norway so its a little cold here now, around 3-7 °C, and when I brought him outside and tried to lay him down on the ground he stopped moving. I know I he is alive but he seemed so cold, so I decided to bring him back inside.

    My question is, when can I release him without having him die of the cold? The temperature the next days is going to be 8 °C at the most. I really want Gideon to survive and I hope you read this!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Caroline Olsen

    1. I am so so sorry I haven’t replied sooner… we’ve been snowed in without power here. I hope Gideon is alright still! 8C would probably be near enough, so long as Gideon is a bumble bee, since they can generate their own heat in a special way (decoupling their wings from their flight muscles and then vibrating—which looks a lot like shivering—to us). I would take your cues from Gideon… you did the right thing trying to take your bee outside when buzzing and seeming ready to go. But if it’s too cold out, it won’t hurt to house Gideon for a few days with sugar water. Just keep your bee in a relatively cool location if it’s still very cold out, only because you don’t want your bee to be buzzing around a container, that might cause wing damage. It won’t hurt if your bee is “in sync” with the cold outdoors, protected from predators and freezing temperatures within the box you provide, and with food as needed. I hope my message is not too late, again I’m so so sorry I wasn’t able to reply sooner!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  127. Hi Elise, Thanks for the wonderful site :) I've managed to save the wet wing bumble. It was getting dark and he wasn't a good condition, I've covered him with alstroemerias but little chilly tonight. I've googled and found this site and I've put him into a shoebox and followed your instructions then cover the box with warm clothes in outside + pray. Next morning, thanks that he is still alive, I put him on the flower petal with lots sunshine and he started buzzing the wings and off to the sky.

    I am so pleased that I've found your site :) many many thanks !

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Noriko Botting

    1. I’m so pleased to hear your story :) Yes, it turns to have been important to share this information here, I’ve talked to so many different people as a result, and many bee lives have been saved in the process! I think it also helps folks build stronger connections to all bees too, when they take care of an individual bee :) Many thanks to you for caring about your bee, searching the web, and releasing your revived bee happily!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  128. Thank you so much. ❤️❤️ Bumble

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Natali

    1. You're welcome! :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  129. Hi Elise, thank you so much for this website. I have a strange situation right know and was hoping your advice could guide me. I don't know if this happened to anyone else here in the comments but here I go: Thursday 14th, around 10 pm and 3° C outside, a honeybee appeared in my room. I didn't know anything about bees at that point so I thought I'd just put it outside, on my balcony table, so it can fly away. Few minutes later I went back to the balcony to throw a plastic bottle in my recycling bin and noticed the bee was still there, on its back, not moving. I felt so bad, guilty, horrible. It was just fine when it was in my room few minutes ago. So I took its little body back inside my apartment and warmed it up with my breath. Hallelujah, it was alive! I searched for infos on the web and found your fantastic website. I followed all your instructions and learned a lot about these fragile fellows. I fed it water with sugar, placed it in a big shoebox. It was Valentine's day, I had flowers so I put them inside the box too, with drops of sweet water on a miniature plate. I waited until the weather would be kinder and fed her until then. I released the bee today, Saturday, in the middle of the afternoon. It was 15°C outside. I was happy to see it fly away, strong and pretty. I went back to my beeless life...

    It's 10pm now, still Saturday and the bee came back to my room! It's 5°C outside and it's pitch black. I've just put it back in the box and fed it sugar water.

    I don't understand why it came back. I'm sad it couldn't find its hive. I guess it memorized my place and came back so it wouldn't freeze. I hope it won't end up dying here, under my care :(

    Sorry for the long story. I'm going to release it again tomorrow when it'll be 14°C. But it might come back gain. Do you have any advice or just insights about this ? Hope you'll read this! You've already helped so much, thanks !

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Elizabeth

    1. That’s a very unusual story. She should be able to find her hive just fine, since you’re releasing her where you found her. I’m keen to know whether you have a reappearing bee in the days that follow tomorrow’s release.

      Could it have been another bee? Perhaps that’s just as unlikely as it being the same bee. Definitely, she could have memorized your location as a resource, though I’ve never in all my time of having given this advice (and followed it myself) heard of bees returning after being released!

      Do let me know what happens. I do hope she leaves you strong and happy once more, and returns to her hive, leaving you to your otherwise beeless life once again :) I would hope all is fine with her hive, but even if there is some issue (or if it’s a managed colony that’s been moved by a beekeeper), she should be able to join another hive (so long as she comes bringing pollen or nectar… which she would know to do, I’m sure).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. I'm sad to hear this is unusual. That would mean things are not looking good for the bee. I've just released her, it's 13°C and very sunny here (in Geneva, Switzerland). Crossing my fingers she'll find her way home. I considered the idea of it being a different bee, but I too believe it would be even stranger. Could it be that there's a beehive in my walls or around the building and this bee is a scout bee that just gets trapped by the sudden change in weather and can't return. What is it do you think I should do if it comes back tonight ? Would a reappering bee be a sufficient reason to alert some competent authorities ? I doubt it though...

        I'll tell you if she comes back, or hopefully doesn't!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Elizabeth

        1. Ah, sorry, I think I worded that badly (tell me if I’m still missing your meaning though)! By unusual, I meant I’ve not heard of bees returning to their rescuers for food and shelter… I didn’t mean that it’s unusual for folks to find them in trouble and in need of a helping hand. Though things are still not looking good for bees, overall.

