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Why Are Bees Aggressive in the Fall?

Fall is quickly approaching, and there’s a good chance you’ve started noticing more bees buzzing around. These black and yellow bugs are beneficial insects and typically not aggressive. As the weather cools, you may notice bees becoming more aggressive. Check out the reasons for the change in their behavior.

Population Growth

Bee near flower

Throughout summer, bees work to build their colonies. Hives can have thousands of bees living in it. Some hives can house up to 60,000 bees. These fully mature nests have many foraging bees that head out in search of food. The more foraging bees in a nest, the higher chance of a run-in with one of these bugs.

Protective of Their Hive


As fall approaches, bees are busy preparing the hive and queen for winter. They forage for food that can help sustain them throughout winter. Unfortunately, their food resources are depleting. Cold weather causes plants and flowers to die. When bees find a food source, they will be protective of it. They also have to worry about other bees robbing their hive. When food supplies are low, bees will try to steal food from other hives. This can make bees more defensive and more aggressive. 

Change in Their Diet

Drinks in mason jars

Bees experience a shift in their diets in fall. In summer, they are interested in eating protein, which they receive from pollen. Their preference changes to carbohydrates in fall. Your sugary food and drinks become more appealing to these bugs. This can explain why they are more active at your outdoor picnics and festivities. They are on the hunt for something sweet to eat, and they aren’t afraid of stealing a bite.

Weather Conditions

Backyard on sunny day

The last few days of summer can bring hot and humid weather. Bees aren’t a fan of these conditions. They spend these days working hard, and the heat doesn’t make their job any easier. Not only do they have to search for food, they have to expend energy keeping the hive cool. The weather can also hinder honey production. This can cause bees to become more defensive and aggressive.

Presence of Varroa Mites

Bee and varroa mites

Honey bees have to worry about varroa mites. These mites are parasites that feed and reproduce on honey bees. Usually, they focus their attention on larvae and pupae. These mites reach their peak in fall. Their presence can affect the health of the colony. Diseases can be transmitted and bee populations can decline. If a hive is dealing with an infestation, it can make them more aggressive.

Though most bees are typically non-aggressive, their attitudes can shift in fall. Knowing what to expect from these bugs can help you avoid a painful encounter. If pests are giving you a fit, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products for a more environmentally and family-friendly solution.

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