August 9, 2013

Save the Bees? Save the Bee.

How to save a dying bee. For the full discussion: Reddit.

“As you all know, honey bees are dying worldwide by the millions. As you also know, bees are a very, very important part of the ecosystem. I assume that most of you don’t use bee-killing chemicals on your fields or have a garden, so I have a simple tip on how to save dying bees, one at a time, even for people living in cities.

If you spot a dying bee (or bumble bee), don’t throw it outside or kill it. You can save that little fucker! It’s easy and often takes only a couple of minutes. Step by step:

  • don’t be afraid of bees—just stay calm, they won’t hurt or attack you
  • bring it into a dry place (just put it on a table or whatever)
  • take a cup and mix sugar (not artificial or diet sweetener or other crap, just normal or organic sugar) with water – something like a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio, small quantities
  • take a spoon and make the sugar ”dissolve”, the end result should be thicker than water and a little bit less consistent than syrup (it’s not that important)
  • put a spoon of your sugar water on a dish and place the bee (use a paper to scoop it up) right next to it (not into it)
  • observe the bee drink it and make sure that it doesn’t end up stuck in it (again, gently use a paper if it’s stuck and try to help it out)
  • open a window and turn off bright lights

And then wait. In my experience, even half dead bees will find enough force to drink/eat some. After usually anything between 1 and 5 minutes, the bee will stop drinking, wait a moment and suddenly start flying again. If your window is open, odds are high that it will find it and fly directly out.

When I was younger I lived in the countryside and had to deal with plenty of bees. I never really thought about helping the dying ones, because they usually didn’t die due to a lack of energy (there were flowers everywhere). Now, in the city, every other day I will find such a dying bee and I found out that this method works perfectly.

There’s no point in killing animals, especially such useful ones like bees. As a side note, it’s interesting to observe them drink and it’s always a small victory when they fly away like nothing ever happened. Every bee I’ve helped with sugar water flew away in the following minutes.

Note: Also, in case anyone had any doubts, bees are not pets. As soon as they’re healthy again, give them the opportunity to fly back home.

Note: Always use sugar if available. If you don’t have any left, try honey.”


Rational, but unromantic two cents from a beekeeper:

“Beekeeper here. Sorry this is ridiculous. I don’t mean to be negative but if you saw just how many bees died in daily working of the hives and natural events, you wouldn’t waste your time. More important is not using harmful chemicals and sprays.”

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