          If you were to see many bees near your building, then yes, it’s possible there might be a hive in the walls. They do tend to make their presence obvious though, since there are tens of thousands of them!

          I don’t think one reappearing bee would be sufficient to notify anyone, but look around and see if you see any “bee traffic”… when there are many bees coming and going from a hive on sunny warm days, they’re hard to miss :)

          If she comes back tonight… well, I’d have the sugar water and her box ready just in case, and let me know, because it’d be time to do a little experiment if so! But I hope this time she finds her (or another good) hive. Warm, sunny weather should good for that.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Hi again! I wanted to let you know that the little bee didn't come back since the second release and has hopefully found a hive. Thank you so much for your guidance. What an opportunity to learn about these lovely creatures!

            Best wishes!

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Elizabeth

  130. Hello

    Found a bee crawling today. I took it home and gave it sugar & water. It had a bit of it. I put it outside but it was still struggling.

    It's now cold outside so I'm not too sure what to do with it. I would appreciate your advice.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tonya Wilton

    1. I hope this email reaches you in good time still. I would keep your bee in a ventilated box overnight, and then in the morning, once it begins warming up a bit, offer her more sugar water and try warming her up indoors first before releasing her.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you.

        Done it. In a shoe box vented with a drink warm by my tortoise table.

        Hopefully in the morning it will be ok.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Ton ya wilton

        1. Just as a quick note, I would put the box somewhere not too warm overnight, and then warm her up in the morning to release her around perhaps 10am or so (that tends to be a good time for bees, after the day has been warming up a bit already). I like to keep them somewhat cool overnight, so they don’t get confused and think it’s time to buzz off, while they’re still enclosed. The idea of keeping them overnight is to keep them away from predators while they’re so sluggish, if they were caught out in the cold unexpectedly (as happens at this time of year). But we still want to mimic the day/night cycle, letting them stay coolish overnight. Then, warming her up artificially in the morning will help give her a boost to start her day, that’s the idea!

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. Morning.

            Just released her. Glad she survived the night. Thanks for your advice.

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Ton ya wilton

  131. I found bee this morning, I assume she's an early riser. She was barely moving when I found her. Since bringing her in she started moving and twitching, but I think she might be injered. Her abdomen looks exposed and a joint in her back leg looks like it produced a white/yellow gelatinous lump. She also had attempted to drink any sugar water. I've put her in a cardboard box but I have to leave soon for a few hours. I'll leave her some foliage and water, but is there anything more I can do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Carmela

    1. It doesn’t sound good. I wish there was something to do in the case of injury, but the healing has to come from within the insect. There’s a chance she can repair the wound herself, given time and rest… at least for her leg, if the injury is not too jagged or wide, cells around it will secrete endocuticle to patch the gap over time. I’m not sure about her abdomen though, if that is injured.

      I think the best you can do is to make her comfortable, keeping sugar-water available. I wish there was more to do, but there’s no ‘bandage’ that would work that I know of (I have read of folks saving tarantulas from dying by applying vaseline to seal the wound, but tarantulas molt again which makes it easier for them to recover; bees do not shed their exoskeletons for fresh ones like spiders do).

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  132. This site is awesome, thank you!! I found this bumble bee this morning on my porch (near Charlotte, NC), brought her in, put her in a container near my plants with warm plant light, offered sugar/water mix but couldn't tell if she ate. She definitely is moving around now as she was not moving at all when I found her. We had a weird few days of 70's which I'm sure messed with lots of the wildlife, but now is only going to get up to the 40's (F) for the next two days and 30's at night. Forecast calls for 70 Wednesday but 35 Thursday night, should I let her go if she can fly even if it is below freezing at night?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tracey

    1. Yes, these “false springs” certainly impact wildlife and plantlife. Here’s what I would do. I’d keep her in a ventilated box with a small amount of sugar/water mix available (not much though, since we don’t want her walking through it or falling in to it). I’d put that box somewhere similar to outdoor temperatures, but without the possibility of freezing (and make sure it’s safe from mice and such)… a utility room works well, as would a garage so long as there were no mice. This way, temperatures are similar to what she’d experience outside, but she’ll be protected from freezing (ideally she’d still be hibernating, had the warm weather not awoken her).

      On Wednesday morning, or your next day above 50 (later in the morning, once it warms up a bit), I’d release her, first warming her up near your plant light, and offering more sugar-water. I realize it’ll get down in temperatures again that night, but it sounds as though it won’t quite freeze, and so she should have the time (and energy) to sort out where she wants to stay that night too. Bumble bees are resourceful too; I’ve seen queen bumble bees staying the night inside closed crocuses, waiting for better weather to come. They also seek shelter under a bed of fallen leaves at night, after emerging from hibernation. If you can release her near where some of the earliest spring flowers are or will be, and perhaps near a covering of fallen leaves, that’d be helpful too, as the less distance she has to go, the better.

      Check on her several times a day in her box. Another reason to keep her at cool temperatures while you’re waiting for better weather, is so that she doesn’t get confused and buzz around, thinking it’s warm, when it wouldn’t be if she was out. She’ll be fine, simply slowed down, at cool temperatures. So long as there’s some sugar-water as sustenance if she needs, she’ll likely be safer waiting in her box a few days.

