Winter weather has well and truly settled in here in little old New Zealand. Us humans are not the only ones snuggling up, so are our bees.
So what's happening to our bees during the winter months? As fewer flowers are blooming the nectar and pollen coming into the hive reduces so does the amount of brooding.
Older bees gradually decrease in numbers and the bees collect extra Propolis from surrounding trees to seal up the cracks in the hives. Doing so helps to reduce the amount of cold air in the hive.
Reducing the amount of bee's in the hive means that there is enough honey to get them through the cold winter months.
As our bee's activity decreases so does the long list of jobs for our beekeepers.
Our beekeepers will be spending the next few months getting prepared; cleaning, repairing and updating themselves to brace the 'buzzy' season all again!
Did you know that a worker bee lives longer in the winter than in summer?
In summer a worker bee lives for up to 40 to 60 days, but in winter it can live up to 180 days! These wintering bees are actually called diutinus bees ( Diutinus - Latin for long-lasting).
Come winter, a honeybee hive is drastically different, it's all females! Male bees (drones) are kicked out of the hive, could you imagine kicking all the men out of your home come winter?
Seems a bit cruel, but it's for a good reason! They are a drain on resources...
Drones only role in the hive is to help with reproduction and since the queen bee doesn't lay eggs in the winter months, it's important to keep only the bees necessary to get through the winter.
In the spring all is 'put right' in the hive again and the queen bee lays more drones to replace the males that were lost!
Daylight Savings & Bees
The worst things about winter for many of us, is daylight savings. Wake up go to work, dark. Finish work, go home, dark.
Did you know that unlike us humans, bees are not effected by circadian changes like daylight saving.
Bees work and sleep to the beat of their own drums! They work and sleep at different times with no apparent 24-hour pattern. Which means their hives are busy all the time!
While our bees do slow down in the winter months they still work hard to keep the Queen bee warm and safe. They form what we call a cluster around the Queen. To produce heat, much like us humans, bees 'shiver'; they take turns and rotate the role of fluttering their wings and shake their bodies.
Let Our Bee's Help your Wellbeing this Winter!
Our bees sure do know a thing or two about staying safe, warm and healthy in the winter. We can thank them for the great wellbeing products that you too can use to keep you and your family healthy this winter.
Check out our blog: Winter Wellbeing From the Hive to learn more about what products are right for you.