A Quick Guide to Reviving an Exhausted Bee

Grampas Honey is supported by its readers. If you buy something with our links, we may earn a commission.

Bumblebees are now considered endangered because of the loss of habitat, pesticides, climate change, and various diseases. Due to this, bees have to work overtime to thrive in their hives, protect their young, and spread pollution across our vegetation. The extra work these bees have to undergo can make them exhausted at times. But how do you revive an exhausted honey bee?

According to the RSPB, you should mix a solution of two tablespoons of white sugar with one tablespoon of water. This simple solution of both water and sugar is the perfect solution for reviving an exhausted honeybee. Once mixed, leave the solution on either a spoon or plate.

After reading the above, you should be aware of how to revive an exhausted bee. If you want to understand more about this topic and enlighten yourself about what to do in this type of situation, you should read the below.

How do you revive an exhausted bee?

So, once you’ve created the solution to feed to the bee and placed it on something the bee can quickly get to, like a plate or spoon, just take it over to the bee and let it get as close as possible. If it’s struggling to get to it, move it as close as you can.

It should then sense the energy drink nearby and make its way over, and start drinking. Give it time, and be patient with it; don’t add more water as you risk drowning the bee. Eventually, it should begin to buzz and flap its wings again, and once it’s had enough, it will fly away.

But how long exactly should this take? Let’s have a look.

How long does it take for an exhausted bee to recover?

When settling down to help out a bee, you’ll need to prepare to be patient, especially if you’re determined to see it fly away. Once you’ve noticed it taking a drink, it could be anywhere up to 30 minutes before they fly away; bees do have a long resting time. Often, they will simply get exhausted flying outside the hive. Typically, they can find somewhere to rest for a while, but they may get swept away while sleeping.

Reviving bees isn’t necessarily quick work. The thing to remember is that, once you’ve left it some solution and seen it drinking, your best bet is probably to leave it there and come back later. It will re-energize, and they get all of its energy back before leaving, but it could take a while. Patience is key.

It generally isn’t advised to leave out a large solution of sugar water for bees in your garden, as they might just see it as an easy food source, and suddenly your garden is overrun.

Most of the time, the bee will just be resting for a while. But you should also know what to look for if it seems more severe than that, so let’s look at what a dying bee might look like.

What does a bee do when it’s dying?

When bees are very close to death, they will often attach themselves to flowers. Bees do typically leave the nest to die so that whatever killed them has no chance of spreading to the rest of the hive. Furthermore, dead bees would obviously start to get in the way; hives are already very crowded places.

When they are dying, they will struggle to cling to anything fully and may drop off the flowers or may fall down on the ground. If you see a bee lying on the ground, there is a good chance it may be dying as it would not typically sit on the ground in this way. They always stand a chance of being crushed or swept away if they do.

So, it’s quite hard to tell an exhausted bee from a dying one, but often the two things could result in the same outcome. If you see a bee looking lethargic, sitting on the floor, struggling to grasp anything, try and get some sugar water close to it.

If a bee has died, can it come back to life? Read on to find out.

Can a bee come back to life?

If a bee is actually dead, then no, it can’t be revived back to life. There are many insects that we like to think of as doing something akin to this; such as insects that can allow their whole body to freeze and then emerge many months later in the thaw. This is not death, though; just a state of deep hibernation.

The same is true of bees. They can go through many cycles that might appear dead, such as during the winter when they stay dormant in the hive. And, especially, they can often appear dead in the warmer months and can appear to have been brought back to life by sugar water.

This is not, strictly speaking, what is really happening, though. A bee may appear dead because it is so tired and even so close to death. They have a remarkable ability to recover from apparent death, as they spring back to life after appearing dead.

But, strictly speaking, this isn’t being brought back to life in a literal sense. They’re simply being given a pick me up.

So, how can you tell if a bee is really dying? Let’s take a look.

How do you know a bee is dying?

Bee life is quite short, so don’t worry that every bee you see dying indicates the downfall of the species. They’re certainly in a real fix and need help, but you should still know when a bee is simply at the end of its life.

One external factor that can be fatal for bees is getting wet. However it happens, it can make it impossible for them to fly away and get back to their colonies. If you see a bee that’s very wet and not moving, you probably can guess it’s not at the end of its life. Move it to a warm, sunny spot, if possible, to dry out. Other obvious things to look for are injuries to the wings or legs.

If you can’t see anything obvious, it may just be at the end of its life. Put a drop of sugar water near it and let it make the decision itself. As much as we might all want to, we can’t save every bee. Do what you can.

About Grampa Beekeeper

Having spent a lifetime tending to bees, I now want to pass my knowledge onto the next generation of beekeepers. Beekeeping may not be fashionable, but it is my life long passion! From entrance excluders to packaged bee handling, I've got you covered! I'm not the best at writing, though, so bear with me!!