Naturalist’s Notebook: There’s a Bumblebee in the Bathroom!


Hello, young scientists. As an explorer of the natural world, you must be ready for most anything. You don’t always have to go outside to see nature. Sometimes nature comes to visit you!

I woke up today and, thanks to my cat Oreo, I got a big surprise. Both my cats love insects as much as I do, but they don’t want to photograph and observe them. They like to play with them.

As I walked to the bathroom, I noticed Oreo trying to get at something under the door. He was batting at it with his paw and sticking his nose in there, but he couldn’t quite reach it.  What could he be after? I pulled him away and opened the door to see.

To my surprise, there was a large bumblebee on the floor!

How on Earth did a bumblebee get in my bathroom? I didn’t invite it in, and I’m sure my wife, Candy, didn’t either. I have no idea how it got into the house.

I grabbed my cell phone and took the bumblebee’s photo (photo #1). Then I quickly assembled my bumblebee-catching-kit, which was an empty pill bottle with cap and a business card.

The bumblebee was moving slowly and seemed kind of dazed. I’m not sure if Oreo had injured it or not, but it was easy to catch. When I put the pill bottle over it, it didn’t like that and began buzzing, but by then I had it. It was an easy process to take it outside and release it.

I want to go through the steps, just in case YOU should ever need to catch a bumblebee. I couldn’t take photos while actually catching the live bumblebee, so for this series of photos I decided to pretend a marble is the bumblebee. (The actual bumblebee was bigger!)

Photo 2: The marble (pretend “bumblebee”).

Photo 3: Getting ready to put the open pill bottle over the “bumblebee”.

Photo 4: The “bumblebee” captured inside the pill bottle.

Photo 5: I carefully slip the business card under the pill bottle opening. Be sure to hold the bottle so the bee doesn’t escape during this step.

Photo 6: The card is completely covering the open end of the pill bottle.

Photo 7: Carefully turn the bottle over while holding the card over the opening, so the bumblebee can’t escape. This is a tricky step, so make sure the card keeps the bottle opening covered.

Photo 8: When the bumblebee goes to the bottom of the pill bottle, quickly put the cap on the bottle.

Congratulations, you just captured a bumblebee! Now carry the bumblebee and bottle outside your home, remove the cap and set it free.

Believe it or not, it really works!

Remember to always be careful when you are around bees. They can sting!

Mr. Bill





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