BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Is this bee ok?

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #10122  by Em_1ly
 28 Feb 2021, 19:36

I was photographing a flower yesterday and noticed a bee acting strangely as though drunk, covered in what looks like pollen but it also had multiple small parasites like the one circled in this photograph, there was a cluster of them on the other side of the bee too. Is this normal? Is the bee sick?

 #10125  by Patrick
 28 Feb 2021, 23:11

It is an overwintered bumblebee queen. Probably not sick, just cold and staggering around, it’s not that warm just yet.

They often carry a number of small mites on them. It’s not unusual to see queens with quite a lot more passengers than this one.

She should be fine once she gets her nest established.
 #10133  by AdamD
 01 Mar 2021, 12:51
As Patrick says, they are not usually a problem. Braula Coeca is a wingless fly that is often seen on bumblebees - not sure if this is Braula or not.
 #10135  by Steve 1972
 01 Mar 2021, 15:19
Over the past couple of years i have found some bumble bees with that many mites on them they could not fly..also i have found some huge black beetles covered in them ..not knowing if it would kill them i thought about dusting the bees and beetles with diatomaceous earth (they where ready to die anyway imo)..after dusting them it is unbelievable how many mites they are carrying once they start dropping of ..
 #10142  by Em_1ly
 01 Mar 2021, 19:35
Thankyou so much for your informative answers I am glad to know that she will be ok, had never heard of things living on a bee!
It is relief that they don't cause harm and that her slow and clumsy movements seem to be normal occurrence! :D :D

Much appreciated! :D