Where Do Bees Go in Winter?

A bite-size answer to the question: where do bees go in winter?

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We’ve enjoyed a wonderfully warm spring here in South East England and the garden has been full of wildlife – blooms, birds, bugs and bees of all kinds. Last weekend, a honey bee had made its way into my little boy’s bedroom so together we gently set it free. “There are a lot of bees around at the moment aren’t there” I mentioned  to my son. “Yes daddy” came the reply, followed by “but where do they go in winter?” That’s a good question I thought. So what’s the answer?

 

Well, it depends on the type of bee. Let’s focus on two of the most well known kinds, the aforementioned honey bee and the bumblebee.

 

Honey bees cease flying when temperatures drop below c.10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). In winter there are no flowers in bloom and therefore no pollen or nectar available. Instead, they gather around the queen in a sort of vibrating ball or cluster. This movement keeps the queen and colony warm enough to survive throughout the winter. During this time, the bees consume honey stores in order to live and generate heat.

 

With bumble bees however, the adults die with the onset of winter leaving only the queen hibernating until the spring when a new generation will be created.

 

And if you’ve been wondering about wasps, the majority of the colony also dies in winter. The mated queens vacate their nests to find suitable spots in which to hibernate until the arrival of spring, and a new nest is then constructed.

 

So there we go, a bite-size answer to the question where do bees go in winter.

A couple of incidentals: Worker honey bees are female and do all of the work! Drones – the only male honey bees – die immediately after mating (eek!).

 

If you would like to read more bite-size answers to commonly asked questions then please visit: www.butwhydad.co.uk

 

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31 Responses to “Where Do Bees Go in Winter?”
  1. Dreamy777 Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 6:02 am

    great one


  2. Minaem Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Nice .. you know without bees this world would only last for few years.


  3. Francois Hagnere Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 6:33 am

    A very well presented article. Your son had a very intelligent question. We must learn them to protect nature and animals. Thank you for this brilliant post.


  4. Ima Vee Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Very interesting post… At least now we know some facts about bees…


  5. LadyElena Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Very interesting to know. It’s nice for us to have a break from their “buzzing” too.


  6. arielcnacion Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 7:45 am

    interesting. my guess wasn’t right but close enough. =)


  7. Lady Sunshine Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 8:32 am

    How interesting! Your two incidentals made me laugh!


  8. CHIPMUNK Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Great work nicely informed


  9. Muhammad Fajar Marthias Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 9:23 am

    good work, great knowledge


  10. pruelpo Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 9:34 am

    God really created them with some choices to survive. Another educative piece my friend. As usual I bookmarked this page. Thank you.


  11. Darlene20 Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I’ve always wondered where bee’s and wasps go in winter. I just thought they ALL died and left their nests somewhere warm to hatch LOL :-) Good article. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks again for another great share.


  12. Cyni1106 Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    We have a lot of bees here, they polinate the flowers and some honey has different flavors, like clover, avocado, ect. Thanks for the share.


  13. A9YnD1LV3R Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Amazing, good education.
    Please visit:
    http://socyberty.com/issues/osama-death-photos-shown-to-the-senate/
    Best Regards,


  14. LCM Linda Says...

    On May 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Interesting question brings forth interesting answer. Learn new things. Thanks!


  15. papaleng Says...

    On May 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

    thank you Sir, for another interesting lesson in Zoology.


  16. Phoenix Montoya Says...

    On May 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    So sad that most of them (wasps) die during winter but a bug’s life is really short. Good info here, Steve :)


  17. realityspeaks Says...

    On May 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Well researched and beautifully presented article. Thanks


  18. J M Lennox Says...

    On May 19, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Looks like female the honey bees get the best deal (after the queen of course) although they have to work hard. Fabulously interesting and informative. :-)


  19. anndavey650 Says...

    On May 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Those poor bumbly bees… such a short journey in life… but at least they get the better months I guess.


  20. Wrath Warbone Says...

    On May 20, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Nicely written. Very relaxed and relaxing style, yet very informative but easy to follow. Great job!


  21. lillyrose Says...

    On May 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

    A mystery no longer! We had some bumble bees nest in our cavity wall insulation a few years back. They were so interesting to watch as the came out every morning and evening to get pollen.


  22. CA Johnson Says...

    On May 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I had no idea why bees were not around during the winter until now. They are back now. I saw one and I was ready to duck because I did not want it to sting me.


  23. Likha Says...

    On May 26, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks for teaching me this. I never really bothered asking this question. I guess I should notice the life around me more.


  24. shelpeare Says...

    On May 29, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Good information.


  25. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On May 30, 2011 at 9:45 am

    The honey bees have a solution for everything, don’t they.


  26. mtrguanlao Says...

    On June 12, 2011 at 6:57 am

    That’s what ants also do,right? You have simple but great articles my friend!


  27. Goodselfme Says...

    On June 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I always protect bees when I see them on my property. They are a wonder to see. WEll done article with lots of education about these great ones.


  28. Pearl Wilson Says...

    On June 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

    well presented article on interesting topic of honey bees. enjoy it!


  29. 1hopefulman Says...

    On June 12, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for answering the question where do bees go in winter.


  30. shelpeare Says...

    On July 27, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Thanks for informing us about these “bee-sy” creatures.


  31. PruandMe Says...

    On August 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I didn’t know about the honeybees keeping the queen warm, although I should have with all the trouble I’ve had with bees over the years.

    Nice piece, thanks for the good read!

    :D


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