How to save a bee

What do you do if you find a bee struggling to fly? Here are a few tips to help get it safely back in the air

Buff-tailed bumble-bee (Bombus terrestris) worker nectaring on scorpionweed (Phacelia tancetifolia) flower in conservation margin at RSPB's Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire. May 2011.

It’s not just us humans who are struggling with the heat this summer. If you come across a struggling bee, it could be suffering from exhaustion, have a parasite or simply been caught out in the rain.

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Here are a few things you can do to help perk your new stripy friend back to life. 

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Bumble bee ©Getty
1. Place the bee somewhere warm

If a bee is suffering from an internal parasite, there’s nothing you can do. But if you think the bee is simply exhausted, slide a piece of paper beneath it and place it in warm, dry place. Bees can only fly if the temperature of their thorax remains above 30 degrees, so a greenhouse or your house is ideal. 

2. Feed the bee

A simple sugar and water solution is sufficient to get a bee buzzing again. One spoonful of water to two of organic sugar is perfect. Never feed a bee honey, though, even if it’s organic – bees can catch viruses if they eat honey from neighbouring hives.

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Honey bee ©Getty

Drop the sugar and water solution onto a paper towel in small amounts or place in a clean milk bottle lid. Leave it by the bee’s head. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see the bee feeding with its long, reddish tongue.

3. Wait

Many bees will recover in anything from a few minutes to an hour after feeding on a syrup solution. If it’s not raining, put the bee somewhere safe outside, such as in a plant pot where it can stretch its wings and fly away when it’s ready. Hopefully, it will be back and buzzing about in no time!

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Main image ©Getty