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When Do Bees Go Away? (End of Bees Season)

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Bees go away when the temperature drops too low for them to forage. Most bees won’t fly out when the temperature reaches 50°F (10°C). Below this threshold, bees can enter a chill-induced coma.

When bees go away, all honey production stops.

Bees spend the winter in a dormant state, only using energy to heat up themselves or the hive.

In this article, we’ll talk more about the end of bee season, what bees do during the winter, as well as how they survive the cold winter months.

When Is the End of Bee Season?

The end of bee season is early or late fall, depending on your location. Bee colonies naturally shrink in the fall as flowers stop producing nectar, and as the temperature drops too low. 

During this time, they’ll stay in the hive, stop all foraging activities, as well as stop reproduction.

Their only goal after the end of bees season is to survive the following months of cold temperatures and harsh conditions.

winter-flower

Bees follow a yearly pattern called “seasonal polyethism”, as well as “temporal polyethism”, meaning a division of labor depending on the seasonality and temperature [1]

In other words, bees work when it’s warm during late spring, summer, and early fall, and they go dormant during colder months.

When nectar-gathering is no longer possible, worker bees within the hive can die from old age, exhaustion, or cold temperatures. 

In temperate climates, this usually happens in late fall or winter.

In contrast to temperate climates, tropical climates stay warm year-round, and bees can continue foraging all year. In tropical climates, bee season may never end.

Related: When do bees come out?

Do Bees Go Away in the Winter?

Yes, bees do go away in the winter. The temperatures are too low for bees to survive, hence they will stay in their hive. They will use specific natural mechanisms to heat up their hive, to avoid freezing to death.

Bees will, to heat up their hive, make use of thermoregulation, meaning they shiver, or vibrate, their flight muscles to create heat.

They do so while clustering up around the queen bee, to make sure she’s safe. The outer bees work as insulation, while the inner bees will thermoregulate the cluster.

Apart from this, they’re mostly inactive.

Bumblebees, contrary to honeybees, hibernate through the winter. The workers all die in the fall, while the queen will find shelter to sleep through the winter.

Related: Where Do Bees Go In the Winter?

worker bumblebees

When Do Honeybees Go Away?

The time of year when honeybees go away will vary depending on where you live. Bees are most active when the weather is warm and sunny, while they’ll go away when it’s cold.

Most bees go away for the winter in early or late fall (sometime between September and October), but in tropical climates, they can stay active all year round.

When Do Bumblebees Go Away?

Bumblebees will hide out the winter from October to February. Queen bumblebees will hibernate during these months. Bumblebee workers will die in the fall, as they only live very short lives.

Queen bumblebees only live for a year, while workers live 2-6 weeks.

During late summer, old bumblebee queens will produce new queens, who will fly out to mate. The old queen will die, along with all of her workers, while the new queen will hibernate through the winter.

When spring arrives (March-April), queen bumblebees fly out to establish their nest.

When late summer comes around, the pattern will repeat itself, as the old queen dies, and new ones are born.

bumblebees making honey in the hive

What Time of Day Do Bees Go Away?

Depending on the season, weather, and sunlight, bees will leave the hive around 8 AM and go away for the day at 6 PM. As the day turns into night, bees will go to sleep, repeating the cycle as they wake up.

Some amount of bees will sleep near the entrance of the hive, to ensure they aren’t surprised by any predators in the middle of the night.

What Do Bees Do at Night?

Most bees sleep at night, but a few species of bees are nocturnal.

Nocturnal bees will do their main activities at night, the exact same ones that diurnal bees (most bees are diurnal) do during the day. This includes foraging, making honey, caring for brood, etc.

Nocturnal bees are often found in warmer climates, as the temperatures during the day can get too hot for them to survive.

Related: Do Bees Come Out at Night?

bee at night flying alone

Do Bees Sleep?

Yes, bees do sleep. Most bees sleep during the night, as they’re diurnal creatures (awake during the day, resting at night), but some are nocturnal, meaning they sleep in the daytime.

Sometimes, bees will stay up during the night. This may be if they’re disturbed, either by humans or predators or if they’ve been infected.

A parasite is known as the “zombie fly”, can disturb bees’ sleep schedule. This can cause bees to be unable to rest at night, ultimately causing them to weaken and die.

In What Weather Do Bees Go Away?

Bee activity depends a lot on the weather. They’re small creatures, easily affected by heat, cold, wind, rain, or other factors:

  • Heavy rain will cause bees to stay inside their hive. They can venture out in light rain, but nothing more than that.
  • Strong winds will also keep bees in their nests. Typically, 20 mph wind will be enough to keep them inside.
  • Cold temperatures are very dangerous to bees. Most won’t come out if it’s below 50°F (10°C). Temperature below 35.5°F (-2°C) can be fatal. Some species can survive colder temperatures, such as the Arctic Bumblebee.
  • Hot temperatures will also be dangerous for the little flying insects. Most bees are forced to stay in their nests at temperatures above 113°F (45°C).

Bad weather in general will agitate bees. Most beekeepers know not to handle bees when the weather isn’t optimal. It’s best to leave them alone on rainy, windy, cold, or hot days.

Related: Bee temperature tolerance

If you stick to handling bees on good days, you’ll have a significantly smaller chance of getting stung.

What Time Are Bees Least Active?

Bees are most active during the early morning and late afternoon, while they’re least active during the night. [2]

They are least active when all their chores are done because they rest in their hive for the night. It lets them conserve energy so they can continue their work the next day.

Related: When Are Bees Least Active?

swarming bees

How to Get Rid of Bees

Numerous types of bees could potentially be disrupting your life. These include carpenter, bumblebees, honey bees, and more. 

You don’t have to live with these insects if you want to get rid of them. 

There are a variety of solutions that you can try out at home, such as using soapy water on the bees. 

Some of these solutions are more effective than others, so you may want to try them all to find which works for your situation.

  1. The first and best way to get rid of bees is to call your local beekeeper. If you know any beekeepers in the area, chances are they’ll happily take them in.
  2. The second, and a very popular method, to get rid of bees is to use soapy water. The soap can cause water to enter the bees, ultimately killing them. 
  3. The third way to get rid of bees is to use chemical solutions. You can either use bee spray, a spray specifically designed to get rid of bees, or you can use bee powder, which is developed to do the same thing. Apply one, or both, of these to the nest, and your problem should go away.
  4. Bumblebees are giant insects that make their nests underground, and they can be hard to get rid of because of this. Mothballs contain strong scents that irritate the bumblebee’s nose and cause them to leave your yard and find another location to set up their hive.

Related: How to get rid of bees

Conclusion

Given all of this information, it’s not surprising that the end of bee season happens during the change in seasons.

Whether you are curious about how bees work or a company looking to support your local apiarist by buying honey at the right time, we hope this article has helped answer some questions for you.

If you want more information on these fascinating creatures, be sure to check out our other articles!

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.

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