What do Bees do over the Winter?
source: Bell Farms
I am often asked what my bees do during the winter. One common misconception is that they hibernate. In reality, they are very much awake inside their hives!
In the winter, honeybees cluster together in a ball roughly the size of a basketball. By flexing their wing muscles (the same muscles they use to fly), they are able to generate warmth and hold the cluster at about 85-90 degrees. The bees take turns shifting from the inside to the outside of the cluster so that everyone can stay warm. The queen is always kept at the center of the cluster.
Around the winter solstice, they will raise the core temperature of their cluster to 93 degrees. This is because the queen begins to lay eggs again around that time, and the bees must keep the brood at a constant 92-93 degrees.
By the time spring arrives, the hive will be bursting with new bees, ready to take over the hive’s duties from the spent winter bees.
Southern Roots Nursery carries Happy Bee Valley, local honey and products