      By the way, you can tell if she is drinking if she unfurls her very long, red tongue… it’s almost the length of the bee, sometimes!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  133. There are many bees on the ice on Canary Wharf Ice Rink. They are still alive.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Tadeas

    1. That is very strange. Do you know if they’re honey bees? Are they all huddled together, or are they dispersed? If they’re all huddled together, then they may be a swarm of honey bees, in which case the best thing to do is to call a local beekeeper to collect them… but it’s the wrong time of year for swarming. Then again, it’s the wrong time of year for any large number of bees to be out, especially on an ice rink.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  134. Hi, thanks for your info on bees! I have a little honey bee I found yesterday that I thought was dead stuck to my outdoor pillows. Turns out he was trying to dry off or rest. I moved him to a sunny flower but then it started raining later and he was still there. I moved him under the patio again and he was still not moving around. I thought to bring him in since it was quite cold and starting to rain harder. I gave a small bit of honey water in a 1/2 teaspoon (before I read about the disease spread) and closed the lid. The bee was clumsy and climbed up the side and fell into the honey water. This I’m sure made it so it had to stay longer to clean its wings. It poured rain all day so I kept it inside and over night with some greenery and sugar water. Now that it’s morning it still doesn’t seem like it can fly. It also seems almost like it can’t see, it climbed a stick and was at the top reaching for more stick to climb and it was the top. I want it to fly away but it just crawls. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amber

    1. I’m guessing you’ve tried warming your bee up to see if that helps it fly? I wish I had another suggestion. How are the wings looking? I ask because it’s possible the honey water still coats them a bit, which would make flying much more difficult or even impossible. I’m never eager to suggest it, because ideally bees clean themselves far better than we would, but I have known people to have luck with dropping very small amounts of slightly warm but mostly room-temperature water (with a q-tip or similar) on the wings in order to dissolve/ wash away anything stuck to them. I’d also be interested to know if the edges of the wings look tattered; that would give us an approximate age of your honey bee.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  135. Hi - thank you so much for the helpful info! I just saved a big bumblebee queen from the snow yesterday in London (UK). She is fine this morning and wanted even to take off - the problem is, its 5degress Celsius max outside, and supposed to stay like this for a week or so... Should i Just keep her confined to the shoebox?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Andre

    1. 5C looks to be 41F. While I usually advise 10C of 50F as a minimum, it’s possible you might wish to release her sooner anyway. It’s a bit of a hard call to make… and it might depend on the flowers you see out. Are there any snowdrops, hellebores, or winter-flowering honeysuckle in the neighborhood? I always worry keeping bees for long, but so long as you keep her fed on sugar water, she should be fine. I like to put things in the box of interest to the bee too, just for their own psychological well-beeing. If you do have flowers out right now, and if you see bees on them, then I’d be inclined to release her, especially if it’s sunny even though cold. Bumble bees can warm themselves up too (by decoupling their flight muscles and vibrating them), so especially early queen bumble bees can withstand colder temperatures than otherwise.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Ah thank you so much!

        It was a crisp clear day so I did release her as it seemed she really wanted to go out...

        I literally live right in the city so there is not a lot of flowers I can look out for, but right across from me is a church with a little garden/park area and they do have a couple of flowers there. So I hope that mother nature knows best even if it is going to be really cold the coming days (but clear and sunny). Many thanks again :)

        André

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Andre

  136. I found a bee and it looks to be dead but the limbs didnt look like there was rigamortis. Also Idk if they get that when dead. It's little tongue was sticking out. I feel so sad for it. I hoped it wasn't dead, its on my table outside and hasn't moved for two days. I will try to keep fresh water outside like tbe article says.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Angelina Malone

    1. I’m sorry to say that when their tongues are sticking out like that, especially with no movement for several days, it’s typically a sign they’re no longer alive. It is definitely true that sometimes bees will look dead to us, and yet simply be so sluggish that we can’t tell they’re alive… I’ve spoken to people who were sure they had a dead bee, which subsequently “revived” with warmth and sugar-water. But the bee you’re describing does sound sadly dead. I’m not sure why it’s the case, but the few times I’ve seen dead bees, their tongues have been outstretched. It’s not a sure sign of death, since they’ll put their tongues out to drink too, but leaving their tongues out for long periods is never a good sign.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  137. Thank you so much for this helpful advice. It's late January and I found a sluggish bumble bee on the road and moved it to the curb but then felt sad about the cold weather moving in and brought so brought lovely bee home and put her in a ventilated box with sugar water. The bee seems fine, but the weather is dreadful freezing fog. Bee has not tried to fly at all. We are planning to release her when it gets above 50 (if it gets above 50 today). I am worried about how she will find food outdoors with no flowers in bloom except hellebore and snow drops.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Erin

    1. I am glad you’ve brought your bee in, and given her some sugar water. Coming out of hibernation too early in the year (with insufficient flowering resources) is definitely an issue. I don’t know your local weather patterns, but it might indeed be on the early side for your bumble bee. The good news is that hellebore and snowdrops are good flowers for bumble bees, and if you have those already, then more flowers should be showing up within a few weeks. Also, if you happen to have winter-flowering honeysuckle nearby, that’d be helpful too.

