Are bees active all year in warm climate?

by James Stickley
(Florida)

I am considering soon entering into the beekeeping world. My specific question is this: I live in Florida and in this area it rarely gets cold enough to freeze. We have green plants and flowers year round. Will the bees produce honey year-round or hibernate as if it were winter elsewhere?

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Hi James,

No, bees do not hibernate on a seasonal cycle regardless of climate. In warm climates bees will stay active all year long. Whether they're making honey during all that time depends, of course, upon nectar sources available.

(And just to be a stickler for accuracy, bees don't actually hibernate at all - not in the true sense of the word. They just change their behavior in response to cold weather. Even in the coldest of climates, when the occasional day comes along that's warm enough for the bees to fly during midwinter, they'll leave the hive and fly. That can sometimes happen even when there's snow on the ground.)

Many warm regions - and I suspect this might be the case in much of Florida - don't have 'hard' winters, and the bees stay active. But even though it may be warm, that doesn't necessarily mean there's enough nectar for the bees to produce any significant amount of honey. Many nectar-producing plants bloom on a seasonal cycle, even in a warm climate. So I can't say with certainty whether your bees would produce honey all year round in Florida.

And actually, warm weather that lasts all year can make things harder on beekeepers in some ways. If there's not a constant flow of nectar, for example, the bees can consume more food during dearth periods because they're more active due to the warm weather. Swarming can be more difficult to control when the weather's warm all year. And certain pests and diseases can be harder to manage in warmer climates.

All in all, though, I imagine that Florida is probably a great place for beekeeping. Here's a link that will provide more detail about beekeeping in Florida.

Good luck!

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