Where do bees go in the winter?


Each insect has a different way of surviving the winter months. There are many variables and each species of bee has different outcomes when the temperature begins to drop. Bees will do things ranging from hibernation to dying and putting energy into future generations.


When the weather starts to get cold honeybees will stop flying. Bees will go back to the hive and huddle in a crowd into the lower central area of the hive forming a winter cluster. Worker bees huddle around the queen. The cluster will shiver to keep the centre around 80 degrees. Workers rotate from the outside to the inside of the cluster ensuring no bees get cold. The colder the weather the more compact the cluster.

Hibernating bees will consume up to 30 pounds of stored honey during the winter helping produce body heat. Oxidation of the honey produces heat energy and circulated throughout the hive by worker bees fanning their wings. When the weather gets warmer bees will leave the hive for short periods. The main purpose is to eliminate body waste. The bees don’t go very far and the flights don’t last very long. If their bodies get too cold they will not be allowed back in the hive.


Most wasps will die off in the winter. The colder weather will take many of the wasps out, but sexually mated queens will hibernate over winter. They’ll hide out in crevices and shelter in closed off places. Most queens will die, but more because of predators such as spiders. Colder winters are actually better for the survival of wasps. Mild or warm winters see queens come out of hibernation early. There is usually not food available. Many of them will die of starvation.

Hornfaced Bees

Mostly found along the East Coast and in the Midwest of the US. Hornfaced bees are native of Japan and were introduced to the United States in 1960. These bees only live for about six weeks. There is no designation between queen and worker bees. Females will make their own nest. Inside the nest eggs will hatch and feed on pollen left by the mother bee. Each larvae has its own cell and food supply divided by mud partitions. When the larvae finishes feeding it spins a cocoon and is inactive the whole summer. Eventually the larvae will molt into pupae and become adults. They’ll remain in the cocoons as adults and in early spring emerge as the next generation of bees.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees hibernate and will drill tunnels into old wood. The bees will find an old nest tunnel and hide out over winter. In the spring they’ll reemerge and mate. After mating females will find a new place to nest and begin drilling into wood. The tunnel can run up to a couple inches long and she will lay her eggs. The next generation of bees will emerge as adults in the summer.

Paper Wasp

Signs you have bees nesting on your property.

      • ŸExperiencing high numbers of wasps in home or garden.
      • Nests made from chewed wood pulp and saliva.
      • Built in sheltered areas such as cavities, roof spaces, under eaves,    in bird boxes, sheds or garages.
      • Identify nesting areas by carefully following flight path of wasps.
      • A wasp nest starts to be built in spring usually around the size of a walnut.
      • Nests can become the size of a football or bigger.

Merrickville pest control.

If you discover any unusual amounts of bees on your property there may be a nest nearby. Some bees will hibernate during the winter so they will be around all year long. If you find any evidence of bees make sure to contact Truly Nolen Pest Control.