Operation bee rescue

I was rummaging around in the greenhouse yesterday when I spotted an enormous bumble bee on the floor. She (I’ve no idea whether it was female but I’ve decided it was for narrative purposes) looked a bit done-in, still alive but definitely on her last legs. I lifted her carefully onto a plant tray and carried her outside, then rushed indoors to make some sugar water –  I remembered this is The Thing To Do for exhausted bees from CT’s excellent blog (she is my go-to person for wildlife info). I squirted a pea-size of honey onto a spoon, added a little water and mixed it together, then I carefully put the spoon under the bee’s head. Amazingly, she stuck out her proboscis and started drinking with great big thirsty gulps! I actually spilt the liquid off the spoon in my excitement and called my daughter to bring her phone to video this Wonder of Nature. We both knelt down and watched the bee drink her fill, both awe-struck and full of delight that we were helping her. She took a while, then had a little wander around on the tray, cleaning the dust off her back, head and antennae with her legs, drank a little more then buzzed her wings a little. She took a couple of practise flights, lifting hesitantly off the tray and landing again. And then – hoorah – she flew off. Oh yeah!

I like to think that our bee is will survive for as long as possible, visit all our bee-friendly flowers, drink the nectar and pollinate as she goes. I was going to show you a little video of our bee drinking the spilt sugar-water but WordPress won’t let me upload it. I’d have to set it up on YouTube and link to it and, frankly, I can’t be bothered at this time on a Saturday evening after a day spent gardening and a couple of glasses of wine! I’ll just have to show you this rather rubbish photo instead but at least you can see her proboscis. It was amazing. Bees are amazing.

In other news, the village spring show last weekend was a rip-roaring success for David – his hot cross buns won an actual cup! Well, it looks more like a peculiar silver gravy boat, but it’s The Cup for best home produce. He was pretty chuffed. My two children made fabulous decorated Easter cakes (see below) but were beaten to the cash prize by a lovely, chocolate mini-egg confection. It’s good to learn how to lose gracefully… I was busy helping with the show so I only entered two daffodil categories (coming third in one) and the single tulip category (again coming third).

It’s all go in the garden this Easter weekend. We’ve been clearing brambles and other weeds, preparing ground, planting trees and fruit bushes (photos coming soon), weeding and weeding. Did I say weeding? It’s been glorious out there but the earth is so dry. We badly need rain – some is forecast for tomorrow, so I hope it appears. Everything in the garden needs a good drink and our aching bodies need a rest.

Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re having a lovely long weekend and I wish you a very happy Easter.

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9 thoughts on “Operation bee rescue

  1. Brilliant cakes, I’m very impressed and they’ll keep you going for a while. And a cup for the hot cross buns, brilliant. No more Tesco packets for you now you have an award-winning baker in the house. Well done on the bee rescue, things like that make me very happy. I’ve learned so much from CT as well. You’re right about the need for rain, it’s so dry out there. I’m hoping it will be a good year for fruit pollination though. It sounds as though you’ve been doing great things in the garden. I do love a bit of fruit and tree planting. The allotment next to me has been abandoned and I have a (totally unrealistic) dream of taking it on, grassing it over and planting a mini orchard. It sounds simple when I say it quickly. Hope you have a lovely Easter Sam. CJ xx

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  2. Well done on the bee rescue. I think your bee is either a queen white tailed, queen buff tailed or possibly queen early bumble bee. Hard to tell without knowing the colour of the tail. If it’s orange it’s an early. Nicely done, Sam. Great effort at the show – we especially like the cakes :o) xx

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  3. I frequently run a ‘bee hospital’. Some sources say sugar and water is better than honey and water –
    honey (particularly imported honey) is not necessarily suitable – and the RSPB recommend two tablespoons of white, granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water.

    Bumblebees are very cooperative when one tries to assist them. Last year there was a bumble inside one of our big tulip flowers, finding the petals too smooth for her (I think the large bees are always females at this time of year) to climb out. I lowered in a piece of garden twine, which she gladly grabbed immediately and climbed to freedom!

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  4. Those cakes look terrific…you have a house full of talented bakers! I’m delighted to pick p some bee-rescue tips here. I will file them away for the future. It must have been a lovely experience to watch him recover so successfully. Brilliant.

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