“Where have all the flowers gone?” This song by Peter, Paul, and Mary may just sum up exactly how a honeybee feels when winter approaches. When the flowers disappear and long warm days drift silently into long cold nights, honeybees thoughts turn to their home and their family. Well, sort of.
Honeybees Work Together
It’s the dead of winter, how can a hive of honeybees survive the extreme cold? They hunker down in their hives for the winter ahead, keeping warm within the hive and dining on the honey they all gathered during the spring and summer months. A typical honeybee nest can maintain a constant temperature of 93 degrees year round. During the winter, honeybees gather together really, really close to maintaining body temperatures. They cluster around the queen to keep her nice and toasty and still producing eggs. Yes, it can get a little cramped, but it’s far better than freezing to death.
To maintain their energy, honeybees nibble on the honey they gathered throughout the year. When they become really cold, honeybees begin to shiver just like humans. Worker honeybees create a shivering vibration on the outside areas of the hive to keep those within from freezing. They also help guard the outside of the hive against the weather reaching within. When the shivering honeybee becomes too cold themselves, they move to the middle of the hive to get warm again and other bees take his place and so on.
On an interesting note, if it gets a little too warm, hives come with their own air conditioning. Well, how about an insect equivalent? When it becomes too warm, thousands of little wings begin to flutter to cool down the hive.
Depending on the size of the hive, there are times honeybees are unable to move during the winter. If honeybees can’t move, they can’t reach the honey to sustain their energy. Also, the outside honeybees can freeze. In both cases, the hive will lose a lot of honeybees and possibly die off altogether. Now, on average, a honeybee hive can produce up to three times the honey necessary, approximately sixty pounds, to keep the hive alive and happy during the winter. It’s only when a hive can’t produce enough honey, or too much honey is stolen from them, could there be a major issue.
On a warm, spring day, a honeybee can visit up to 2,000 flowers, giving truth to the term, busy as a bee. That is taking into account that the bee stops off by the hive every fifty or so flowers. Bees are notoriously hard workers, which can take a major toll on their bodies. A typical worker bee only lives about three weeks. The queen, however, can produce up to one million new bees in her hive during her lifetime, which equals about 1,500 a day. No wonder she never leaves the hive. It must bee exhausting.
Not Always a Threat
With spring fast approaching, you’re bound to find a few busy honeybees buzzing around your garden. Try not to disturb them. They’re only doing their job. If you do happen upon a swarm in your yard, don’t attempt to go near them. If you can, contact your local beekeeper or your local animal services and enforcement and they will safely remove the swarm from your property.
Honeybees may be good for the environment, but there are times when they make their hives just a bit too close to your home to feel comfortable. That’s when you need to call a professional. AIPM is owned and operated by University graduates who majored in Biology and Pest Management. They know how to handle all types of buzzing insect problems. They can eliminate any threats to your property while setting up a custom plan to ensure that you never have to face the same type of issue again.