Help the Honey Bees this Winter
Did you know that honey bees do NOT hibernate during the winter months like most insects?
The winter can be difficult for honey bee colonies, but there are ways you can help them in your own garden.
This article answers a few important questions about helping honey bees in the Texas winter:
Why do we need to help the honey bees?
Texas farmers produce lots of fruits, grains, and vegetables. Many of these crops and plants depend on pollinators to create a successful harvest yield. This means that our food source depends on honey bees and other pollinators.
Why is winter an important time to help the honey bees?
Honey bees live in colonies and collect nectar to sustain their newly hatched young and feed the entire colony during the winter. These months however can be the most difficult time to find flowering plants, causing colonies to starve.
How can we help the honey bees in our own garden?
Plant flowers that bloom late in the year can help your local honey bees thrive. Here are a few flowers and plants that bloom in the Fall:
- Clover (annual)
- Golden rod
- Witch Hazel
- Broccoli (left to flower)
- Japanese Anemone
- Crocus (blooms in the winter)
Avoid using chemical pesticides and herbicides. Use natural pest deterrent plants in your garden to keep away unwanted bugs. Choose these plants to help honey bees while deterring ants, flies, and mosquitos:
- Garlic (left to flower)
- Chives (left to flower)
- Wild Mint
- Basil (left to flower)
- Lemon balm (left to flower)
- Catnip (left to flower)
- Marjoram/Oregano (left to flower)
What should I do if bees have built a hive or swarm near my home?
Honey bees will build a home for their queen, eggs, and newly hatched young to thrive. It is important that you and your family stay away from the hive or swarm, as this is one place where bees are likely to be aggressive.
Call a local honey bee relocation group to have professionals come to your home and permanently relocate the bees. Honey bees will stay with their queen, so once the bee experts relocate the hive to a safe place, they are not likely to come back to your home.
Find a map of the Texas Bee Keeper Associations that can help you remove a swarm of bees by clicking here: https://texasbeekeepers.org/swarms/
Because honey bees are a key part of our eco system and the success of our agriculture, we think that it is important to help the honey bees. Even in you own back yard you can make an impact.
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