We've seen a steady decline in Lucy (TinyLittlebee) over the last few days and today looks very close to the end.
I wasn't home but BCW administered wonderful care and provided status reports for me. Just as LBB had done before, Lucy became unsteady and uncoordinated and by this evening has become stationary. Perhaps, if you look closely with a magnifying glass there is a little twitch in the back leg. Or maybe it's just air currents.
She's struggled for the last 24 hours - falling on her back regularly and being unable to right herself. It is heart-wrenching to watch in such a small, fragile creature. It's exactly the same pattern as followed by LBB a week ago and it signalled his final fading moments.
We've done all we have in our power to do and given Lucy another 2 weeks of life that she could never have had when we found her - indeed, she seemed to have lost her fight for life then, when she managed to make a miraculous recovery, spurred on by LBB who at one point even tipped her back on her feet.
Likewise, Holly created a bit of a scare this morning; she too was a bit still and lifeless and not up to her usual antics. BCW assures me that during the day she sprung back into action albeit with perhaps more rest than usual. That's still true this evening, although what activity I did see seemed usual - just less prolonged.
What we don't know is whether Holly is affected by the absence of Lucy. I actually think there is some merit to this theory - certainly the introduction of LBB and Lucy increased Holly's activity, who for a while we were quite concerned about. Prior to that introduction, Holly was spending a lot of time just resting under the moss and not exploring, not even inside the nestbox, let alone the main tub. Lucy and LBB seemed to create something for Holly to do; whether it was just tidying the nest after their interruptions, or merely the "social" interaction (the bees do, after all, occasionally shove each other about and walk on top of each other!) we shall never know. So I'm wondering now whether Holly will return to her more reclusive behaviour?
Of course we mustn't forget that Holly is now a hefty 60 days old, at least. In female bee terms that makes her quite the Centenarian - quite entitled to an armchair once in a while!