|Some bees can appear lethergic at this time of year|
At this time of year you may well start to find dead or “lethargic” Bumblebees, often gathered in numbers around flowering plants, in particular those that offer a good nectar source.
The whole purpose of the colony is to produce queens that will mate around this time of year and then go on to hibernate over winter, so that come spring time next year, they are ready to start a new colony. Throughout the life of the nest a large number of smaller worker bees help the nest to grow by collecting nectar and pollen - these are the bees that you see out and about during the summer, and it is these workers that live for only a few weeks, and then die. It's therefore quite normal to see a small number of dead bees in the garden.
In the autumn, once a queen has mated, she leaves the nest to hibernate and the rest of the colony will start to die. This includes the old queen, the female workers and the males, which have been produced to mate with queens. It is common to find the dead and dying bees near to flowers, because when they are close to the end of their short lives, they become lacklustre and their natural instinct is to feed on nectar.
Equally, bumblebees may sometimes seem very lethargic just because the weather is cold, but they will usually recover when it warms up. So you don’t need to worry if you come across a few dead or dying bumble bees at this time of year, next year’s generation are ready and waiting for their time to come, inside a queen bumble bee.