In early spring, bumble bees are out foraging in weather that would keep honey bees in their hive.  The brave, fluffy queen bumbles need food to increase their bee colony, often found at the bottom of a hedge or underground in some rough grass.  If the weather turns suddenly cold or wet, this can catch the bumbles out and they lack the strength to get airborne and return home.  If you see a queen bumble bee who doesn’t fly away when you approach, she needs your help.   Transfer her to a twig and take her indoors.  Mix up a tiny spoon of honey or sugar with a little water and put this into a saucer.  Sit the twig across the saucer and the queen should find the food.  She will feed for 20 or 30 minutes and you can get up close to see her tongue lapping up the mixture, then cleaning herself.   Take the saucer with the queen still on it and find a sheltered spot outside to place it down, so she can fly home.

Freya Baxter

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