a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Bumble bee rescue


Yesterday was the first day that it had not rained for some time.  The temperature was still low for the time of the year and when I went into the garden to check out the comings and goings in the Wisteria I found a bumble bee prostrate on the fallen flower heads.  It was not dead but it was certainly not very perky.  I guessed she was cold and hungry.

I brought her inside and made up a sugar and water solution and waited until she warmed up a bit.  I put the sugar and water in a saucer as I thought it would be easy for her to reach.

It was, but the saucer was really slippery and she could not grip well.  I’ll have to improve this technique if I use it again.  Perhaps an unglazed pot would have given her a bit of grip.

Definitely a spot of solution on something rough is required.

The warmth was working and she took the sugar solution.  It was really interesting seeing the tongue for the first time. The tongue is red and feathery at the end which is good to soak up the nectar.  Usually the tongue is kept safe inside a sheath which is tucked under its head when not feeding.

The sugar solution replenished her energy level and she was ready for the off!

But beforehand a good grooming session was needed while hanging from the Saxifraga.

The hind hairs are still a bit damp but she is able to start normal feeding.

A little less fluffy but a lot more active!

Bumble bees are gentle creatures and are not aggressive but the queens and females do possess a sting which they can use defensively.

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

9 thoughts on “Bumble bee rescue

  1. Beautiful post. What an amazing feat to witness.


  2. That was beautiful. So glad you were able to save her.


  3. Lovely photos and a great rescue. We have many bees around us and I love seeing them, I’m not sure of their type but it’s good to see them here.


  4. How clever of you to know what to do to help the bee; I may have to try somethign like this for those that enter the greenhouse and then can’t seem to find the door again. I’ll try to take more images of the different bees that visit my garden so we can compare. Christina


    • I think the bees are fascinating. I am completely besotted by the bumble bees but I have mason bees in the garden and the huge carpenter bees with their blue black wings are always around. I see different bees when I walk in the woods. It is difficult to identify them but I try and I suppose you get better with practice.


  5. Pingback: A smile on a cloudy day? | a french garden

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