It’s no surprise that bees are everywhere! There are 20,000 species of bees on the planet, with about 4,000 living in the United States alone! These little pollinators are integral to our ecosystem, as we wouldn’t have fruits and vegetables without them. Have you ever thought about where they go during the winter?
Where Do Bees Go During the Winter?
With so many species of bees in the United States alone, we can’t make one blanket statement of what they all do during winter. Each species has its ways of dealing with the winter months, so let’s keep it simple and go through four common bee species in the United States.
When fall arrives, the drones (male bees) stop being fed by the queen and are expelled from the hive, reducing the number of bees needing to be fed throughout winter. The remaining female bees and queen bee will then go into hibernation. Honeybees swarm into their hive, creating a ball-like structure by gathering around the queen bee, resulting in a thick layer of bees that can stay warm enough to survive the cold months.
Minus the queen, all bumblebees die before winter arrives. The queen begins her hibernation cycle by feeding on nectar to store vital fat to survive the winter months without food. To hibernate, she builds a thick layer of fat around her body to give her enough energy to last until spring. Queen bumblebees will then go underground to hibernate.
At the beginning of summer, carpenter bee eggs are laid and will hatch in early Autumn. Come winter, the newly hatched carpenter bees will return to their nests, sometimes in abandoned nest tunnels, to hibernate until spring. The older adult female and male carpenter bees who created the nest will die during the summer months after the larvae are laid. Learn more about Carpenter Bees in our August Bee of the Month blog!
In the fall, female masonry bees seal off entrances to their nests and overwinter inside to protect themselves from the cold and avoid being eaten by predators. Masonry bees are well-equipped to survive winter months thanks to their thick, furry coats and ability to generate heat. When spring arrives, the bees break out of their nests, mate, and repeat the cycle.
Bees often live in colonies, but some bees live alone and only come together to mate. With solitary bees, the adults die before winter comes. Before temperatures drop, they must mate and lay their eggs inside their nests to preserve the next generation. When a solitary bee egg hatches, it becomes an adult. Still, it stays inside its nest to survive winter, also known as overwintering, to stay warm and avoid predators and potential threats.
Live Bee Removal Services
Winter in Las Vegas isn’t harsh compared to other regions in the United States, but it does get cold enough for some species to go into hibernation or end their current lifecycle. Bees may not be a significant problem during the winter here in the Southwest, but if you have bee or wasp problems, call Bee Master of Las Vegas today!