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Lady Leafctuuer Bee - Orange Tail - Rescued

Discussion in 'Nature' started by MarkB1, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    These pix were taken as my flash was dying but I couldn't take the time to change anything, so some exposures are not the best, especially some with fill.

    I found her in a bucket of water I leave at the end of the garden and scooped her up to see if she would recover with a little help.

    She was exhausted from the effort to get out of the water and her temperature would have been below what is required for optimal operation of the system, but that’s a part of the effort she makes to survive, it also keeps her ‘warm’ in the cold water – while she dies from exhaustion.

    I put her to a flower big enough to hold her while I gave her a little honey for energy. She then, after a sup of the honey, spent the next hour cleaning it off her. The honey had mixed with the water and she was covered in it, must have been sticky, I sprayed her with a mist of water a few times that seemed to help.

    For a while she was gripping my skin so she could shake her body of the wet, a gentle grip.

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    Towards the end I was watching closely as she seemed to be preparing to take off and a car came in the driveway, I looked up and she flew away and I didn't see. Can't have everything. :) 
    • Like Like x 13
  2. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    Beautiful stuff Mark, as always :) . My respect for you as a person has quadrupled.
  3. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Awesome macro shots, and remarkable for your effort to save this little creature! Great job!
  4. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    Nice story and a fabulous photo set.
  5. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    Stunning images there. For any future rescues, avoid the honey (they don't like it so much and as you discovered it's sticky !) and try a bit of sugar water instead. About 1:1 sugar to water should be fine.
  6. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    +1 - In the third shot it's as if she cocked her head to look at you. Amazing photos! Good for you! :bravo-009:
  7. Buddy

    Buddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 27, 2012
    Very cool pics and yeah the 3rd shot is great!, it's like she saying " Hey Thanks" !:2thumbs:
  8. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    Thanks guys, not my best work but I loved the sequence too.

    Blue. They do love honey, and it is more nutritious for them, it's just being covered in it they have difficulty with. The trouble with sugar water in the same situation is as it dries the sugar crystallizes while the honey remains liquid.
  9. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    Hi Mark. Here in the UK the advice is to not feed honey to bees at all. This comes from beekeepers (who feed their colonies with sugar water and will occasionally feed with honey *but only from the bee's own hive*), and is also the advice given by wildlife oragnisations, eg RSPB, for the public when they find an exhausted bee.

    If the sugar is well dissolved then it should not be crystallising out that fast.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. MarkB1

    MarkB1 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 30, 2010
    G'day Blue. I understand that in the UK (and other places) they are terrified of cross contamination, because of Colony Collapse, mites and other issues affecting modern beekeeping that the so-called experts don't seem to fully understand and when looking for solutions never consider the industrialisation of beekeeping itself may be the problem.

    I never use sugar, it being devoid of any nutrient but carbohydrate, which really just burns up other nutritional reserves to have its effect. But like potent drugs has its place in an emergency, I'm not saying it shouldn't be used if that's what you've got.

    The native bees I give honey to here in Oz are robust creatures, mostly solitary/nomadic and I only use it to give them a boost in need, occasionally I will use it stop an ever moving creature for a shot and I doubt honey is any more of a threat to them than all the other stuff we urbanites put into our environment. In fact I have seen ferocious ants and a Rainbow beetle make a truce in order to enjoy the rarest food (to them) in nature, the nectar of the gods, see here : Rainbow Wanderer

    Naturally, a hive bee will have the honey or nectar they have produced in the good times to survive on in the cold and dark winters of the northern hemisphere and that is as it should be. I used to live in London and got some wonderful honey from the north, a real delicacy, and when I asked the keeper what he fed the bees over winter and he said 'Sugar - white' I was amazed the bees could survive on it and I told him so. I never heard from him again.

    Since then, and with all the trouble with industrial beekeeping, I have seen studies that conclude the biggest problem with today's bees is nutrition. They are not getting any from sugar when they most need it.

    No wonder the bees are dying off. It just makes sense, but the accountant can only see the money.

    The soapbox is your now. :) 

  11. blue

    blue Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2010
    Hello Mark. Yes we have a serious problem over here with a big drop in numbers of most pollinators, so that's not just managed beehives but solitary bees, bumbles etc. All sorts of factors, disease, habitat loss, pesticides ... It is quite worrying.

    I don't keep bees myself but have known a few beekeepers - very small scale though, and sugar has been used as an emergency (ie last resort to stop them starving) supplementary food by them for many years. The bees are OK on it, nectar is basically sugar water. I think the keepers do provide other nutrients too, "pollen cake" and so on.

    I would guess your Northern honey was a heather honey, I remember it as a child but not seen much about for years.
  12. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I second MarkB1, all that is required is a bit of sugar water (4:1). Often I'll find stationary or walking bees, a bit of sugar water often will fix 'em up.


    PS- Very nice macro work.
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