Please could someone explain:

I have planted a large deep lavender border where we are enjoying the many bees and butterflies visiting on a daily basis. However, I am noticing that daily a number of dead bees is this normal? Currently there must be at least 2 dozen dead bees and a few are appearing to be very lethargic and crawling around the grass before they expire. If someone could kindly let me if they have experienced anything similar.



  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Bumblebees or honeybees or both?

    I have noticed a fair number of dead or dying bumblebees over the last few days. I just put it down to their short lifespan. I live in a national  park surrounded by sheep and grassland. No obvious source for pesticides to attack them. I garden organically and with as little human intervention as possible. We are a fair distance apart so no link there.

    I haven't seen dead honeybees but there are so few of them around these days it's hard t tell.

    If you are finding dead honeybees contact your local beekeepers' assocation. They will be glad to hear from you.

  • It's so sad to see so many bees dying.  Just a word of cheer!  Yesterday I

    went to a farm shop which also sells lots of potted plants for the garden.  I

    don't think I've ever seen so many of the big bumble bees in one place - the

    flowers were absolutely humming with them and there wasn't a dead bee in sight.

    At least lots of people are trying to help bees now, which is good, but I just wish 

    the experts could find out what is causing so many of them to die nowadays.

  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    We have had the odd dead bumble bee,but there still seem masses around and they seem much larger than normal.

    Was,nt there some sort of bumble bee disease around last year?is this still about perhaps?.

  • Many thanks

    Waterbutt I will email our local beekeeping association as tonight there are a few more fatalities...... I have never seen so many dead bees before in the garden before we are quite rural. Maybe it is to do with their short lifespan..

  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 531

    Thinking of the devastating bee colony failures that started to occur a few years ago I've been really pleased recently to see just how many more bees have been in my garden this year compared to previous years... Then yesterday I found a bee looking very sluggish and wondered whether there was something serious happening again or whether it was just 'having a rest'.

    I've also wondered about  bees being adversely affected by extreme heat - We did have several weeks of unusually high temperatures recently. I know they can get dehydrated.

    I remember a few years back I found an almost comatose bee and suspected dehydration because of the heat. I mixed a tiny amount of honey in a teaspoon of tepid water and poured a little pool of this homemade 'nectar' next to the bee. I then gently nudged the bee up to the pool until it could feel the liquid with its antennae. After much immobility (the bee!)  I was so gratified to see it eventually take interest. I was absolutely thrilled when, literally within minutes, it had recovered and flew away. 

    This may not be what's been happening to the many deadbees StillLearning found but it is a 'feel good' story that might help other 'thirsty bees who just can't find enough nectar to sustain the immense energy usage they expend in just flying!



  • Yes this last week I have found 2 dead bee's on the path, 2 on the cosmos & I mean on the cosmos in the centre of the flower. Bizzare that they died whilst filling their boots. I just hope they died happy.

    Also  I found one in the greenhouse a couple of day's ago, I feel guilty but I did not see if when I closed the door the night before. The morning after I noticed it sat on the bench alive but exhausted I managed to get it to walk onto a plant label and placed it outside on the monarda, a couple of hours later it was dead.

    I'm sure that's cheered you all up no end, But I feel better for my little confession. image


  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 531

    I posted this on another thread but it relates to this one too:

    Found this huge (about an inch long) bumble bee hidden at the base of my recovering bay tree.






    It was very lethargic and possibly ill.  It has a red bottom which is not completely clear on the photo. It seemed uninterested in the honeyed water I gave it In case it was dehydrated.

    Later I couldn't see it - I hope it recovered and flew off.



  • steephillsteephill Posts: 502

    It is a cuckoo bee. Very interesting creatures but not if you are a bumble bee.image All part of life though.

  • they crawl around in grass to get the moisture off the grass and sometimes they will land on you (if you let them) to drink the moisure off your skin. 

    Honeybees often go to the same place to die (I think this is when they kick the drones out, but not certain), maybe there is a hive near you.

  • I too have seen quite a few dead bees and like one of the previous posts, actually on the flowers, ie cosmos.  On a positive note, have had loads of bees in the garden this year - they love the cosmos at this time of the year.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    I have a Ligularia which is in full flower and it has loads of bees on it every day which is lovely, but sometimes they do look as if they're resting/sleeping. Hope they're not having their Last Supper....image 

    Have a huge buddleia just bursting into flower so I'm hoping to see lots of activity there now.

  • i also have had lots of dead bees on the ground.. very worried about.. and also have had hundreds of large bumblebees also in the garden.. in fact it is only them i have seen on my runner bean plants..

    thou i did see a honey bee today seem to be covred allover in white fur.. not seen one like that before..

  • scotkatscotkat Posts: 196

    Yesterday at Glamis walled garden .

    We noticed dead bees on the eringium bushes today.

    Is this normal?


  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    Was,nt it some kind of mite that was infesting Bumble Bees?

    I am sure there was a programme on about it recently and it showed a mite that could be seen under a magnifying glass on the underside of the bee which had killed it.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    I've just watched some of that programme Gilly but I thought it was mainly honey bees that were infected. Will  watch it again. There's been lots of posts here recently about 'sleepy' looking bees beside or on different plants. Hope this isn't the effects of these damn chemical pesticides kicking in. image

  • GillyLGillyL Posts: 1,077

    You may be right Fairygirl,please let me know.

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Honey bees do die if their hive is infested with varroa mites. Varroa mites suck the "blood" of the bees.

    I think that the mites which can sometimes be seen on bumblebees (often in large numbers) are phoretic mites. Phoretic mites use the bumblebees to transport them to another place and do not harm the bumblebees. There is even a theory that the mites clean the bumblebees during the journey.

    There may be other, parasitic, mites which do kill the bumblebees but the sleepy ones that I have seen have no mites on them at all.

    It is all very odd.image

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    All very odd as you say wb. You're right - Varroa mites are the ones- couldn't recall the name. I have loads of different bees in the garden now with the buddleia bursting into bloom so I'll  keep an eye out to see if I can spot any changes in  behaviour or any deaths. image

  • scotkatscotkat Posts: 196

    Uploaded with


    Uploaded with

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Yep, that looks pretty much like mine do. 

    I know they don't live long, just a matter of weeks. Do you think that they could all have been born during a very productive period for the queen bumblebee (in the recent hot weather) and have all reached the end of their normal lifespan at the same time?

Sign In or Register to comment.