      If you can find a place to release her where there are flowers in bloom right now, that would certainly be ideal. Bumble bees can generate their own heat (by decoupling their wings from their flight muscles and vibrating them—it’d look like shivering to us—in order to warm up). If it’s above 50 (even a bit below 50), she should be alright, but I’d keep her indoors in the freezing fog, with sugar-water to sustain her in the meantime. If you warm her up well before releasing her, that should be helpful too.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you, Elise. Bee has been in our home for 2 days due to near-freezing temps in Oregon (let out of box during the day in the sink, small attempts to fly, plenty of fresh sugar water in a shallow dish nearby). Today it's sunny and above 50 so we will release in some soft soil near the hellebore and snowdrops. I did some Reiki for the bee and hope she will find her way. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Erin

  138. Oh my god thank you SO much, I found a sluggish bee in the driveway - we're in florida and when it's cold it happens quickly. He/she was so sluggish and I brought him in the house, made a little shallow bowl out of tin foil, put a few drops of sugar water in it, and he drank it! Then he got super energetic, so I covered the container he was in and let him fly away outside. Thank you SO much ❤️

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to alexandra love

    1. Excellent, I'm so happy to hear that!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  139. Hey! Thank you so much for creating this page! I discovered a female carpenter bee on the ground yesterday, she was super sluggish and almost unresponsive. After taking her home and giving her maple syrup she seemed to recover a little (though she still is not flying :( ) I went to work today, and when I returned she seemed very hyper but in a bad way, if that makes any sense. She's walking around with her but tilted inwards so she's having a hard time and keeps flipping on her back, but she still won't fly. I don't really know what to do or how to help her...I'm hoping you could help me :)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to avivya

    1. Well, maple syrup is a bit like brown sugar, it’s not ideal for bees, it can give them digestive troubles. Try offering her some sugar-water to flush the maple syrup from her system.

      Where are you, in terms of weather? I ask because typically carpenter bees should be hibernating in tunnels over winter. So it’s a bit surprising to see her out, unless you recently had a warm spell?

      I wish I could give you more advice, but there are a number of other factors that might be causing her erratic behavior, and for which we’ll be able to do nothing: notably various infections and parasites.

      If I were you, I’d keep her comfortable and keep an eye on her progress to see if it’s looking more or less positive over time. If the weather looks favorable, you could also see how she does outside. I’m a bit concerned given your description that there’s something amiss internally though that we don’t know about.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Im in the middle east and it's quite cold here. about 12 degrees Celsius during the day, at the highest. It's been really cold lately though saturday the sun was shining out and the sky was blue. Yesterday when i found her it was cold and cloudy, though yesterday morning was quite sunny.

        I just finished giving her sugar water though I must note that after my last comment she went from being overly erratic to hardly responsive, she had folded her legs in. At this current moment she's quite sluggish, but trying to move around a bit. I'm praying she makes it through the night because tomorrow should be sunny. Thank you so much for your quick response Elise :)

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to avivya

  140. So glad I found this site I found what I think was a queen bumble bee yesterday evening she was inside a box that was in the garden holding the Christmas Beer !! She was very weak and cold so I looked up how to help and found this site, I followed all the advice and kept her in the kitchen overnight, this morning I thought she’d died but moved the grass she was in and she moved so after putting her outside for nearly 2hrs she wasn’t moving so bought her inside again turned the heating up, fed her a flower and some sugar water and within half hour she was buzzing furiously lol so let her outside and off she went Feeling pretty proud of myself.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Leah

    1. That's wonderful to hear! :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  141. Such a great page, thank you! I found what I think was a queen bumble bee yesterday who was exhausted and cold. I found your page so brought her inside to my bathroom in a box and gave her some sugar water. Within 2 hours she was buzzing around rather angrily in the box so felt it safe to release her even though it was getting dark. I’m concerned she was out of hibernation so early but after some sugar water seemed more than capable of making her own way!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Amy

    1. That’s wonderful you helped her out! Especially because that’s the most imminent danger of coming out of hibernation too soon: not finding food sources. She sounds like she left with plenty of energy though, which is perfect, as she should be able to dig herself back into the soil somewhere :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  142. This is such a lovely page I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Very informative but with a light heart and humour. I saved a bee that was caugh the a spiders Web and performed Web releasing surgery on her for over an hour with 2 cocktail sticks. She was very glad of the help with my determination and 2 cocktail sticks I managed to remove most of the sticky Web only 1 front leg was still trapped. I'm hoping it will free up naturally. I have kept her in a shoe box with leaves and sugar water for 2 days now as it is so cold and she didn't want to fly off the day after her ordeal. I'm happy to keep her as long as necessary but hope she can survive the winter in my cool bathroom. I do check on her from time to time and she's burried herself under the leaves. Shound I just let her stay there till spring?? I just want to do whats best and would love to see her fly off when the times right any advise would be appreciated. thanks.x (I'm in UK )

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Shirley

    1. I appreciate your comments on my page!

      My answer depends to an extent on what type of bee you have there. Is she large, fuzzy, and bumble bee-like (compare photos above), or thin, small, striped, and less fuzzy (like a honey bee)?

