When do bees come out in the UK?
During the winter bees tend to hibernate in order to conserve energy and ultimately survive the harsh, winter conditions. However, in mid-April when the weather starts to become warmer and pollinating flowers begin to bloom, bees end their hibernation period and start to become more active. The exact time of year that this occurs is totally dependent on the weather, therefore it changes slightly from year to year. However, in general, bees are most active in the UK between mid-April and mid-October.
Unfortunately, climate change is having a significant impact on bee populations. More specifically, milder winters mean the queen bees have a shorter break from laying eggs, which causes their limited egg supply to run out much quicker. When the queen’s eggs run out, the colony kill and replace her. Therefore, essentially milder winters, caused by climate change, are shortening the lives of queen bees.
The most common bees spotted in the UK are bumble bees, carpenter bees and honey bees. Bumble bees are normally the first to emerge in the Spring and are the friendliest bees and unlikely to sting you. They are also in my opinion, the sweetest due to their fluffy appearance!
In the early summer, the nests are made up of worker bees and the queen bee. The worker bees’ main role during this period is to collect as much pollen as possible to replenish food stocks in the hive. Meanwhile the queen bee is busy laying eggs, which when hatched, will be fed the food collected by worker bees during the Spring, so that they can grow into a new generation of strong, worker bees.
During the Autumn, if the queen bee’s supply of eggs has run out (which often happens), then she dies, as do the older worker bees. These are then replaced by the new generation of young, worker bees, who hibernate together for the long winter ahead.
Written by Hester
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