How to Save a Bee in Distress​

Bees are an essential part of our environment. Whether the word “bee” makes you think of honey or the pain of being stung, you should do your best to help bees.

It isn’t second nature for us to know how to help a bee. With simple knowledge to hand, though, you could make a big difference to bee welfare with the below information.

How Do You Know When a Bee Is in Trouble?

A bee sitting quietly on a flower might just be resting. A bee that found its way into your kitchen might just be lost. A bee that looks beat up, with less hair and even a missing limb, might just be old. How, then, does one know when to help?

To make things easier, here are some instances when a bee might be in trouble:

  • Unusual location despite warm and sunny weather
  • Wet and unable to fly
  • Lying on its back

Perched in an Unusual Spot Despite Good Weather

If you find a bee in an unusual place, such as perched on your porch, then something might be amiss. The bee is most likely tired and even a little thirsty. In such a case, that bee is certainly in need of your help.

Be on the lookout for a bee in a location without any flowers nearby, especially in the cool shade. This isn’t a usual locale for a bee.

Wet and Unable to Fly

It’s not unusual to find a bee that’s been caught out in the rain. They’re able to fly in light rain, but it’s not their ideal flying conditions. Heavier rainfall, however, is terrible for bees as big drops of water can break their wings and reduce their ability to fly drastically. Low temperatures will also render them unable to fly. In such cases, the bee needs your help.

A Bee Lying on Its Back

One sure sign that a bee is exhausted is that it is on its back. Bees don’t rest on their backs. So if you find a downed bee on its back with its legs in the air, then that bee needs help. Unfortunately, finding dead bees on their backs covered in pollen is not uncommon. This can occur for many reasons, such as exhaustion or fertilizer/chemical poisoning. However, many are found still alive.

It may sleep on its side, but this is usually only in the hive where it has the support of its fellow colony members.

How to Help a Bee in Trouble

There are a few things you can do to save a bee in trouble:

  • Indoor care
  • Feed it sugar-water
  • Set it free

Take the Bee Inside

The first thing to do when you’ve ascertained a bee needs help is to take it inside. Room temperature is perfect for bees in recovery mode. 

If the bee is wet and cold, it’s a good idea to make them warmer by putting them on your body, or in a well-ventilated shoebox with a little blanket.

Feed the Bee Sugar-Water

Sometimes, all a bee needs is a little food to give it the energy boost to be on its way. Don’t use honey to feed a bee, even if it’s organic honey. 

If the honey isn’t from its colony, it can catch viruses from it. To be safe, use sugar water to feed the bee. The ideal recipe is one part water, two parts cane/beet sugar. A little bit of that might be all the bee needs to recover.

Don’t leave sugar water out, however. Doing this might make bees leave plants, which provide the much-needed pollen, but be attracted to the sugar-water instead.

Set Them Free

As cute as those little guys are, you can’t keep a bee forever. It needs to get back to its colony. Give the bee some time to recuperate, and keep it inside in the warmth if it’s raining or dark outside. 

Once the sun comes out, it’s time to let it go. You’ve done your part as a bee savior; now it’s time to let the bee spread its wings and head home.


Bees are adorable and useful little guys, so it’s important to be their hero whenever you can. Use our advice to make sure that you do it right and keep your rescued bee safe and ready to rejoin its colony in no time.

Try not to interfere with a bee unless you’re sure it needs help. Look out for the indicators we’ve mentioned as a type of checklist before lending it your aid.

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