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What do bees do in winter?

Wild and domestic bees do not work the same way.

They heat up between them...

Honeybees are an exception, because the workers manage to maintain a suitable temperature in the heart of the hive. A lone bee cannot survive the cold, which is why there must be real unity in the hive. In order not to remain alone, they huddle together, in clusters and flap their wings, which warms the hive. The bees know how to regulate the hive thermally: they tighten up during the cold weather or relax if it is too mild. 

The bees in the outer shell are closest to the food, which they consume as they work, and then there is a rotation to allow others to gain strength. They also penetrate inside empty cells and fill the spaces between the spokes to avoid losing heat.

And feed...

The honey from the hive allows the workers, the queen and the larvae to feed during this period.

The bees will not leave the hive until the temperature has reached about 12 ° C except for so-called “cleanliness” flights, that is to say going to the toilet to avoid the proliferation of diseases the interior. 

This whole organization is unsuspected when you look at a beehive in winter ... You shouldn't disturb them! 

A mild winter is not necessarily good news for bees. Foragers will be pushed to go for a walk to forage. Unfortunately, there will be nothing foraging and they will be exhausted and will have to return to the hive to feed. The hibernation stock will decrease faster.

What about the males? 

Males called "Drones" died before winter or were chased or killed by bees. The workers feel that they have fulfilled their role, that of fertilizing the queen, in summer and that they are no longer useful in winter.

Can you prepare your hive for winter?

Before winter, the beekeeper must check that the bees have enough honey to feed. It is therefore necessary to leave them a maximum of honey during the last harvest. But also check the state of the hive, that there are no drafts for example.

What about wild bees? 

The other so-called wild bees overwinter. They seek shelter, like a nest or a hole in the ground and remain motionless, completely numb, waiting for winter to come to their end.



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