Being in the south, we have nice warm weather for many months of the year. The flowers bloom, the bees pollinate the plants, and the sun warms the air. However, all good things come to an end, and winter sets in for a bit. The flowers close up, the air is colder and the bees disappear. What do the bees do in the winter? Well, when the temperatures drop below 50 degrees F, they flee to their hive. In the hive, they cluster together to stay warm and try to survive the winter until the temperatures are warm again.
Let’s take a look.
The Bee Hive in Winter
Just like we prepare our homes for winter, the bees must prepare their hives. In order for bees to survive the winter, they must have other bees in the hive that are winter-ready, as well as pounds of honey to eat. Additionally, they need to have a hive that is secure.
Did you know there are special characteristics of bees that are ready for the winter? They usually have more meat on them to keep the hive warm, as well as they have a lifespan of 4-6 months instead of a few weeks.
The Winter Cluster
In the world of bees, there are worker bees, drones, and queens. However, the male drones die in winter. Thus, leaving the female workers and queen bee. Now that the males are gone, the females swarm together to keep the colony warm and the queen bee warm.
They form a winter cluster and the queen is the warmest. The core section surrounding the queen is the workers. They are freezing and trying to create heat in order to survive and keep the colony alive. In northern climates, the queen stops laying eggs from November to December. However, she will start laying a few right after the winter solstice which is December 21 or 22.
The Center of the Cluster
The temperatures can rise as high as 90-100 degrees F at the center of the winter cluster. While the surface of the cluster or mantle can see temperatures about 50 degrees F. In order to survive, the cluster of bees crawl and climb in-formation around the hive to reach their stored honey.
The cluster stays together most of the winter, however, when the temperature outside reaches above 50 degrees F, bees will fly out of the hive in order to get rid of waste. Yes! They can hold their waste in all winter! In warm southern climates where the temperature rarely ever drops below 50, the honey bee works year-round.
How Much Does It Cost
If bees become an issue for you, it can cost between $200 and $750 to have them removed. However, if it is a large hive, it can cost between $75- $2,000 depending on the size of the colony.
One area of recommended maintenance is mulch for the outside of your home. In order to choose one that doesn’t attract termites and create a problem for you, use Cypress heartwood, Melaleuca Eucalyptus, Southern Tidewater Red Cypress or California Redwood. These will help keep the termites away from your home.
As you are taking a look around your yard, you will want to make sure you don’t have a pest infestation. Signs of this are droppings, anthills, plant damage, and nesting signs. If you suspect you have an issue, contact a pest control company.
Lastly, you may wonder why people have a pest control company and is it worth it? Some people do choose to take care of pests on their own, but many find they would rather have a company take care of the pests. This is because they know what to use and it doesn’t take up the little bit of time that you have to take care of pests. Time is money and putting your money toward pest control is essential.
When to Call a Professional
Call a professional if you are having issues with bees around your home building hives or getting into the house. You want to be very careful with bees, especially if you or a loved one is allergic. You can call a local beekeeper to see if they can relocate the hive for you. Also, you can call a local pest control specialist to advise you on the next step.
You can have your own bee colony in your yard. Take precautions to make sure you follow the rules for setting one up and consult with someone who is knowledgeable. However, if you find that bees in your yard are becoming a nuisance, contact All South Pest Control and we will be able to determine your bee removal needs and offer the best preventative maintenance for future pest issues in McDonough, GA, and the surrounding areas.