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Wintertime is Clustering Time in Honey Bee Colonies

Winter Honey Bee ColoniesActivity in honey bee colonies are least during the wintertime because of the general scarcity of foraging materials and the temperature drop.

What to expect during the winter in honey bee colonies:

  • Honeybees are more vulnerable to attacks from common enemies because they are the least active during winter. They are also lethargic, which means the bees will not be able to protect the hive the way they used to.
  • At 14 degrees Celsius, honeybees are often completely immobile. The winter cluster in honey bee colonies are tightest when the temperature drops down to 14 degrees Celsius or even lower. Though some species of bees are hardy enough during winter, don’t expect too much from your bees.
  • Placing mouse guards during the wintertime is important to keep both rodents and wax moths from invading the vulnerable hive. Wax moths can cause complete destruction of the hive – so it would be best if you kept out these insects from the hive during the winter months.
The Wisdom of the Hive: The Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies
  • Emergency feedings might be necessary if the food stores of the bees are running low during the start of the winter season. Emergency feeding can be achieved by placing a bag of sugar syrup inside the hive body.
  • If the temperature of the environment is more than 14 degrees Celsius, some bees can be seen flying out of the hive from their honey bee colonies. These are called “cleansing flights”.

Your honey bee colonies may or may not survive the winter. A little preventative care will help them survive.

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