Reporting to you live from the hive where you can now get all the latest buzz on the bees! Brought to you directly from inside one of our Fort Wayne area beehives from the lady worker bees themselves- you can now get a sneak peek into the secret happenings of the honey bees in winter.
More About “LIVE! From The Hive”
Very often we are asked, “What do honey bees DO in the winter?” Now, not only can we answer that for you, but we can SHOW you! One of our volunteers, Jordan Cornwell, has worked to program an endoscopic camera with a miniature computer called a Raspberry Pi (which is the size of a credit card!) to provide us with live feed from directly inside the hive. The Raspberry Pi is connected to Wi-Fi and housed in a waterproof case out near the hive. The endoscopic camera was carefully fed through the tiny entrance at the top of the hive just under the cover so as not to disturb the bees. At any time, this video feed is now available for our viewing and observation.
We hope that you will find this live feed as fascinating as we do! What a great learning and discovery tool for children and adults alike! Teachers and parents, we encourage you to share this with your students and children. This is a great way to practice and discuss observation skills and scientific inquiry.
What Do Bees Do Throughout The Winter?
So… what do bees do in the winter? Typically, honeybees halt their flying when the temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At this time, they form what is called their “winter cluster” in the lower center portion of the hive. They keep the queen in the middle of their cluster and use their shivering body motion to keep the center of the cluster around 36 degrees. Since the outside edge of the cluster tends to be colder, the bees rotate and take turns so they don’t freeze.
During the winter, the bees survive off the honey they have stored up over the summer. It is said that the honeybees will consume up to 60 pounds of honey throughout the winter. This honey helps them produce body heat, which in turns results in energy. Heat energy comes from the oxidation of the honey and is spread throughout the hive when the worker bees fan their wings. The bees will migrate around the hive moving slowly upwards as they navigate to their honey stores located throughout the hive.
On winter days when it is a bit warmer, the bees will exit the hive for quick flights to rid themselves of body waste. If bees cannot get out for these short winter flights, the hive may suffer from dysentery if they are forced to excrete their waste inside the hive. These flights are kept short so the bees do not get so cold that they are unable to return to the hive.
Wondering why you don’t see any drone bees? In late fall, the drone bees are “kicked out” of the hive in preparation for winter. Because they are not needed to survive the winter months, the female worker bees remove the drone bees in order to conserve honey stores for themselves and the queen in order to keep her fed and warm. Not to worry though, the queen will lay new drone eggs in the spring to replenish their population within the hive.
Want To Help? Name A Bee!
From “Bobee” to “Bee-m Me Up Scotty,” as a part of our “Name A Bee” campaign, with a $5 donation, we’ve had a lot of fun seeing what creative names people have came up with to name their bee! All funds go towards our mission of promoting and preserving the local honeybee population. > We have many “named” bees in our apiaries, click here to view them all!
Name A Bee! – Donate To Our Efforts
If you had a pet bee, what would you name her?
We’ll let you “adopt” and name as many bees as you would like! Don’t worry, you don’t have to take her home or brush her hair, we’ll do that for you. But since we have over 250,000 honey bees and more born every day, we need your help to name them all!
For each $5 donation, you can name one bee!
Your donation helps our efforts of the preservation, conservation and education to the public of honey bees in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. We will keep a running list of all of our “named” bees right here on our website.
Help us save the bees!
More About Southwest Honey Co.
Our unpasteurized and raw honey is bottled directly from the hive, so you can enjoy with confidence that it has pure nutrients, enzymes, and pollen. . .
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We hold hands-on, fun and educational events and classes for kids (Explore The Honey Bee), adults (Bees & Brew) and seniors (Bees & Tea). . .
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Did you know that we can thank a honey bee for one of every three bites of food we take? Join in our cause to help save the bees. . .
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