Are you asking for your location or the tropical location like Hawaii?
Let's say if your area has 4 seasons then they will overwinter, alright. If the winter
is a short one then they will have a short overwinter. But if the winter is a long one
like this year in the East coast then they will have a very long winter to go thru.
If the environment is tropical then they will forage all winter long if there is any.
It has to do with the shorter day time and longer night time.
No winter so no need to wait for foraging. They will forage all year long if the winter is mild.
I do believe that some years in your area that there is a little bit of snow flakes. The cold draft
is another consideration if there is no long winter there. Does this makes sense?
I do believe that you need to prep them for a mild winter if that is the temp.
during the winter time. At 50s they can still forage if that is the bees you are
raising. Usually though during the winter month they rather stay in if there is enough
winter stores for them.
My climate is classified as Humid Subtropical with an average yearly rainfall of 52" (about 3" below Florida state average.
My bees forage (or attempt to) nearly everyday of the year. The degree of success they have depends largely on location. In general I think it may be safe to say the average hive can "make a living" but prolific strains or hives not managed correctly for actual conditions can easily starve.
Overwintering and having a population that will explode with the first hint of spring is easy.
Of course by population I mean strong, healthy and prolific Varroa. :lpf:
In our area, over wintering is a few days here and there. You'll see them fly in every month of the year. They will shut down brood rearing if there is no nectar coming in. They usually shutdown in mid November and can crank up again as early as January depending on the year. Late freezes can play havoc with stores since they usually have brood by then.
What Ross said. I am south of him, and bees forage as long as it's not too windy, or raining. They'll forage down to 45 F for me. Now, finding something to forage ON may be a challenge, and bees that don't cluster up and "hibernate" eat more than others, so they can get very hungry. I let my lettuce, broccoli, etc. bolt and blossom, and they work that until the ash and prickly elm start up. Just make sure they don't starve in Feb. and you should be okay.
Even here in Honduras there is a definite dearth period where the bees “overwinter”. Obviously the temperatures never get low enough to keep the bees inside. The only thing that may keep them from trying to forage are those periods where we can get drizzly weather all day.
We are entering the dearth period right now with the beginning of the rainy season. That means there is not a lot of nectar to be collected. Most trees and plants don’t have blossoms this time of the year. And if there is something flowering, the nectar may be diluted with the rain.
This means I need to feed, especially the small hives and the last swarms that I have caught. If the hive is starving, they will abscond—they don’t hang out waiting to starve to death.
The full size hives, however, can pull through the rainy/dearth period without too much of a problem. There are some hives that I don’t even worry about feeding. The population will definitely shrink but the bees always seem to find enough to constantly keep raising at least a bit of brood.
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