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Discovered a Frozen Bumble Bee, any tips on what to do?


Total Posts: 1

Joined 2012-12-04


We’ve been having unusually warm days and bitter-cold nights this year, and this guy appeared to have injured his leg and gotten caught by the sudden temperature drop….
It can get below freezing here and I was afraid he might not make it through the night, so I took him inside in hopes of releasing him this afternoon when it gets warmer.

I know he’s not a honeybee. ( I’m suspecting he may be a Griseocollis Bumble Bee. )
I’ve heard that Bumble Bees may not even make it through the Winter as Honey Bees do… yet ( I assume ) they are still social creatures and would be discontent in solitary, not to mention all the other reasons why they are best left in the wild.
That being said, I’m trying to figure out what the healthiest thing to do for this little guy is.
It’s supposed to get up to 70 at the hottest point of the day, for a brief period; after that, the chillier weather is meant to return and remain for the next week. Would his best chance be for me to let him go at that time and hope for the best, or should I continue caring for him until it warms up? ( I know that bees need a large range of area to travel, but the largest enclosure I have at the moment is a 15 gallon. )

I have no idea how close or far away his hive is, and the temperature can drop easily and suddenly at any moment, as well as differ 10-15 degrees just by going into a different valley, meaning that wherever he’s from it may be in the 60’s-50’s.

Any advice is welcome and appreciated; thank-you so much for your time!


Total Posts: 321

Joined 2012-05-24


Hello Hemlock,

Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your interesting Post.
From your choice of words and the temperatures and geography you describe, I guess maybe you are not writing from the UK ! ?

It would be of great help if you were able to let us see a photo of your “bee guest”.

Once you have posted an item on the Forum (as you have already done) you can add a photo by choosing the ‘Edit Post’ button; and ‘Choose File’: but the picture will have to be slimmed down to 300KB, or below in file-size.

Meanwhile, if your “bee-guest” is still alive, you could offer it some sugar solution to keep it going.  Just a drop or two of 30 - 60% strength sugar in water will do. (Wetting a tiny pile of sugar grains with enough water to fill the air voids between the grains will be around right ! )  You should be able to watch the bee put it’s tongue out to take the syrup.

My experience from being involved with both honey bees and bumblebees is that they need temperatures of about 40F (~8C) or above to be able to fly and then make it home: but bumblebees will be a fair bit more cold tolerant than honey bees - (they have much denser fur, which insulates them better).

I do hope you can let us see a picture of your “guest” !

Yours             Clive


Total Posts: 101

Joined 2012-05-31



thank you for giving us the chance to learn about bumblebees outside of the UK.
Here is a little information about Bombus griseocollis from the Natural History Museum website.
It’s common name is the Brown-belted bumblebee and it is classified within the subgenus Cullumanobombus.
It is distributed in the West and East Nearctic which is North America (US and Canada) and Greenland. I wonder why it is absent from the middle or maybe its occurrence there is implied?


regards, elaine


Total Posts: 101

Joined 2012-05-31


Hello again

just found another link to its distribution in North America