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Winter Bee Control: do any types of bees or wasps survive in the winter?

There are thousands of different species of bees and wasps, each with varying habits and lifecycle patterns. In warmer climates bees and wasps thrive year round. In Canada, however, most species of bees and wasps hibernate during the winter, so it’s rare to see bees and wasps from November through March, when the weather is most harsh.

With most types of bees and wasps, this means a significant decline in the size of the bee or wasp nest from late fall onward. Only mated queens make it through the winter. Their fertilized eggs are stored in their bodies and are used to populate a new nest in the spring. Until then they find a secluded place to hibernate and wait out the winter.

Though most species of bees and wasps follow this pattern, there are a few exceptions. The most notable is the honeybee, the species of bee that produce the honey humans collect and consume. An entire colony of honeybees can make it through the winter by huddling together in a “winter cluster”.

The first stage is kicking drone bees, or fertile male bees, out of the nest. Only workers and the queen remain. The useless drones consume too much of the honey needed to fuel worker bees’ attempts to keep warm. The worker honeybees then gather closely together inside their hive and vibrate to produce heat. The colder the temperature, the more closely they gather. Since there are no flowers in bloom, and therefore no nectar to harvest, they survive on the stores of honey collected during pollinating season. If there is not enough honey, they will not survive the winter.

To ensure that the bees on the outer layers of the hive do not freeze, they take turns being closest to the outside. The temperature on the outer layer of the hive drops to around 7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The queen bee resides at the centre of the hive, which stays at a comfortable 25 degrees Celsius or 77 degrees Fahrenheit. This method keeps the nest warm, even if outside temperatures drop well below freezing.

If you discover a bee or wasp nest in the vicinity of your home, whether it is summer or winter, contact a pest control company that specializes in wasp and bee control.

Magical is an established Toronto pest control company with years of experience with wasp and bee control. No matter what the season or the pest control emergency, reach us at (905) 738-6676 or use our convenient contact form to schedule a free quote.

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