This is a question that you might have found yourself asking from time to time. It was only when I got really familiar with bees that I later discovered loads of interesting things regarding this great insect. The restorative powers of bees are limited. Because honey bees a structured around a collective existence, there is little need to evolve complex regenerative powers.
Have you ever found a bee with a lost or injured wing? Unlike reptiles, that do have some ability to regrow lost tails for example, a bee cannot grow its wings back. However, if you discover an injured bee with its wings still there, you can take some few steps which would help the bee fly again.
In this article we’ll break down the steps which you can take to identify and help an injured bee. We’ll also look at the ways in which you can avoid harming a bee unintentionally. Keep reading and you’ll learn exactly how to help a bee in destress and also how to help healthy bees in your area.
If you are interested in learning more about how to cultivate your garden to be friendly to bees and other insects or the basics of becoming a beekeeper, checkout our online course recommendations here.
HOW TO HELP AN INJURED BEE
Warm the bee up:
If you see a bee which appears normal, but just cannot move well, or flying off the ground has become a great issue, it could be just the cold getting to the bee. It does not necessarily mean that the bee has damaged wings. You can just pick the bee up using a piece of stiff paper, and place it in a warmer environment.
Dry a wet bee:
If you discover a bee in a liquid, which is not dead. The bee would find it difficult to fly since its wings are wet and they would be really heavy to carry. What you can do in such a situation is to remove the bee and let it dry off. You can place it on a flower, not the bare floor because the flower is its natural habitat.
You can feed the bee:
This would really go a long way in helping the bees because feeding a cold or wet bee would make it recover quickly. You can feed the bee a mixture of honey and drinking water. You just have to ensure the right quantity is dropped. Two drops of an eye dropper are enough. Also, do not drop the food directly onto the bees.
Carefully study the bee:
If you discover a bee on the floor in mid-summer, you need to carefully examine the bee, to avoid getting stung. A bee with ragged wings could be nearing the end of its lifecycle, this does not mean they are completely dead. You can always feed the bee, and if the bee has the strength to fly, LET IT GO.
Leave the bee alone:
Most times, this would always work. The bees prefer being left alone to sort themselves out. This is also beneficial to humans because the chances of them getting stung would be greatly reduced. The bee could just be resting and would regain its ability to fly after a while. You can also offer water and honey, it helps.
Keep the bee alive:
If you discover an injured bee which is almost dead, the best you can do for that kind of bee is keep it alive. You can keep it in a covered container, with dirt, water and flower. You can leave the mixture of honey and water in the jar where it can be found by the bee.
Leave an ill bee:
If you discover tiny arachnids on the bee, which is not always possible because you would not be able to tell that they are arachnids though they are red in colour. A bee with arachnids on it means that the bee is ill. You can warm the bee, feed it and let it be if there are no improvements. This could mean that the bee has been infected and there is nothing you can do about that.
Never touch a bee directly:
You must always avoid this. Though the sting of honeybees is not dangerous, they can still hurt a little bit. You can put on a glove to avoid getting stung. If you need to move the bee, make use of a stiff piece of paper to avoid causing more damage. If you have allergies to any type of bee, never handle them at all then.
How to Help Healthy Bees
Watch out for bees in the spring:
You should watch out for bees in the summer, it would most likely be a queen bee. Only the queen bee can survive the winter. She could be down because she stopped hibernating really early and the weather could also be colder than she expected. In such a situation, you can bring the bee in so it gets warmer. You should also be ready to let the bee go in a day or two because the survival of her colony depends on her.
Avoid removing bee hives from your yard:
You should always try to avoid removing bee hives from your yard, though this could seem quite difficult if there is someone with an allergy to bees in your household. You should leave the hive because they would help pollinate your flowers and apart from this, bees don’t live more than a few weeks which means they would soon die naturally.
Maintain bee foraging areas in your yard:
You can also help bees by growing plants that you know bees love in your garden. It has been discovered that large scale agriculture has improved bees dependence on cultivating crops. This means the provision of uncultivated foraging areas is really important in the fight for keeping bees alive.
Eliminate weed by mowing or tilling the soil:
Though pesticide is usually required in eliminating specific species of weed, but when you mow the weed in your yard first, then the chances of killing bees when you apply pesticide would be greatly reduced. Weeds like milkweed, smartweed and dandelion should be mowed before applying pesticides because they are always covered in bees.
What plants do bees love?
There are folks out there that really want to help bees by planting plants that bees love, but they do not know these plants. If you are in this category, you really should count yourself lucky, because I would answer that question. Plants that bees love includes: plant sweet clover, Dutch clover, alfalfa, purple vetch, birdsfoot trefoil, and partridge pea on your land.
Apart from this, you can also allow trees and bushes to blossom well because they help bees and example of that also include; linden, black locust, honey locust, Russian olive, wild plums, elderberries, red maples, willows, butterfly bushes, and honeysuckle. You can see our other articles for information regarding what you can plant to help bees if these plants do not naturally grow in your area.
Can I glue the wings of a bee just like a butterfly?
This is also another important question. People believe that because they can glue wings of butterflies back, the same should also happen to bees. This does not really work out, this is because butterflies do not sting, but bees do. You could get stung while trying to attach the wing. Bees are also more delicate than butterflies. You could kill the bee unintentionally while trying to glue the wing back.
What can I feed an injured bee?
This question causes confusion most times, because people discover loads of injured bees, and if they had known what to feed the bee, they would have easily helped the bee out of that predicament.
You can feed an injured bee with a mixture of honey and water. When this is not available, you can leave the bee in its natural habitat which is on a flower.