Q:

Do bees hibernate during the winter?

A:

Unlike many insects, bees hibernate during the winter instead of dying off. They do not hibernate in the typical sense but stay extremely close to their nests and stick together while focusing on food consumption.

Honeybees are creatures that live in cycles, like many other insects. They often begin their lives in the early spring and will generally survive until the following spring. Some bees do die during the winter, with the biggest example being the queen honeybee from the previous year. A new queen will take over, and the old queen will die out during the winter months.

The majority of bees that are produced by a queen bee are worker bees. They will never have the opportunity to be a queen and will spend their entire life working for the queen to help bring food back to her and her new, young bees. The queen is constantly producing new broods of bees that will eventually turn into workers, queens and male bees that go out on their own to find others to mate with.

Despite the measures that the worker bees go to to help keep their hive thriving throughout the winter, most hives will have some sort of loss during the cold months. Assistant professor of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, Deborah Delaney notes that most hives will drop from around 60,000 bees to 20,000 during the winter, with some hives becoming completely wiped out due to the cold.


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