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Saved a Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee from a terrible fate

The other day while I was out in the front yard, my neighbor was painting the door of her utility cupboard, which is attached to her house. She suddenly yelled. A bumble bee had flown into the bucket of paint. She quickly scooped out the poor bee that was almost completely covered in the wet paint, and put it in my open palms. Fortunately I was already wearing gardening gloves.

I rushed to our garden hose and turned it on so that I could a very low pressured steady stream of water. Luckily I had a clean paper towel in my pocket. I wet the paper towel and placed the bee on it, covering it with the trickling water from the hose. The bee crawled around the towel as it was being rinsed. There were a couple of dry, used paper towels on the ground around the hose, which had previously been used to wipe the bird bath. I used these as well, letting the bee walk on them so that it could walk off the diluted paint around its legs. It would sometimes crawl up my jacket sleeve, probably trying to escape the water. But I had to be sure that all paint was rinsed off.

After making sure that there was absolutely no paint left on the honey bee, I very carefully dabbed at it with a dampened paper towel. Then I carried it to a sunny corner of our backyard, where we have an old rocking chair under an orange tree. First I put it on a large dry leaf on the seat of the chair. After a while the bee climbed partly up the backrest of the chair, which is covered in fabric. Now and then I gently blew on the bee, to help it dry off quicker in the warmth of the late afternoon sun. It seemed to be drying itself by rubbing its legs against each other. I could see that its proboscis was also clean.

Within about twenty minutes the bumble bee was at the top of the chair and flew away.

That was a close call!

What a horrible fate it would have been, to slowly die, suffocating in the paint.

But it ended well.

The yellow-faced bumble bee on the California aster, above, is not the same bee.

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