January 25, 2010

What happens to bees, yellow jackets and wasps in winter?

For yellow jackets and wasps, the winter is both an end and a new beginning. The workers and males in colonies die off, leaving only queens to overwinter (go into a dormant state). In spring, these queens will then start a new colony after finding what they consider to be suitable places. Now is a good time of year to remove hanging nests that were occupied in summer or fall. These nests will not be re-used and they deteriorate over time.

For honeybees, the process is completely different. The entire colony—including workers, immatures, and the queen remain in the hive. Workers labor tirelessly to maintain heat in the hive as outdoor temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Sometimes smaller colonies do not survive. When spring arrives, worker bees again leave the hive to collect pollen and nectar to raise new bees.

Filed under: Ask Whitworth, Wasps, Yellow Jackets
Posted By: Whitworth Admin at 3:15 am

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