This morning at school, I was given an insect in a baggie to ID. It was a beautiful golden male carpenter bee that the kids had found. It seemed half dead. After passing it around the classroom (still in its baggie) for everyone to have a good look, I took it home to take pictures of it. I set it on one of the many dandelion flowers in my back yard, and it immediately perked up and starting poking its tongue all around the flower. After a moment, I got the idea to give it a drop of honey as well, which I applied with a toothpick right to the flower. The bee seemed to really go for it.
After feeding and resting for about a half hour, the bee groomed itself a bit, then flew a few feet to another dandelion. More feeding, more resting, more grooming, and it took off again. It seemed strong enough, and flew vigorously in a big circle around the patio area. It swooped past me pretty closely, then made one more big circle and landed on another dandelion very close to where it started from. I imagine it must be very disoriented after its morning of captivity. I hope soon it can leave my yard and go to wherever else its supposed to be.
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Ok, I went back out there, and the bee was still there. I coaxed it onto a stick and held it up, where I had one more chance to get a good look at it. (but I didn't take my camera out with me this time). It took flight again, and it made a big circle around the yard again, and buzzed right by me again. Then it made one more circle, so wide this time it ended up going over the fence. So that's that.