What Happens to the Bees with the Changing Seasons?
We are noticing cooler temperatures in the morning and darkness earlier in the evenings. The bees are starting to notice the changing seasons, too. It is an interesting time to watch the changing seasons in nature, and the bees are no exception!
Some general trends you may start to notice:
- Solitary bees: We will start observing fewer native/solitary bees. The female bees have collected and created a ball of pollen/nectar called "bee bread". She has laid an egg on the bee bread. The larva will hatch, feed on the pollen and overwinter as a pupa. The pupa will transform to an adult bee, and the cycle will repeat next summer.
- Honey bees: You may have already noticed the honey bees are out in full force right now! Honey bees are preparing for winter by collecting as much pollen and nectar as they can to last them until warmer days arrive and flowers start to bloom.
- Bumble bees: There is a lot of bumble bee activity right now! New queen bumble bees are emerging. New male bumble bees are also emerging. They will mate, and afterwards, the new queen bumble bee will forage for food. She is feeding on pollen and nectar to last her the entire winter hibernation! The new queen bumble bees are the only bumble bees that will survive the winter. She will hibernate underground until the following spring when she will find a new nest site, lay eggs, and the cycle will begin again.
What have you bee activity have you been observing? Carol and I monitored the Gardens at Spring Creek last Thursday, and we only saw one native/solitary bee. We saw many honey bees and some bumble bees. At the CSU Foothills Campus, there is a field of sunflowers. In the last few days, I have seen more solitary/native bees and bumble bees than honey bees on the sunflowers.I also saw many queen bumble bees!