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Pollinator Decline & How to Help our Bees

Honey Bee

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. We ended up having quite a conversation about the bee he’d found, and he shared some photos and a video with me. This story is best told in John’s own 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.

He then started searching for my finger after 10 minutes, I put my finger in front of him and he felt it with his antennas and then tried to climb on my finger, so I moved my finger to the left and he followed it, I did the same to the right and he followed it, I have let him climb back on my hand and he has now gone to sleep, so here I am 3 hours later he is still on my hand, he walks around finds a different spot on my finger or palm then goes to sleep again, I put him on a piece of white roll on the table whilst I had my meal, now you will find this unbelievable, he panicked and walked around the table very quickly, I put my hand out and he climbed back onto it and settled down went to sleep. Incredible. And to prove all this I have taken photographs. At this very moment he is stretching his back legs and just buzzed his little wings, he’s adorable, and I am a 63yr old guy.

My story sounds unbelievable I know, but it’s the gospel truth, he is now asleep in my hand, he has walked all over it and settled down again after I had given him a little drink of water. I have just taken another picture of him asleep on my hand, he seems to like sticking his head down between my fingers. My wife just said “Trust you to find the worlds clingiest Bee”. lol

Well I put Mr Bumble into a cardboard box with little holes in it and I placed some soft kitchen roll in it so it would be soft for him, I left him down stairs for the night where it is warm, this morning I went down and expected to find him dead, to my surprise he was under a piece of kitchen roll, I put my finger down and he crawled up onto it, went into my palm and settled down, later he awoke and went for a walk round my hand, wrist, arm, had a good inspection of my watch, then I let him run from one hand onto the other and kept doing it for a while, he had another sleep, then he woke up and buzzed his wings, he did this about 3 times and then flew from my hand onto the curtains.

I knew then I had to let him go because he was ready, I would have loved to keep him but that wouldn’t be fair, I felt so privileged that he had spent such a beautiful few hours with me, so as I was saying, I got up this morning and he climbed onto my hand at 06:00 and I took him into the garden at 10:00, so we had 4 precious hours together, he flew from my hand and up towards the big tree in my back garden, I keep going out to see if he has come back to the garden but there is no sign, so I just hope he has a safe little life. Did I fall in love with him. ‘Yes’!