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The life of the bee through the seasons

The colony is made up of 60,000 and 80,000 bees in summer and 6,000 to 10,000 individuals in winter.

Queen mother

The colony is run by a single bee: the queen, who has all the privileges. She is born in a cell more spacious than her sisters, is nourished specifically and is the object of all the attentions, until the day when, sexually mature, her life will completely change.
Driven by her instinct for survival, she performs her nuptial flight and is fertilized during what is called "the bee ball", by multiple gentlemen: drones.
With the spermatheca full, the queen returns to the hive.
A few days later, she lays her first eggs (between 1500 and 2000 fertilized per day), emits her first royal pheromones and reigns over the entire colony.
The queen is very busy with her daily intensive laying activity. She is always escorted from her court, represented by young worker bees, who provide for all her needs.

Spring: a swarming weather

Over time, like everyone else, the queen ages, her laying is less consistent, her pheromones less powerful. Sneakily, the workers will build new queen cells and let the queen lay new larvae in them, so that she can raise them into a new queen.
In this context of mutiny, the queen will then reunite her most faithful fellow workers and leave the hive. They will form a large vortex / cloud to move towards a new home: it is swarming. It is at this time, moreover, that the beekeeper will pick the swarm. Swarming is finally completely natural and allows the survival of the species for millions of years: the swarm by to colonize other sectors and therefore fertilize other flowers, which will give even more vegetables, fruit... It occurs in the spring.
The hive which has been heavily depopulated will quickly recover, new workers will be born, the royal cells will give birth to several queens who will kill each other or leave the premises until there is only one left. ! In a few weeks everything will return to practically normal at the same time as summer arrives.

abeilles sur fleur

Summer: the hive at its peak

From May until the end of June, the hive is at its peak. The beautiful days are here, the flowers are abundant, the sun rises earlier and earlier and sets later, the workers see their caste increasing daily, it is the "shot". We can see that the entrance to the hive is constantly occupied: the guards take care to secure and defend the eco-system of the hive. The bees don't stop going back and forth!
When one discovers a magnificent flowering meadow, she hastens to warn her friends. A few antenna contacts or a well-paced bee dance are enough to give all the information relating to the location and quantity of the loot. The foragers then rush to go there to stock up.
In the hive, it is effervescence. The cleaners prepare the cells for food storage or for laying eggs. Nurses take care of the harmonious development of the brood. The maids are very caring for Madame la Reine. Handlers transport and process the food brought by the foragers. The builders repair and build the cells. The temperature controllers ventilate the hive by fanning their wings (it is hot in there).
And day after day, winter food reserves are increasing. This frenzy will last until the end of the summer.

Autumn: ease off

As the weeks go by, summer goes away. The days are getting shorter, the flower reserves decrease, the intensity of the collections too and the queen will feel this change and reduce the laying.
Autumn is here. Some plants bloom but the days are cooler. The collection becomes more and more random and the last bees make their last flights. The queen will stop the laying.

Winter: the time of reunion

The days are short, short, cold. The workers clustered in clusters inside the hive consume the reserves accumulated by the summer bees and transform them into caloric energy to keep the hive at a sufficiently hot temperature. It is only under these conditions that the hive will survive and spend the winter. We have also previously written an article dedicated to wintering, do not hesitate to read it.
Much later in the year, the outside temperature will increase degree by degree, the days will be a little longer, the sun will begin to be hotter, the flora will be reborn. The queen will then be stimulated by the new rations of nectar and pollen collected by the bees. She will start to lay again.
The fabulous story of the life of the hive over the seasons will resume: the workers will ensure the first births of the new workers and then, in front of the accomplished duty, will die proud to have perpetuated the colony despite the attacks repeatedly repeated by Colonel Winter.


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