Wintertime is the most inactive season for honeybees; they try to preserve heat and energy by clustering together, which creates an amplified heating effect for the entire hive.
Normally in extreme winter queen reduces or completely stops egg production and tried stay at the center of the cluster of bees for heat.
The work of the females continues as far as taking care of the queen. during this time the colony is comprised of females only as the males have been eliminated.
Soon it will be spring so the bees keep the identity of queen clearly visible in order to know her in spring. Ivy plant is sturdy and is affected by the winter.
Ivy plants attract bees during the beginning of winter to store food for them.
The temperature dictates how close the clustering of the bees are, they can be close or loose. If the climate is temperate the huddling is loose the food also is consumed more.
During the coldest weeks of winter, food consumption drops as well as the activity of the colony. the winter cluster is tightest during the coldest weeks. When the weather is tolerable, honeybees will take advantage and will perform what is called “cleansing flights”.
The bees work schedule and temperature:
A. in 50 to 110 F the bees continue their normal behavior like foraging and queen producing eggs.
b. about 95 F Brooding work will continue.
C. about 57 F bees will begin to cluster and stop all activity. This is the temperature when tight huddling will start.
d. around 50 F they can do nothing outside the hives. the tightest clustering occurs now.
e. 45 F will be critical as many bees freeze and become immobile.
Winter a most difficult time for bees, even more so if the bee keeper hasn’t prepared the hives correctly. This is the time of year when the most losses occur, mainly through ignorance or bad management the hives are left to their own devices. Often the keeper has stolen the bees winter stores, left them unprotected from the elements, then wonders why the hive is dead come spring. good wintering techniques start months before the first frost.
This is the time to think about the queen if you have an older queen. in winter the older queen does not have a good chance of survival. they usually die or become useless. Remember your beekeeping will suffer if the queen is useless. think about replacing a younger and new queen after a year or two. This will assure you of constant supply of good eggs and honey.