Friday, 2 May 2014

Busy, busy, busy


I'm having a bit of trouble with technology this morning, so I cannot get the picture I wanted (of the life-saving exercise on a bumble-bee) out of my phone and on to here, so I've used this one instead. John will like it, anyway.

This is a bloody good trick, and the perfect feel-good activity which produces almost instant gratification. I learnt it years ago just by trying it out.

At this time of year, the solitary bumble-bees are either foraging for nectar, or buzzing around looking for a small hole to make a nest. This makes them very inquisitive, and they tend to let themselves into places from which they don't have the wit to escape by retracing their flight-paths.

After about 12 hours of bashing against a window and flying around in circles, they start to collapse and you find them - barely moving - on the point of expiry, dehydrated and starving to death. The reason they bash against windows so much is that they navigate using their ability to detect the polarisation of sunlight. They keep track of the moving sun by being aware of where the light-source is emanating from.

I found one such stricken bumble - one of those with the red arses - in my workshop yesterday, and I think it had a matter of hours to live, so I went to my neighbour and borrowed his pot of honey, kept for just this purpose. I promised him I would return anything that the bee did not eat.

You take a twig and mix some of the honey with a little water, then offer it to the bumble. It smells it in an instant, sticks its long proboscis into the mix and starts sucking vigorously - red arse going up and down with the pumping.

Within about three minutes, it had perked up to its old, energetic self and it took off like a bomber into the blue yonder as I watched it fade into the distance whilst fighting back self-satisfied waves of emotion.

The honey - obviously - gives it the strength, and the water rehydrates it. You can actually watch the wings re-inflate in seconds.

Try it, if you haven't already. It's a good way of kidding yourself that you do have a purpose after all.

47 comments:

  1. Last year, I bought some beeswax candles from the net, and as soon as I had unwrapped them and put them on the table, several bees came in through the open window and landed right on them. They must have a highly developed sense of smell.

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  2. Hello Tom:

    Now this is one trick [and we do know many!!] which we were not aware of. We have revived bees by gently blowing on them, but this sounds altogether better and probably more long lasting.

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    1. Well I have not tried blowing on a bee either, so maybe I've learnt something too. Giving a bee the kiss of life has never occurred to me.

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    2. Lady Hattatts is right ..I used to do this when I was a kid with waterlogged bees

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    3. I suppose that growing up in Wales as you did, you had never heard of hair-driers?

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    4. No electricity...........

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    5. ...but lots of heavy panting...

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    6. Did you mean: 'wear' me glasses?

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  3. If no twig was available, would toast be OK?

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    1. I've tried toast, and they just uncouthly lick it off. Gratitude.

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  4. I must try it vis a vis your final paragraph.

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  5. I love you for that: hard shell, soft core.

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    1. I am a bit worried about that gesture you are making with your finger and thumb in your avatar, Britta. You've never seen it - how do you know?

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    2. "Can't you see the witch by my side, the witch by my side, the wi... trallalla".

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    3. Now I'm worried - again...

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  6. I'll just call you David Attenborough from now on ….. what with the baby robin's as well !! I often see sluggish bees in our house at this time of year. I just pick them up and put them outside …. I didn't know about the honey and water trick. I think that you're a bit of a John Gray on the quiet !! XXXX

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    1. HOW VERY DARE YOU!!!!!!!!

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    2. YES - HOW VERY DARE SHE????

      I'll have you know that John and I have never (yet) met.

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    3. I just meant that you are both very kind, have a soft spot for animals and big hearts….. THAT'S HOW VERY DARE I !!!!!!!!!!

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    4. Keep out of it, Norfolk-pants.

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    5. I am going to bitch slap that yokel

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    6. Is a bitch slap more painful than a standard 'ole regular slap John ?

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    7. I think I can help here - it's less painful but more humiliating, for both parties.

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  7. We raise honey bees and although I once was quite afraid of them I now garden happily side by side with them. But I am not telling them of your heroic measures or I am sure they would all leave me for time abroad with Sweet Tom.

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    1. I would a bit nervous about 2000 of them landing on me, but one or two bumbles are ok. They do sting, though. I have been stung by one, but only because I didn't know it was there.

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    2. Do you remember flying suits in the '80's ? H.I. will. I had a bumble bee fly into my flying suit and, because he couldn't get out, he stung me ….. it bloody well hurt !!…… and, I remember being up the pub in the Summer and telling my friend not to be such a wimp when bees were buzzing around her when we were having lunch ' al fresco ' then, the next day when gardening, one flew up my shorts and stung me !!!! XXXX

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  8. This is about the only life saving thing I am capable of doing Tom. I certainly could not give the kiss of life to that thing in the photograph.

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    1. Neither could I, but I'm not sure I could give the kiss of life to anyone. It's the way they vomit in your mouth which is the big turn-off for me. Let them die, I say.

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  9. I will remember this good advice, thankyou.

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    1. Maybe this post has saved more bees than I ever could in one lifetime. That's an even more pleasing thought.

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  10. I popped over here from Britta's blog to see what she was talking about. Super! I love the idea of you saving that bumblebee with honey and water. I, too, blew on waterlogged bees as a child, and invariably, the ungrateful little buggers would sting me before they flew off. I think I like the idea of a twig better. Gets a little more distance between me and the bee. (Yep, I was dumb enough to hold 'em in the palm of my hand...)

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    1. I love your name - it sounds like a drum-riff. Please come again!

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    2. It's not a name it's a film company

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    3. Or an anagram involving - somehow - spiders?

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  11. What a great idea - thank Tom - never heard of this before.

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    1. Next time I see him, I'll pass on your thanks.

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    2. I'm so tired I forgot the 's'

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    3. Stick your proboscis into some honey and water.

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  12. I've just shown them the door myself, no resuscitation offered. How unkind. Did you feed the bee outdoors, or was it able to find the door after your ministrations?

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    1. Outside. It had had enough of my optical maze by then.

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  13. Whilst I love bees, especially Honey Bees, I am allergic to their stings and so, have to carry an epi pen. Sweet things but I can't even eat honey.

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