Bees in winter
with Shelley Hoover
Honey bees in Canada can overwinter either indoors in cool, dark buildings or outdoors. If they overwinter outdoors, depending on the region, various forms of insulation protect them. Most beekeepers feed the bees heavily in the fall to give them enough food to last until spring, when they feed them again.
Winter is a hard time for honey bee populations because they do not rear new bees during the cold winter months. The bees that are alive in the fall must survive until the following spring to rear the next generation when forage becomes available again.
They must have good nutrition going into the fall to survive long enough to support colony growth the next spring. This ensures a healthy population and prevents colony loss, thus ensuring there are enough bees the following summer to produce honey and pollinate crops.
To help bees during the active season, people should try to avoid any sprays on flowering plants. If they must spray, always carefully follow pesticide application labels. Flowering plants provide forage for bees of all types, and uncultivated or undisturbed areas provide nesting habitat for wild bees.