Where do bees go in the winter?
Were you all wondering what bees get up to in the winter? Well, not all bees behave the same way throughout these months.
Honey bees spend the months leading up to winter buzzing around preparing themselves for the cold months ahead. Over winter however, they like to spend this period together in their hive. They tend to form the “winter cluster” to cope with the bitter outside temperatures. Without the blankets or fires we are blessed with, honeybees adapt by sticking together to stay cosy and alive.
This is a process called overwintering. I guess you could say our manic preparation for Christmas and how we spend our winter months are not so dissimilar from bees. How do you prepare your hive for Christmas? Are you starting to get cosy in your hive with your family and friends?
But back to the bees for now, it is vital for them to make their hive fully prepared for the coldest periods. This preparation is detrimental to whether or not it survives through the winter.
The key ingredients for survival include:
🐝 Keeping warm
🐝 The swarm consisting of enough winter ready bees
🐝 A abundant source of honey to eat
🐝 And a secure and safe hive
In bees annual life cycle, after the new queens are produced and mate in the summer and autumn, the workers, males and old queens die off by winter time. Therefore, it is usually these new queen bees that occupy and hibernate over the winter.
Usually the Queen positions herself at the centre of the hive, with the shaking off the worker producing enough heat for her majesty.
There are also some bees however, who choose to not hide in a hive. Instead, they burry themselves into the soft earth or under logs to protect themselves from the bitter frost. However, increasingly, with global warming, some may get confused by the warm winter days and emerge too early.