      If she’s a honey bee, she should definitely get back to her hive soon, where she’ll keep warm in a ball of bees throughout winter. I’d warm her up and offer her sugar-water, then release her towards the best part of the next decent day (not rainy nor icily cold or gusty).

      If she’s a bumble bee queen, she should really be hibernating underground. If she’s out of hibernation early, it’s important she get some food into her (as you’ve done). Then ideally she should go back to hibernating. I’m honestly not sure what to advise here if you have a bumble bee queen, to encourage her returning to that state.

      If she is a bumble bee queen, my inclination is that it’s safest to release her, well-fed and warmed up first indoors, on a decent day (not rainy nor icily cold or gusty), where she can then find her own place underground to return to a state of hibernation. When people accidentally dig them up gardening in winter, I’ve read that it’s safe to put them back in the soil loosely, and that’s another thought, digging her a little spot and seeing if she’s interested: https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/bee-faqs/finding-hibernating-bumblebees/ I’ve also read that they typically choose hibernation spots with well-drained soil on a north-facing bank (which helps them avoid coming out of hibernation early), so you might try releasing her near such a location.

      Bumble bees are able to generate their own heat with their wing muscles, and so they can be out and about at lower temperatures than honey bees. But I think keeping her indoors until spring, even in a cool room, might interfere with her lifecycle.

      I’m sure she’s very thankful for being saved from the web :) She should be able to clean any remaining pieces off herself given a bit of time and energy.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  143. Just fed a honeybee in Bulphan, found it in my workplace, fed some warm sugar water, it ate for long time, then started to wash then have a walk and flapping of wings. Took bout hour and half then when wasn't looking flew away. Beautiful x

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Marie Edwards

    1. Wonderful!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  144. Can this be used in the same case for a normal wasp? I'm in Utah, and it's very snowy right now. And 20 degrees. I found a wasp on the verge of being frozen to death. Couldn't let the little fella die... so please a little info is much needed:) Thank You!

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Drea Dee

    1. Yes it’ll help a wasp too, they drink nectar for food, and they're also excellent pollinators! Everything above should work for a wasp too... bees are, in the end, just a very close family relation to wasps (basically vegetarian wasps, for the most part, with a bit more fluff). Note that even though I say wasps are not vegetarian, they do still drink nectar, they just use meat (caterpillars and such) as protein for their young.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you very much!♡ he is doing great Now. Just waiting till it is warmer for him to start his flight :)

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Drea Dee

  145. We have rescued a large begraggled bee, she is looking a lot better after some TLC and sugar water, but we have noticed she has a lot of very small white mites crawling on her. Is this bad?

    Diane.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Diane Lucas

    1. Tiny mites on large bees are fine. Large bees are typically bumble bees. They often have very small mites that “hitchhike” on them. The mites end up in bumble bee nests, but they don’t do any harm there, they simply eat detritus. These mites are completely different from the ones you read about in the news. The ones in the news (Varroa destructor) only live on honey bees, and they’re huge by comparison… it would be as though one of us had a flea the size of a rabbit on us (not a nice thought)!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  146. Me again, Elise. I'm afraid she has passed away. I'm heart broken. Thank you for your wonderful website. Even though I didn't end up with the result I was hoping for, it was very helpful.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Julie

    1. I am so sorry to hear that. It’s not an easy time of year for bees to be out, and we never know what they’ve gone through before we find them in their weakened states. One can take comfort that she passed away with food and warmth, safe from any predators, and not in the cold and rain. I am so glad to hear you’re looking out for our little buzzing friends.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  147. Hello Elise,

    The little bumble bee I've been trying to help with the aid of your website for the last two hours has rolled onto her side. She has eaten (honey - I gave it to her before I found your website) and she has sat on my hands and arms for the last hour and a half. I was just getting ready to put her in a box when she stretched and rolled onto her side and I'm worried that I'm losing her. She is still alive at the moment.

    It has been mild here this morning but raining very hard off and on. I don't know if she is exhausted or damaged by the rain?

    Is there anything else I can do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Julie

  148. Dear Elise, thank you very much for your precious website. I found a bee on the edge of my kitchen window at 1 pm today. She looked sluggish and unhealthy. I live in France, in a suburban neighborhood, with a relatively average amount of vegetation. The weather today was cloudy and about 12 degrees Celsius. I took the honeybee inside and followed your instructions, feeding it with water and sugar. I hope it was the right choice to use white sugar from the brand Béghin Say, as it is all I have. It is not organic, but seems safe... The tap water in my area having been proven to contain traces of heavy metals, I use water from a natural mineral source of the Pyrenees, with a TDS of 30 ppm, that I buy from an organic store for daily consumption, which is also what I used for the recipe. I dunked a thin wooden stick in it and slowly stretched it to the honeybee. Her tongue was sticking out from her head as you describe. It looked very sweet, as if a baby was feeding on a baby-bottle. I took pictures I wish I could show. A moment later she seemed to have regained her energy, she was buzzing and flying across my room, and went to stick to the glass window from time to time. About an hour later I decided to release her. Before she leaves, I lured her one last time with a piece of paper and fed her some more sugar-water. The weather being a bit cold and very few sun rays I was hesitant at first, I hope 12 degrees is enough and that she has found her way... What do bees do in such case when isolated? Are they able to join other bees in a winter cluster?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Boris

    1. You did all the right things, it’s so good to hear such a story :)

      12C should be fine for her, especially well-fed and warmed up again. The chances are that she found her way back to her hive just fine, thanks to your help! And to answer your other question, even were she not to find her way back to her own hive, she’d very likely be taken in at another. It’s more common that people imagine, honey bees finding their ways into hives other than their own.

