On May 4, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, I found this queen carpenter bee on the ground by my back door. She was struggling and it didn’t look like she would survive. So I moved her to a safe place in the yard and kept watch. As the evening chill came on, I moved her to a box in the house. She accepted some sugar water and got strong enough to walk several laps around the box, interacting with her surroundings.
This video shows her after a little nap, still moving pretty slowly. It was hard to tell if she was injured or not, or if she would make it through the night.
Overnight she found a comfortable place to be, and remained there without much movement. But the house was chilly, so positioned the piano lamp over the box and the warmth of the light made her mover head around but did not move from her resting place. On this “throne” that she found, she was able to curl her body around underneath her. I presumed this is how she would live in her nest. It appeared that she fell from the nest above my back door, so perhaps she is old and it was time for her to die. I don’t know. But I made her some breakfast and waited to see what would happen.
Video above is the little bee having supper. That evening I brought her box outside and she fairly quickly climbed halfway up the side of the box as soon as she felt the fresh air. But it was too cold out to see if she’s ready to leave. I felt that she needed to be stronger.
One of my friends following the story on Facebook suggested that I find her a flower so she could get some pollen. So, that’s what I did. At this point, I needed some advice. I brought the little creature out into the sun, and she started grabbing her wings, until she couldn’t hold onto them anymore. They started flapping and buzzing. So I brought her back int the dark and the buzzing stopped. She continued climbing all over the flower. I think it was a good experience that gave her some strength, but ws concerned that she still wasn’t strong enough to survive if she flew off. With her wings buzzing like they did, she could certainly have taken flight. My friends suggested that I find a beekeeper, so I did!
Joanne came over and looked at my bee and thought she was doing really well. She brought me some honey and a little piece of a honey comb that the little queen took to right away.
After a cold weekend, at the advice of the beekeeper, we built a wooden house for moving the queen outside. The goal is that she will build her nest in this rather than in my house. I moved her into the new house and put all her stuff in the house for her, but it seemed like she was going to need some additional time getting used to the new place. At least overnight.
The peg coming out of the side of the house is a hole the size of a carpenter bee nest. My son Dale made the house, and made the hole an L shaped tunnel just like a carpenter bee would make. Once we remove the peg from the side of the house, she’ll be able to get out on her own. Then the house will go into the back yard near the reeds, and hopefully she will be able to attract her colony back to her nest, and pollinate the beautiful purple flowers that live in my back yard.
The story continues…
Please read about carpenter bees, and help save these valuable pollenators.
If you don’t want to share your home with them, there are simple ways to give them a home right near yours. They are wonderful pollinators, and we need them to survive.
Here’s another article that will help you decide to keep your carpenter bees, or help find them a new home.