Honey bees in October

Asked October 21, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT

I recently put up a hummingbird feeder and it started attracting honey bees. How late in the season are bees out? And do they stay in their hives in winter?

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Honey bees are attracted to the sugar syrup in your hummingbird feeder. They will often seek alternative sources of carbohydrates when there is little natural nectar available. They will continue to forage for pollen and nectar until it becomes too cold or rainy for flying.

Honey bees will form a cluster inside the hive in the autumn and remain in a clustered state until spring. This keeps them warm and able to survive the winter. They don't hibernate but they don't leave the hive unless it's warm enough for flight. Because they don't leave, they need to store lots of honey to eat throughout the winter, and this is why they are constantly searching for sugar sources to store, including from your hummingbird feeder. Enjoy watching the bees at your feeder! They won't be there much longer! (Although you may see a few on especially warm days in winter.)

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