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Garden, Home and Garden

How To Revive Tired Bees With Sugar Water – 2022 Updated Guidance

bee sugar solution

Found a bee on the ground that seems too tired to fly? Here’s all you need to know on how to revive tired bees, updated for 2022.

Today I’m going to show you how to revive tired bees.  You see, I’m a big fan of the bees here at Moral Fibres, but our poor bees are in decline. Threatened because of neonicotinoid pesticide usage, habitat loss, and pollution, our fuzzy friends need all the help they can get.

It’s all well and good when the bees are buzzing around, doing their thing.  But have you ever seen a tired, struggling, or apparently dying or dead bee in your home or garden?  When I’ve seen bees like this I’ve always assumed that they were dying or dead.  Ever the optimist! However, the other day my other half told me they were not dying, just tired.  And that you can actually revive these bees quickly and easily using only sugar and water.

Let me first show you how to work out if your grounded bee actually does need assistance. And, once you’ve established that your bee is in trouble, how to then revive these tired bees. I’ll also show you some dos and don’ts for helping bees because our goal is to help, not harm the bees. We can inadvertently harm bees in our quest to help, so it’s important to be informed.

Firstly, Does The Bee Need Reviving?

First off, you need to decide whether the bee is actually in trouble or if it is just resting. In 2019 researchers at the Queen Mary University of London found that bumblebee queens actually spend a large proportion of their time resting on the ground.

In fact, the researchers found that bees rest for around 30 minutes on average, and occasionally up to 45 minutes. It appears that rest is a big part of the bumblebee life-cycle, particularly in early Spring. This means that if you do find a bee on the ground for an extended period of time, then in most cases there is nothing wrong with the bee, it just needs a little rest. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely relate to the bees!

Bumblebee queens normally rest in long grass and leaf litter, where they can hide from predators. However, due to our love of shortly mowed lawns and tidy gardens, it does get harder for bees to find such sheltered hiding spots.

Therefore, If you find a bumblebee queen resting on the road or on the pavement or in another busy area, then the best thing you can do for the bee is not to revive it or feed it anything but to simply move it. When it is safe to do so, you can gently move it into some grass or leaves, or onto a nearby bee-friendly flower. Failing that, a more sheltered location out of harm’s way would be sufficient.

How To Revive A Tired Bee

how to revive a dead or dying bee

If after 45 minutes, the bee is still on the ground then it may be genuinely exhausted. The best thing to do at this point is, if you can, pop the bee on a bee-friendly flower to give it time to build strength safely.

If you can’t find a flower, it is only at this point that you should intervene by offering an energy boost to the tired bee.

Thankfully it is pretty easy to revive tired and exhausted bees. A simple solution of sugar and water can work wonders in giving them the energy they need to fly away.

To create this energy drink to revive tired bees, the RSPB suggests mixing two tablespoons of white granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water.  Then place the sugar/water mix on a plate or spoon.  Do not add any more water otherwise, the bee could drown. 

Next place the bee on the plate or spoon, where it will have a little drink. Hopefully, this will help it to gather the energy it needs to fly back to its hive.

Once done drinking, the bee will either fly off or gather energy to fly away. If it doesn’t fly away immediately, pop the bee onto a bee-friendly flower, or in some grass, or leaves until it is ready to fly. If you can’t find any foliage, put it in a sheltered spot until it is ready.

The only other occasion when you should offer a bee this energy drink is if it has been caught in bad weather, and again, is struggling to fly.

Some Dos & Don’ts For Feeding Bees

tips for reviving tired bees

There are some dos and don’ts for reviving tired bees that you should always follow.

Never Offer Honey

Firstly, don’t be tempted to offer tired bees honey.  In most cases, honey isn’t suitable for bees. This is because a lot of honey is imported and may not always be right for native British bees. Honey from other hives can also spread fatal diseases, such as Foulbrood, amongst bee populations, so always stick to sugar.

Only Offer White Granulated Sugar To Tired Bees

Secondly, only ever offer white granulated sugar when you need to revive a bee. Never offer any other type of sugar. That includes brown sugar and demerara sugar as these are too hard for the bee to digest. Nor should you offer any artificial or diet sweeteners as these could also be harmful to bees. If you don’t have any white granulated sugar, then the best and safest option is to offer nothing at all.

Don’t Leave Sugar Water In Your Garden

And thirdly, and very importantly, do not leave any sugar-water solution sitting out in your garden for bees to drink from at their leisure.  Whilst you can make a bee drinking station for your garden, this should only be filled with plain water. Sugar water fills bees up, can prevent the bees from gathering precious pollen, and therefore could be detrimental to their health. It’s also bad for plants, as this would prevent bees from pollinating our plants.

Instead, use this sugar-water technique only in an emergency when a tired bee is clearly in need of reviving.  Think of it as bee CPR! You wouldn’t use CPR on someone who was just having a nap – so don’t offer sugar water if a bee has just been resting for a short period of time.

Thankfully I haven’t found any tired bees since learning this useful tip to try it out.  However, knowing some very basic “thirst aid” (!) for bees that are clearly in trouble can go a long way in helping out the bees to rebuild their depleted population sizes.

Why Are Bees Important?

Bees are crucial to help maintain the health of our environment, and our food supply. The Food And Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says thatclose to 75% of the world’s crops producing fruits and seeds for human consumption depend, at least in part, on pollinators for sustained production, yield, and quality“. This means without bees, we would struggle to feed ourselves.