      There will, indeed, be a warm cluster of honeybees inside each hive during winter. The queen will be in the middle of the cluster, and the worker bees will continually be making their way from the cooler periphery towards the center in order to keep themselves warm and cozy.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Your words bring comfort to my heart. I wish I could do more for the little fairies. I'm currently saving money to move to the countryside, and I've been thinking of learning as much as I can about them, having some beehives and a flower garden where they would thrive...

        Thank you, again, for your website and golden information, and for them. :)

        Best wishes from France

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Boris

  149. Thanks for your wonderful website! I found a carpenter bee on my front porch Monday morning. It was unseasonably warm this weekend and tricked the poor guy or gal into leaving then got too cold to make it back. I brought it inside and thought it was too late to do anything. Today it was suprisingly lively. I gave it some water and some honey. I will send it out tomorrow as it will be 47, the next time it will even get close to that is 10 days away. I don’t think I can keep it alive that long.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Ashleigh

    1. I agree that's the best plan! Sweet of you to care for your bee :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  150. Hello, I live in Central Ohio on a small partially wooded plot. Today is 12/3 and yesterday we had an unseasonably warm and sunny day hitting a high of around 63. The temperature and conditions today were low 40's and rainy. When I came home from work around 4 PM, I saw a honey bee on the door frame. It was so unresponsive that I thought it was dead and then I detected a hint of movement. So I decided to bring it into the basement to see if I could 'thaw it out'. Meantime, I did a little googling and came across this website. The bee was becoming a little more responsive, but I had to run out on some errands and when I came back, it was almost non-responsive again. So I tried the sugar water suggestion using a toothpick instead of an eye dropper. I was practically 'spoon feeding' it. About an hour later, I now had a bee buzzing around in a plastic gallon jug. SO now the question is, what are the chances of it surviving in a typical December in Ohio? While it is not impossible, it is hard to tell when the next time we will get a temperate day we just had. I can't imagine it surviving in a milk jug until spring time... Can honey bees survive long enough to get home in say 45-50 degree temps? That is a far more likely scenario but again, this is Ohio... who knows what kind of weather we are going to have?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Dave Belt

    1. Yes, honey bees can fly in 45-50 degree temperatures (just about, so long as they’re warmed up first), so she should still be able to make it home to her hive. I would warm her up and spoon-feed (with a toothpick, since that worked for you!) some sugar-water in the morning, so she’s as warmed up and well-fed as she can be, ideally buzzing and ready to go. I would say aim to feed and release her later in the morning, rather than early morning, to give her the best possible chance (hopefully it won’t be raining either). She certainly does need to get back to her hive soon, she won’t make it through winter otherwise. These unseasonable spells can fool bees into leaving their hives in search of flowers, when they’d be far better off staying put. If you keep her overnight though (she won’t be able to navigate in the dark anyway), and warm her and feed her in the morning before releasing her, she’ll have a good chance of getting back safely to her hive :)

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Well, I have to say I am afraid for the little critter now. The 10 day forecast doesn't show temperatures going over 40 until next week with the highest temp going to 45. Of course, hard to tell what will really happen and I will keep a close eye on the approaching forecasts and hope for a better break. If the temps don't break sometime in the next two weeks, chances are that it will be March before they come up enough. I would probably rather risk turning it loose in a 40-45 degree day and try to catch the peak, than wait for something more ideal. Thank you for your feedback and I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for better weather than what is predicted.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Dave Belt

        1. I would definitely say to release rather than not, even with the lower temperatures. There’s risk either way, but she won’t do well away from her hive. She can live on sugar-water for awhile, but it’s certainly not ideal (it doesn’t cover bees’ full nutritional needs). If you can get her warmed up, fed, and buzzing during the middle of the day, when it’s not raining, I’d say to release her as soon as possible.

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

          1. One last question - is there a temperature that you would consider to be too low? It is nowhere near as feisty as it was yesterday after it recovered so I would like to release as soon as possible. However, I think they are only calling for a high of 35 - 39 tomorrow, possibly rain. Thursday may be better, I am just concerned it won't make it that long. By the way, I have seen suggestions about giving them honey, and I do have real honey (Nature Nate's raw/unfiltered). Would that be better for the little buzzard? (I guess that makes two last questions)

            Reply

            Leave a Reply to Dave Belt

            1. I wish I had a better answer for you, but 50F is honestly pushing it already for a honey bee. 55F is considered the minimum temperature, one can get away with it a bit lower at times, but only if they’re warmed up and well-fed (and don’t have far to go). This is a very hard question to answer as a result. Your question about honey is somewhat more straightforward, insofar as I’d advise against it generally, because it can be a vector for spreading bee diseases. On the other hand, perhaps this is an extraordinary case, because if you’re going to be keeping her for a few days, she might be happier with honey. Try putting something of interest in her container too (some kind of plant-life)… there’ve been studies done on primitive emotions in honey bees, and although it sounds perhaps odd to say it, I’d try to keep her spirits up while she awaits better weather. Honey bees particularly are very social insects, so that’s an added strain on her right now.

