As the Weather Cools, the Hive Heats Up

Honeybees, in their constant drive to protect the hive, spend all spring and summer preparing food stores to survive on during the cool winter months. When temperatures drop in late fall, these worker bees return back to the hive from their foraging to form a ‘winter cluster’, a tightly knit huddle formed specifically to protect the queen from the brutally cold temperatures that would otherwise kill her and the rest of her hive. Incredibly, these intrepid workers have devised a brilliant system to maintain their environment at an almost tropical temperature, all winter long.

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Working at a dizzying speed, honeybees surround the queen in a cluster shape and begin to flutter their wings in continuous motion. Much like humans shiver to keep warm in cold temperatures, these bees pump their muscles to produce heat for themselves and their queen. They gather in layers and rotate positions to create a structure that effectively insulates the queen and her entire clan. Honey stores, the liquid gold these honeybees have produced throughout the warmer months, are the key to keeping this intricate dance in motion; without adequate nourishment these workers fail to perform their duty to the hive. Consequently, keeping honeybees stocked with honey and keeping pesticides out of hives is vital to honeybee hive health. It’s with this objective in mind that we created July Honey Month alongside our partner, Rodale Institute.

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We are thrilled to be a supporter of the Non-GMO Project.

Sources:

http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-do-bees-do-in-winter/

http://www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com/help-honey-bees-survive-winter/

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