Being able to revive tired bees is one key aspect. Another bee-friendly step that you can take is to plant a bee-friendly garden. Or, if you don’t have a garden, here’s how you can help the bees in other ways.

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how to revive tired bees
Children, Families, Garden, Home and Garden

Gardening With Kids: Tips & Ideas To Encourage Green Fingers

Want to help develop your kids’ love of nature, and their green fingers?  Here are some easy tips and ideas for gardening with kids, to get your children into growing their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

I have my fingers crossed for good weather this weekend.  You see, I’d really like to get out into the garden with my daughter and start growing some vegetables with her.  It’s never too early to start showing children where the food we eat comes from.  I’m also desperately hoping that growing her own vegetables will help stave off that common toddler hatred of anything vegetable-based!

I’ve put a lot of prepping into creating a kid-friendly garden, so here are my top tips when it comes to gardening with children.

What Can I Grow In A Garden For Kids?

Image of kids gardening with blue text box that says gardening basics for kids to encourage green fingers.

If you’re as keen as I am to get out in your garden and do some gardening, then first things first, you might be wondering what the best fruit and vegetables are to grow with kids? The good news is that there are lots of things to grow with kids.

Fruit and vegetables-wise, it’s best to grow produce that is both easy to sow and grow, and that will grow quickly once you’ve planted the seeds. You really do need to see shoots quickly to keep their interest!

My favourite vegetables to grow with kids are fast-sprouting veggies like lettuce, radishes, carrots, and peas, which are easy and fun to grow.

Other things to consider are:

  • what fruit and vegetables will they realistically eat. Courgettes are quick and easy to grow, but will your kid even entertain the idea of eating a courgette?
  • fruit and vegetables that you can eat directly after picking are good choices. A lot of fun in growing your own is the picking and the eating. Having to cook something before eating it can take away some of the joy of growing for kids. Peas and strawberries are always a treat to grow, and fun to pick. And they’re even more fun to eat straight from the plant on a warm summer day!
  • are there things that you grow in your garden that will give you a continual crop for minimum effort and maximum reward? Soft fruits, like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc, will all continue to fruit throughout their growing season. This means your kid can go out into the garden and pick fruit on a regular basis.g
  • If you’ve got a small garden or if you rent, then consider what can easily be grown in containers. Potatoes are easy to grow in containers, and it’s always great fun harvesting your potatoes as it’s quite a muddy job!

What About Flowers When Gardening With Kids?

Of course, you don’t just have to grow fruit and vegetables. Flowers-wise, sweet peas and sunflowers and fun and fast to grow. You can even have a sunflower growing competition.

Use wooden lolly sticks to write each kid’s name on them. After you’ve planted the sunflower seeds, pop the sticks in the ground so they know which sunflower belongs to which person. Then have a competition to see who can grow the tallest. I would grow your sunflowers near a fence or wall for a bit of support, but if that’s not possible you may need some canes to help support them as they grow taller and taller.

Butterfly and bee-friendly plants are also fun to plant and grow when gardening with kids. Especially as kids get the thrill of spotting visitors to their garden.

I have some raised beds to make planting easy for my little ‘un. However, you could also use tubs or trugs, or even just dedicate a small area of your garden for planting.

Useful Tools When Gardening With Kids

Although you don’t need any fancy gear to get out into the garden with your kids (in fact, the older the clothes the better!), there are a few useful tools that make gardening with kids a little easier.  

Here are a few things I have my eye on that would be great for gardening with kids:

From clockwise:

gardening with kids equipment

Kids Metal Watering Can* (£9.89) – from eBay. I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t love watering plants.  Invest in a mini watering can for little ones and make a certain area of the garden their patch for keeping well watered. This metal watering can is recyclable with metal waste at the end of its life, meaning it won’t go to landfill, like plastic watering cans which are non-recyclable.

Bug Hotel* (£18.99) – from Not On The High Street. A bug hotel attracts bees, ladybirds, lacewings, and other minibeasts to your garden. This helps to naturally eradicate any hungry aphids that might want to eat your precious vegetables, and will also pollinate your vegetables too.  Children will adore looking for ladybirds and other minibeasts.  And a top tip. You don’t need to buy a bug hotel. Instead, you can also create your own bug hotel by leaving an area of the garden wild and unweeded, with logs and stones piled up.

Kids hand tools* (£16.95)  – from Not On The High Street. Investing in a set of kid’s hand tools makes gardening easier to manage for small hands. These ones are made from FSC approved wood and metal.

Kids Gardening Gloves* (£3.39) – from eBay. These will help protect little hands from thorns and other garden nasties, as well as helping to make clean-up time a little easier!

What If You Don’t Have A Garden?

Even if you don’t have a garden, there are plenty of things you can grow in window boxes and on your windowsill.  

Fresh herbs are quick, simple, and cheap to grow. This is a useful resource for growing herbs with kids.  

Chilli plants work well indoors, as do avocados (which are a lot of fun to watch growing). And there are always old favourites like cress and mustard, which are fun to grow in eggshells. These only take a few days to grow and can be eaten in sandwiches or in salads.  

I also heartily recommend growing snow pea shoots. They’re lots of fun to grow and grow really quickly.

Another fun thing to grow with kids is vegetables from food scraps food. Certain vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, onions, and garlic will regrow from the bits that you would normally throw away. It will blow your kid’s mind!

If you have any advice on gardening with kids or other suggestions of what to grow then do let me know in the comment below!