Today when I came into the Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing I saw a bee on the rock out front. My flowers have attracted a lot of bees, butterflies, and birds. However this fall’s chilly rainy season and sudden drop in night time temperatures are catching some wildlife off guard. Last night a goldfinch stayed at the feeder too long and decided the corner right outside our back porch door was the safest place to spend the night. It kept him out of the wind and rain and delighted our cats to no end! In the morning the only evidence of our squatter was a couple of droppings and an old feather.
This made me think the bee out front might still be alive. I've read about bees spending the night on flowers during a cold night. If their body temperature drops much below 86°F their wings don't work and they have to find a spot to hole up for the night.
Bees can maintain their body temperature in colder air, but they must remain very active to do so. If a bee finds itself away from its colony and it turns cold fast, they may spend the night on a flower, their metabolic rate much reduced, leaving only when it warms up the next day.
Each time I carried seed out for customers I watched for any bee stirrings. After a couple trips out to check on the bee I dusted her into my warm hand and placed her in the side garden where the sun was shining. As I watched I was amazed when she came alive, reoriented herself and became a busy bee once again.
So do honey bees migrate? Click HERE to find out what the bees do during the winter.