What Happens to Bees in Winter?
Hey Bee Boxers,
The weather is cooling down and with the the activity level of the honeybees.
As the honeybees work through the warmer days of fall, gathering nectar from the last blooms of the season, they are preparing for winter. The honey and pollen that they have gathered throughout the spring and summer seasons will become their food source come winter.
In general, honeybees will not fly if it is cooler than 60 - 65 degrees outside. They also won't fly if it is cloudy, because they use the sun to navigate from flower to flower, and then back to their hive. The weather I just described pretty much sums up a Sacramento winter (plus rain!), so as you can imagine the bees spend quite a bit of time in a dormant state within the hive, never leaving.
What do they do while they are stuck in their beehive all winter? Well, they basically create one big snuggle pile. With the queen bee in the center of the huddle, they all come together and form a giant huddle around the queen, keeping each other warm. Every so often the honeybees in the center will move to the outskirts of the huddle to allow the "chilly" bees a chance to warm up - how thoughtful!
Other than keeping warm, they try not to exert too much energy so that they don't have to consume as much food. It is essential for a beekeeper to keep the hive closed until the warm weather returns; if they were to open a hive, the entire colony could catch a chill and die.
Want to know anything else about bees?? Let us know!
- The Bee Box