Unlike reptiles, bees are unable to regrow their wings after they’ve been lost or damaged. Due to the large populations of bee colonies and the speed they reproduce the need to regenerate wings and limbs never played a part in their evolution.
Can you help a bee with lost or damaged wings?
If you find a bee with lost or damaged wings while out and about it can be tempting to try and help. Try to avoid touching or distressing the bee in any way as this can cause further damage to the bee.
In many cases, the bee may still be able to take flight and is simply resting. Other reasons the bee may be stationary could be due to a parasite or it may have come to the end of its natural lifecycle.
In all these cases the bee is best left alone to avoid further distress.
Bees that have lost their wings can be a sign of a common virus amongst bees called Deformed wing virus, this is closely linked to Varroa mites and is common amongst honeybee and some bumblebee species. Unfortunately, these bees with no wings have often been ejected from the nest or hive by other members of the colony to avoid the further spread of the virus.
Can you glue a bee’s wings back together?
No, you should never attempt to reglue the wings of a bee back together for any reason.
It has been widely reported that some experts in the field of butterflies have repaired butterfly wings using acrylic glue.
In the case of Monarch butterflies, their large wings allow experts to repair them in very special circumstances. They are helped with precision and care while tiny amounts of glue are administered to the damaged area of the wing.
Bees on the other hand have incredibly small delicate bodies that are easily damaged when handled. Glue travelling to the minute hairs all over the bee’s abdomen would cause the wing and abdomen to become fused completely removing any chance of flight.
What are some other ways I can help bees?
Now you know that bees can’t grow their wings back you’re probably looking for other ways to help bees. At Revive a Bee we firmly believe in a flower first policy so the best thing you can do to help bees is simply to plant more flowers.