PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Bees are quite literally ready to wake up and smell the flowers with warm weather finally upon us.

Luke Harvey is a beekeeper with Riverview Road Apiary, and he also serves as vice president of the Heart of Illinois Beekeeping Association.

WMBD’s Annie Kate went behind the scenes. Check out that video below!

So, when does “bee season” actually start? Harvey said once the temperature reaches about 50 degrees Fahrenheit at nighttime, bees will start flying, and can start to “swarm,” or reproduce.

“Bee season really is all year,” Harvey said. “This is really the honey flow season… They don’t die in the winter. They curl up, make a ball, and they stay warm all winter.”

However, about 50% of beehives are lost in winter. A significant contributing factor to this, he said, are mites or pests that kill bees.

And while no scientific evidence is cited to back this up, Harvey said his customers claim eating his honey helps alleviate their seasonal allergies. He said this is because local honey is made from local pollen.

Honey happens to be one of the most faked foods, considering it is primarily water and sugar. However, the health benefits of natural honey reach anywhere from helping to reduce the risk of heart disease to helping with wound care, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Ways to save the bees

  • Keep an imperfect yard (even if it’s just a small section)
  • Avoid all insecticides/pesticides
  • Plant flowers, foliage, anything! Just plant!
  • Stay away from plants grown with neonicotinoids (always ask before buying!)
  • “Support your local beekeeper.”