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Collecting cold bees

I wanted to share this with you as it might be helpful to a new keeper or I might be doing something bad (pls let me know!). Weather here in UK has been unusually cold but with warm sunny spells this spring leaving some bees caught out and kind of cold comatose outside the hive when returning. Not wanting the hard work of rearing them to go to waste ( and because I love the little critters), I’ve been collecting any that fall prey to this and that look in good condition and warming them on my hand or thigh. They soon go from apparently dead to flying back to the hive. It’s very satisfying helping tens of bees a night in this way. Does anyone else do this? Is it bad for the hive?


My husband has been know to do it. I generally don’t do it (too much hard work for me, when the queen is laying 2,000 eggs per day anyway), but I don’t think it is bad for the hive if the bees are not diseased (deformed wing virus, for example).

If you like doing it, I don’t see any harm in it. :blush:

Cheers. Got my daughter doing it today too. She was enthralled. The bee woke up, spent ages drinking sugar water from the palm of her hand then flew back to the hive. Something to brag to her mates at school!

I do this often- if I see sluggish bee on the ground I scoop it int a cupped hand and blow hot air on it for a minute- they start to buzz and flap their wings and take right off. A few weeks ago a bee landed on my partners windowsill at night. I give it some honey to get it through the night. In the morning it was still there- she cupped it- heated it- and swoosh- it was away.

That’s cool…I watched hours of you tube videos before I got bees. Some mention temperature but none mention rescuing bees this way. I wanted to mention it because I wrote off quite a few Buckfast bees before I stumbled on this solution, which no doubt set my hive back quite a few times…I hope a new keeper will find this discussion early enough not to get dejected when they first encounter bees like this… mine looked stone dead then flew off. It was an amazing feeling!

Yesterday late afternoon it was pretty chilly here in Seattle, though we put on sweaters and were sitting near our hives-observing the behavior of our newly installed swarm…at least ten bees came and landed on my hands, ear, and once my cheek-and just sat there pumping their abdomen for a minute or two before heading into the hive. This has never happened to me before, just random landing-not a regular thing. My husband was (a bit) jealous, as they ignored him entirely. I wondered if it because I use a borage butter skin cream on my face? I figured they were warming up after getting a drink of water and took a break halfway back to the hive.

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