              I wish I had a better answer for you. Honestly, she’ll freeze if you let her out in the 30s. Perhaps the mid to high 40s might possibly be ok briefly, but we’d have to hope she was very close to home already, and that the sun was shining ideally.

              Reply

              Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  151. I am rather discouraged. For several years I have been feeding my Humming Birds. As winter moves in I bring their feeders in for the night, put them back out just before dawn providing a warm breakfast. Almost every night for the last week there have been bees who appear to almost be stuck on the feeders when I bring them in. I have managed to gently remove about half a dozen since reading your article, have followed your suggestions, tried leaving them alone and trying to help, but not a single one has survived. They last for several hours inside but always on a down hill curve. I wonder if its not kinder to gently remove them outside in the cold and let the winter night take them gently away as oppose to what looks to be suffering. It saddens me greatly to have them die.

    What else can I do?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Brenda

    1. I am very sorry to hear that. For many situations, the advice on this page will work well. But it isn’t universally applicable; there are times when bees have other things wrong with them, or are out at such the wrong time of year, that I agree the kindest thing may well be to let them pass away as naturally as possible without intervention.

      One of the reasons I advocate intervention at all is that it does work in many cases, and when it does, it brings people closer to the small lives they save, and as a result closer to bees more generally. I am genuinely sorry to hear of your experiences; it pains me too, to witness the deaths of these creatures first-hand. Honey bees in particular are attracted to humming bird feeders, and I’d imagine that those are the bees you’re finding. They do not do well away from their hives, even for a night, though it can turn out well for them occasionally. Clearly they would have already drunk plenty of sugar water too, since they were feeding at your feeders. Sugar water is not an ideal substance for bees; it lacks the various nutritional extras that they get from real nectar (I advocate it only in emergency situations, to revive bees that are low on energy). But if they drink continually from your feeders, they will not be as healthy as they should be.

      It is, as you know, hard to prevent them from drinking at the humming bird feeders though :( I do not know what advice to give, other than to sympathize with you, and to suggest there’s nothing more you could have done in these cases. If they choose to come to your feeders again and again, you might as well leave them to their choice I suppose. It must be a difficult world for bees, to be provided food that seems like food, and yet really isn’t that good for them… akin to our fast food. But it helps the humming birds, and we make these choices to try to help the creatures that we can.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  152. Hi :)

    So I rescued 5 little bees and an other one a bit bigger&fuzzier than the others from our swimming pool.

    It was already late afternoon when I got them out of the water,they were hardly moving,so I decided to put them in 2 separate jars...wasnt sure if I could keep them together.

    Put some paper towels on the bottom so it would soak up the water from them and gave them some honey.(I just read your site a few hours after I rescued them and now I know sugary water would have been a better choice,I hope I didnt cause any damage and spread some disease)

    It is cold(9C) and dark outside,plus it's raining so I am not sute what to do.

    They all seem better,they all had some honey and now they are buzzing around.

    Seems like they want to get out of the jar(I poked some holes on the top so there is air flow)

    I am not sure if I should let them go no or wait till the morning?

    I am also not sure what kind of bees they are so if they are honey bees then they have to go back to their hives for the night,Im just afraid they wont make it in this weather!

    Thank you for your help,I loved yout website,very helpful :):)

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Odri

    1. If it’s dark and raining, I’d say hold onto them for the night. If they’re buzzing around, I assume they’re somewhere warmish indoors. Try putting their containers in an outdoor area overnight, and the coolness (and dark) should naturally slow them down a lot. Much as I like to take my cues from their behavior usually in deciding when to release them, I think it’s clear they’ll be better off leaving in the morning once the sun (hopefully) is up and it’s (again hopefully) not raining. They do use light for navigation, and so that’s certainly a consideration, as well as the rain, which makes it difficult to fly for a little bee. Giving them sugar-water before they leave and warming them up again would be the thing to do in the morning once the day begins warming up a bit.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thank you so much for your quick reply,I will follow your advise and now I know what to do in the future!

        ❤️

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Odri

  153. Hi, I rescued a honey bee from the ocean while kayaking. The bee flew away but fell back in the ocean. I have the bee in a box now. It is going to rain tomorrow until the afternoon. Should I release the bee when it stops raining or the next morning? It is getting cold, and I’m worried that the bee is having trouble flying. Not sure what to do. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Julie

    1. Where are you located, in terms of how cold is cold?

      So long as it’s near to 50F (or 10C), I’d see if your bee feels like going tomorrow afternoon. I’d warm your bee up in its box first indoors, and try offering some sugar-water mix too. If your bee is warm and well-fed, it shouldn’t have trouble flying as long as the temperature is at least around 50F.

      If your bee shows no sign of wanting to buzz off tomorrow afternoon, you could always try keeping it another night, being sure to feed it some sugar-water.

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

      1. Thanks for the quick response. I am located in Rhode Island. The highs for the next four days are 45, 41, 23, 31 (F). So I guess tomorrow is the best day to release him. (Hopefully 45 degrees is okay?) I will keep giving him sugar water. Thanks.

