Nobody likes being caught out by rain, but for bees, a downpour is potentially life-threatening. Bees are capable of short flights during a light drizzle of rain, but a heavier rain shower is a definite problem. Therefore, it is important that you know how to save a drowning or wet bee.
Bees have very fine hairs covering their bodies which can quickly become waterlogged. Additionally, their wings can become stuck to their bodies when wet, making it impossible for them to continue flying.
If you're wet bee has no wings this may be due to different causes and you should see our article on bees with no wings. Let's take a look at how to save a wet bee.
Follow this guide to learn how to save a wet bee from drowning.
The most important step is to first provide adequate shelter for the bee to rest and dry out. Do not attempt to pick up the bee with your hands as they may be frightened into stinging you and this will most likely kill them.
Use a large leaf or a small glass to pick up the bee and carry them to a dry spot. To prevent the bee from becoming disorientated, try not to move them too far from where you found them.
Locate a large plant or bush that has a dry area underneath it. alternatively, you can leave an upturned plant pot or similar container that the bee can easily leave when they are ready to fly again.
If there are no suitable places for shelter or the rainstorm is hard and heavy, take the bee indoors and place them in direct sunlight. This will keep the bee warm and speed up the drying of their hairs.
If you found the bee late in the evening it is better to keep the bee overnight in a well-ventilated box where she can dry off and rest in a warm, dry place. In the morning, you can release her back to the same spot you found her so she can get back to her colony.
No doubt the poor bee will be tired from trying to fly with a waterlogged body and she may be in shock if the rain is heavy. Bees are the same size as raindrops during a flash downpour or heavy storm and getting hit by one is the equivalent of a human being hit by a water cannon!
Your rescue bee will therefore be in need of a boost. The best way to provide a dehydrated bee with energy is a sugar-water mix. This will give the bee a quick release of energy so she can fly back to her nest after drying out. Find out how to create your sugar-water solution and administer it to a tired, dehydrated bee.
Once you have found a warm, dry spot for her and provided a little sugar-water mix, leave her to dry out in peace. If the rain was quite sudden or heavy, she will need some time to clean herself and to separate her wings.
Do not try to separate her wings yourself as you can cause further damage or even pull a wing off. Bees are perfectly capable of grooming themselves and they will be fit to fly in no time.
If you need to keep the bee sheltered due to an ongoing storm, ensure that the shelter you have is ventilated and warm. Bees are susceptible to temperature swings and they need oxygen the same as we do.
Place the container in the same spot you first spotted the bee as she will be able to determine the direction of her colony from that location.
All complete? Hey presto, your simple guide to saving a drowning bee anywhere, anytime!