SAVING BUMBLE BEES

The warm weather has brought some queen bumblebees out from hibernation before there are enough nectar producing flowers to keep them going. If you find a bumblebee on the ground, too cold and weak to fly, you can help.

The Bumble bee Conservation Trust has this to say:

Some people have got in touch with us to tell us that they have found bumblebees lying on the ground, appearing tired and unwell. These are most likely to be new bumblebee queens […]. Because of the scarcity of flowers in winter, these bumblebees sometimes use a lot of energy in flying, but don’t have any food to replace that lost energy. If there are flowering plants available nearby, the best thing to do is to place the bumblebee on or near them. If you can’t find any flowers, you can still help, though! You can mix together a sugar solution  of half white refined sugar and half warm water (brown sugar and honey are bad for bumblebees). Put this in a small saucer or plastic drinks lid, and place it near the bee’s head (see the photo below). It should then lap this up, and will use the energy to heat its body up and fly off.

Don’t worry about picking the bee up in your hands; she won’t hurt you. You can take her indoors but don’t try to keep her there; find flowers if you can and release her among them. You will be rescuing not just the queen bee but the whole nest she will raise this summer.

Here is a short video to help.


Header photograph by DKG

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