        Reply

        Leave a Reply to Julie

        1. Yes, 45F will be close enough. Warming your bee up first (and feeding your bee too ahead of time) should certainly help. Don’t be entirely surprised if your bee doesn’t buzz off immediately, just bee patient. Try setting your warmed and fed bee out with the container open, and give your bee an hour or so. Check as it starts to get later and cooler, and if your bee is still in the box after that time showing no signs of buzzing, try again earlier the following day (not too early though… within an hour or so before approaching the warmest part of the day). It definitely looks like either today or tomorrow ideally, according to your forecast! I wish you and your bee the best of luck, ask if anything else comes up that I might help with :)

          Reply

          Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  154. Hello there from Northern Alberta! My son found a bee in a snow bank while he was outside playing today. So he did what any 9 year old would do...he scooped it out and brought it home. Well - within 5 minutes of being inside.... the bee started moving around. We now have it in a big rubbermaid with a plant and some sugar water. Was wondering, should we release it? My friend has one of those little bee houses that has a bunch of holes. Would it survive without it's colony? Or do we have a new pet bee? lol. Our winters are LONG and very cold here.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Allison

    1. Hmm, that’s a good question, and it would really help to know what kind of bee it is that you have. Is it large and fuzzy? Or small and less fuzzy? Dark-colored with large solid patches, or light-colored with bands of black/orange (more like a “traditional” bee illustration)?

      If it’s a honey bee (lighter colors in bands, and less fuzzy), then it won’t live without its colony over winter, and it should be released on your next sunny day… if you still get those, brrrr! If it’s a large, fuzzy bumble bee, then it’s likely a queen that will hibernate beneath the snow during winter. It should also be released on your next sunny day, and in either case, the bee should be well-fed with sugar water, and warmed up indoors, before departing.

      If your bee doesn’t fit with either description though—perhaps it’s smaller, kind of fuzzy, maybe all one-color—then it might well be a solitary bee (the kind that use those little bee houses with a bunch of holes). Although I’ll be honest, if it’s one of those kinds of bees, its days are numbered, because those bees don’t survive winter… only the baby bees in their tunnels do.

      It is doubtful that your bee would survive through winter indoors, although I’ve known folks keep them successfully for at least a couple of weeks indoors. They do tend to require nutrients not found in sugar water in order to bee healthy long-term, but then again, honey bees often survive winter on sugar alone (which beekeepers provide them).

      If you could email me a few photos I might be able to give slightly more targeted advice, but it’ll still be along these lines, trying to get your bee outdoors again if at all possible. If it’s a bumble bee queen, I wonder if digging a patch of snow out to expose the ground below, in which she might hibernate, might be another thought. Perhaps even digging a small hole, since they often nest in abandoned mouse burrows. It would be late for her to be out in your weather, but that might give her the help she needs, if she agrees that the spot you choose is a desirable one, that is!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  155. Hello! It's the end of October and I found a huge bumble bee on our porch...unable to fly and very lethargic and in danger of being stepped on. We put the bee in our heated greenhouse with a bit of sugar water on a spoon and some flowers (our green house also has flowers blooming) The bee is crawling around in a large pot with dirt and safe and sound from the pouring rains. It has been three days now and it is still the same. Could it be an older queen on her last days? Not sure what else we can do for her.

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Rhonda Davis

    1. I am so so sorry to be replying to your message so late. It doesn’t sound as though there’s much more you can do for your bee though. Perhaps she is an older bumble bee queen on her last days… sometimes they’ll last two years, but typically they do not, instead dying off as summer turns to autumn and all the new queens and males leave the nest. It is also possible she’s a new queen though, who simply ran out of energy in the bad weather. Giving her sugar-water and housing her safely until some better weather comes (your greenhouse sounds a perfect place for that) would be the thing to do in that case, keeping an eye on her (if possible!) so you can make it easy for her to leave if better weather arrives. If she’s a new queen, she’ll need to find a spot in the ground outdoors to hibernate. I did wonder if she might try hibernating in your greenhouse too, if you’ve provided her with a large pot of dirt, but it seems like she might not if it’s heated, especially if flowers are blooming, as the seasonal cues won’t seem right to her.

      If it were me, I’d try to see if she’d leave the greenhouse on your next nice day (if you get any more nice days), making sure to give her with a good drink of sugar-water first so she has plenty of energy upon leaving. If she doesn’t want to leave (or if you can’t find her!), I’d assume I’d at least have made her comfortable and kept her safe from predators. And perhaps she might instinctually burrow into the dirt in your greenhouse pot, even if it is warmer in there than normal conditions for the time of year. In which case, she might well reappear next spring!

      Reply

      Leave a Reply to Elise Fog

  156. Great article, TY! I found a bee on it's back in a hummingbird bee diversion pool I made . The pool was dry. I thought the bee was dead after a night of exposure. I put the bee slanted, head up, on a leaf. By end of day, it was moving and attempting to drink the sugar water I held up. Now it's night so I took it inside. The bee continues to move and clean it's antennae. The problem is it's tongue seems to be dragging below it's mandibles as though it can't roll it back up or is disconnected somehow. The bee responded to the sugar water but I'm not sure it can drink properly. Have you seen this before?

    Reply

    Leave a Reply to Kathryn