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Home > Bird Feeding Blog > Adventures with an iPhone - Spotting a tired bee

Adventures with an iPhone - Spotting a tired bee

Tuesday, 27th August 2019

I'm writing about spotting a tired bee in this week's wildlife adventures with an iPhone. There I was sat in the garden, enjoying a cheeky coffee before embarking on the gardening to-do list when my wife spotted a lethargic bumblebee on the patio.
It would rest for a moment and then go to take off only to land swiftly back on the ground with a bump. I say land, it was more of an involuntary crash. On spotting a tired bee, what should we do?

I recall my daughter mentioning to me earlier this year that a sugar-water solution could be given to a tired bee; however, when I googled this advice, I found several references to a long-term sugar water solution being potentially harmful to bees because they may become lazy (I assume) and 'flock to the solution.' At this point, common sense kicked in for me - I'm dealing with a tired (could be sick or old/dying) bee. I decide it’s exhausted. He/She is not lazy and I imagine has no intention of switching from foraging for nectar to playing tired on the nation's patios in the hope that someone will foolishly supply a daily dose of sugar water! So, I head indoors and make a swift sugar water solution for our tired friend who's feeling the heat more than usual.
Bee drinking

The video shows the exhausted bumblebee drinking the sugary solution. I rearranged the patio furniture to put the bee in shade and gave it long enough to drink all it could for several minutes. Isn't it mesmerising? I tried to film as close as possible and my iPhone is certainly good enough to record this delicate operation. It certainly wasn't too much to ask to put a little offering out for this sweet little character. 

If you're wondering how the story ends - I gently encouraged the bee to step onto an envelope and I went in search of a well-shaded part of the buddleia bush, which I've previously filmed here. I don't know, of course, what a thankful bee looks like; however, I can truthfully say that it seemed pleased to be walking onto a flowering buddleia bush. It immediately began moving on the flowers and started doing what bees do best - it wasn't as busy as the others, but it certainly seemed a little healthier than when I first found it. I would say this should be a one-time thing – In other words, I won’t be leaving a plate of sugary water out for the bees. The best thing I can do for them is plant with bees in mind and that’s simple enough to do. Likewise, it’s not wise to feed bees honey – that can apparently be ‘deadly to bees.’

Having experienced this for myself I would say a little sugar water from a spoon won’t do exhausted bees any harm (but remove the source as soon as the bee has recovered).

Please get out and about recording your own wildlife adventures.

Until next week, enjoy nature

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