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Due to the often frantic lives that bees can lead, they may find themselves getting injured from time to time. It is an unfortunate fact! However, there’s a common query that many bee fanatics ask when it comes to common injuries – can bees grow their wings back?
Sadly, no, bees cannot grow their wings back. Bees can damage, tear and even lose their wings if they are attacked, but it’s impossible for them to regrow them after such an event.
While bees can often look after each other in the hive, there are things you can do if you spot an injured bee in your yard or garden. Keep reading, and we’ll let you know the best action to take.
Is it common for bees to lose their wings?
Not always, unless they are suffering from certain conditions or illnesses – but it is true that bee wings can and do wear down over time. This can impact the way they conduct themselves, as well as on how they hunt and forage for food. Foster and Cartar’s fascinating study goes into more detail.
Therefore, sadly, once a bee’s wings are wearing down, it is likely that it will be reaching the end of its lifespan. It may be losing its wing density due to age, or due to erratic behaviour.
What should I do if I find a bee that can’t fly?
If you find a grounded bumblebee, you need to take caution. In fact, the best thing you can do is warm them up! In most cases, a grounded bee that is unable to fly may be sick, or may be elderly.
In some cases, you won’t be able to save a bee that’s grounded – especially if they are infected – but a grounded queen, for example, may simply be tired. It may be that she is in need of food and warmth, in which case, you can take gentle steps to nurse her around to full health.
Carefully pick up a grounded bee with a sheet of card or paper and keep them in a warm area. You’ll then need to try and revive them with a little sugar water.
It’s a good idea to try and mix a little white, granulated sugar with water (two tablespoons sugar to one tablespoon water) in an attempt to revive.
You can gently deliver this in the form of a clean dropper or pipette close to them. Some experts also suggest splitting the mix 50/50.
Remember, never give bees brown sugar – we go into a little more detail in our guide!
It’s a good idea to gently feed a grounded bee, as too much sugar water will overwhelm them. With any luck, the grounded bee will build up enough strength to feed, and gradually fly away.
Otherwise, it may be worth finding a bright, bee-friendly flower that you can bring to the insect. This may inspire them to take flight!
What you must remember, of course, is to be patient. Sadly, it is not always possible to revive grounded bees, in which case, all you can do is your best.
Why is it important to look after grounded bees
While you may not be able to save 100% of the bees you find, if you are able to save one, you are making a huge difference to the ecosystem. If you manage to save a queen, too, you’re effectively saving a legion of bees – wouldn’t that be amazing?
Every bee you save is important. As they help to pollinate and make nectar, they have a very important place in the food chain. Not so much that they are viable prey, of course, but they help to keep plants and flowers growing, as well as to continue making honey in their nests and hives. Without them, we would likely notice that our food supply – as well as that for scores of other creatures – starts to deplete.
It is a sad fact that, unfortunately, many bee species are endangered. In fact, the American bumblebee, in particular, is close to needing protection from the Endangered Species Act.
Therefore, as careful gardeners and cultivators, we must all do our part to protect bees – if you see a grounded insect, gently guide it back to health if you can!
Unfortunately, bees will never grow their wings back. However, that’s not to say you won’t be able to help them if you find them grounded or unable to fly.
Be sure to follow our advice above – and remember to treat bees with respect! While they are unlikely to attract you, a bee sting can get through clothing – so take care out there.