What’s happening in the hive?
With the holiday season behind us, curious beekeepers can’t help but wonder what those winter honeybees are doing? We packed
up the colonies with food during the fall and hoped for the best. Now we still have a few months of potentially cold weather before we can hope for extended Spring temperatures. Genetics always plays an important part in honeybee behavior and some bees will be active at colder temperatures than others.
Hopefully, the bees are alive and existing in a cluster. Winter honeybees do not hibernate but they will cluster together for warmth during cold weather and become inactive. Honey is the fuel that the bees use for energy to vibrate their wing muscles and create heat. No honey – no heat – dead bees. Too much warm weather during winter can be as bad as too cold. The bees may eat all of their winter stores before the spring flowers appear and starve as a result.
New Life Begins in the beehive
Some queens may lay a small amount of brood all winter but most take a break during late fall. If you do a minimal inspection of your hive during late winter you may find a small patch of brood. This is a good sign. As January progresses and the red maples bloom, our winter honeybees are already thinking about Spring.