Normally, December is a very quiet time for bees. Hives have long been inactive and this year’s queens will be hunkered down in a hibernating home, ready to start their new colonies in the spring. But something may be changing this as there are reports that bumblebees are being seen out and about on sunny winter days. So what’s happening?
There are a few theories to explain this change. One is that due to a rise in average temperatures, some queen bees are tricked into waking too early, thinking it is actually the start of spring. There is also the abundance of garden flowers. Through planting more and more exotic species, many gardens now have a species or two that blooms during the winter months. This new source of pollen could be enough to help an entire hive survey the winter!
So this Christmas, keep an eye out for any stray bumblebees, as it is likely you are seeing behavioural evolution right in front of your eyes!
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