Where do bees go in the winter? Should you be worried about bees invading your home in search of food and warmth?
These are good questions we get from many homeowners. Bees and other stinging insects are a common worry, especially for those with allergies.
We’re tackling these questions today. Keep reading to learn where bees go in the winter and how to pest-proof your home this season.
Where Do All the Bees Go?
We’d bet you’ve never seen bees buzzing around during the winter. So where do they go?
Well, it depends on the bee!
Except for the new queen, the entire bumblebee colony dies off come winter. The queens “overwinter” (similar to hibernation) by digging themselves into small holes in the dirt. They might also overwinter in empty bird’s nests, compost piles, or hollow logs. This helps to keep them warm. When spring arrives, they start the difficult task of building a new colony from scratch!
Like bumblebees, mason bees die off in the winter. However, by the start of winter, mason bees have already mated and set up the next generation of bees to emerge in spring. A solitary bee, each mason bee sets up their nest in an available hole or tunnel (like in woodpecker hole, insect tunnel, or hollow stem). The egg in the nest grows into an adult mason bee, which overwinters in the nest and emerges in the spring.
In the winter, the male drones in honey bee colonies die off, leaving only the female workers and the queen. The surviving bees retreat to their hive, where they huddle together to keep warm (with the queen at the center) and live off the nectar they gathered during the fall. The worker bees vibrate their bodies to keep the group warm—at the center where it’s warmest, it can reach temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
Should You Be Worried about Bees in Your Home?
Given what you now know about where bees go in winter, it should come as no surprise that bees aren’t generally a big concern this season.
Bees—whether they are bumblebees, mason bees, or honey bees—aren’t very active in the cold months. You don’t need to worry that swarms of bees could enter your home in search of food or warmth this winter.
However, that doesn’t mean you’ll never find a bee in your home in winter. If, for example, a honey bee colony set up a hive in your attic in the summer or fall, they’ll still be there in the winter. That’s why it’s important to take action before the summer (when bees set out to find a place for their hive) to make your home unattractive and impenetrable to bees.
How to Get Your Home Ready for Spring
When winter ends and spring returns—watch out! It’s time for pests to wake up, mate, and get out in search of food.
To protect your home from the spring explosion of bees and pests, we recommend taking a few steps now. These steps are quick and easy ways to help keep pests out:
- Seal cracks and crevices in the exterior of your house to prevent bees and other stinging insects from making a nest inside.
- Plant flowers far away from your house, or stick to grasses and non-flowering shrubs.
- Mow your lawn regularly and avoid letting areas become overgrown.
- Don’t leave windows or doors open; install screens instead.
- Fill in holes in the yard left by animals to get rid of nesting sites for bees and other wasps.
- Keep a lid on outdoor trash and recycling cans.
Need Help with a Pest Problem?
When you have a bee or other stinging insect problem, it’s best to leave it to the pros. Although bees aren’t usually aggressive, they will try to defend themselves if they feel the hive is threatened. We never recommend attempting to remove a hive yourself: it can be dangerous, especially if you or a loved one has an allergy!
If bees have made a nest in your home, call us today. We’re here to help!
Contact the experts at Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control. We’re a trusted pest control company with more than 80 years of experience serving Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiry, Facebook or Twitter.