Rescuing Bees Trapped In A Spider Web

It seems I like bees to forage free from the danger of menacing arachnids!

In fact, it sometimes amazes me how often I seem to be in the right place at the right time to find myself rescuing bees in all kinds of situations, such that my sister even says I’m a 'Guardian Angel' for our local buzzy friends!   

Anyway, I believe there are many people who develop a particular sensitivity to wildlife, and perhaps certain species.

For me, I seem to sense when bees are in danger, or I notice a problem when others don’t, perhaps because ‘something made me’ turn my head a certain way, or I hear an angry buzzing despite the din of cars on a busy road.

Rescuing Bees Trapped In A Spider Web

Spider with its prey - an unfortunate bee.Spider with its prey - an unfortunate bee.


Please note, because I received a number of queries, I decided to write instructions as to how to go about rescuing bees from spider webs.

The rest of this article covers my thoughts on the subject.

The decision to rescue bees is usually a very simple one for me, but it hasn't always been that way.....

It was too late to rescue this bee - already wrapped up by the spider.It was too late to rescue this bee - already wrapped up by the spider.

Take my experience of deliberately depriving a spider of its meal in order to rescue a bumble bee from certain ‘death by arachnid’.  I had noticed a number of webs on our lavender bush, and one in particular was quite large, with a garden wolf spider awaiting its prey. 

Bumble bees were all over the lavender, and the spider surely knew one or two would make a mistake very soon – judging by the size of the spider, I suspected several had made mistakes already.

In theory, it’s against my principles (or so I thought) to deprive one creature of its meal in order to favour another  - after all, each living being must eat.  On the one hand, I appreciate spiders for the task they perform (like eating houseflies and mosquitoes) – and I happen to live in a country where there are no dangerous spider species, which I suppose helps!  

Beautiful bumble bee on lavender.Beautiful bumble bee on lavender.

On the other hand, spiders give me the creeps (apart from very tiny ones) and I wouldn’t want them crawling on me.  Yet I never, ever kill spiders. 

Those spiders wanting to share our bedroom for example, have to negotiate with my husband, and they lose 100% of the time.  Apparently, spiders are not very good negotiators – hubby always evicts them using a jar or upturned glass and a piece of paper.

Anyway, I looked at the spider’s web, wondering whether I should do the mean, selfish thing and destroy its web, to hopefully move the spider from this important ‘bee feeding station’.  ‘No’ I told myself, ‘I have no right - let nature take its course’,  and so I got on with my gardening.

And then….......some time later, suddenly and purposefully, I looked over at the spider’s web, because somehow I just knew at that moment, a bumble bee was in danger!   Sure enough, there was the bumble bee trapped in the web, the spider almost upon it. 

I didn’t think twice. 

Principles?  Out of the window they went!  It was a natural reflex to scoop the bumble bee to safety, and never mind the spider and its meal!

Since this experience, I no longer pretend to be on the spiders’ side.  For instance, a particular spider is very persistent at the moment, making a web on the solitary bee house.  It appears to be a very cunning spider, because it covers the occupied holes, presumably to catch the newly emerging red mason bees as they leave their cells. 

Then the web extends to interfere with the flight path into the vacant holes.  This particular spider is an excellent strategist, it seems, and being a mason bee looking for a new abode for egg laying, is a potentially perilous business……unless I happen to be around to disrupt the plans of the eight-legged fiend, that is!

I now habitually remove spider webs for the protection of bees!  Is it fair on the spiders?  Perhaps not, but I just can’t help myself!

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