Bumble bee rescue

08 September 2021

Yet another photo of a bee on a flower … but this time, there’s a bit more of a story to it.

While we were working in the gardens, a woman brought us a small plate containing a very tired-looking bumblebee she’d picked up from the grass by the car park, where it was in danger of being squished by all the people around there.

We decanted it carefully onto a nearby upward-facing dahlia, in the hope that it wouldn’t fall off, and would be close to nectar. Wow – immediate action – it stood up at once and started going round the disc florets, quickly lapping up all the nectar. Then it made its way over to the edge of the flower and fell off; at which point it struggled a few steps, then lay down on its side (never seen that before). We thought it might have just had a good last meal …

We left it for a while – I was working close by, so could keep an eye on it. Ten minutes or so later I noticed it had disappeared, and found it scrambling over nearby plants to reach the red deadnettle, which it started feeding from. Perhaps the dahlia was a bit of an energy drink for it, to enable it to go back to foraging for its preferred diet again?

And it’s nice to have further validation for our decision to leave all the red deadnettle we can – it’s an inconspicuous little flower that’s often seen as a weed, but bees seem to love it.

Let’s hope that bee recovers enough to be able to feed herself up ready for hibernation, and then to start another colony of bees round here next spring.