The most common question I get this time of the year is, "Do bees hibernate? What are they doing during the winter?" Well, I'm glad you asked! The bees do not hibernate, but are active throughout the winter. Here in the south, it's common to see bees flying on sunny days when the temperature is up over 60. When it's cold, the bees cluster in the hive to stay warm. The most common reasons for hive failure in the winter are 1) lack of food (i.e. honey), or 2) not enough bees in the hive to stay warm. Bees rarely die from the cold, but rather run out of food to keep their metabolism up. This is why I've been taking advantage of the occasional warm day to look in on my bees to ensure they have enough to eat. I've been fortunate so far this winter and not lost any of my hives. Incidentally, we're already starting to see pollen in the air, which is one of the triggers for the queen to start laying eggs, building brood for the spring. Pay attention to the pollen count on local weather reports and you can get a clue into bee activity.
If you have questions about bees or would just like to stay in touch, I'd love to hear from you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.