Autumn Bees

Different kinds of bees do different things in autumn and winter. For example, bumble bees hibernate, honey bees don’t.

  Bumble Bees don't keep their colonies going over winter. The last brood of the summer colony will contain a number of queens. Each of these will mate and find a safe nesting place to spend the winter, like a small hole in the ground or somewhere protected, just big enough for her. She hibernates there over winter but the rest of the colony dies.

When Jock passes a mouse’s hole in the woods he always wonders if a bumble queen has zonked in there.

Have a look at this clever bumblebee queen making her winter home in this video.

Bumblebee Excavating A Hibernation Hole

Here’s lots of information about bees in winter Where Do Bees Go In The Winter? And Other Insects’ Winter Behaviour from the Woodland Trsut.

Honey Bees live through the whole winter, keeping the nest safe and warm. They eat and work all through the winter. Autumn is very busy for them as they have to make enough honey to see them through winter. Honey bees head to the hive when the temperature drops. They gather in an inside area of the hive and form a winter cluster around their queen, huddling together. The cluster can be the size of a football!

They flutter their wings and shiver, keeping the inside temperature of the hive warm. The queen stays in the middle, but the worker bees move round from the outside to the inside of the cluster, making sure no-one is too cold.

Bee keepers have to make sure their bees have enough honey over winter to have enough energy to shiver.

Take a look at this great video about how honey bees have a winter group hug!

What Do Honeybees Do In The Winter?
Bee House

This is part of the Autumn Minibeasts information.