Bee buzz in the WinterTime...

Categories: On The Farm

Like other insects, the honey bee is cold-blooded (exotherms). However, unlike other insects, the honey bee does not die off in the fall or hibernate, but is active all winter eating and metabolizing honey to keep warm. Individual honeybees are exothermic (maintaining body heat from outside sources), but a hive collectively is endothermic (maintains body heat from within). With the onset of cold weather, the bees congregate in a cluster, shivering their flight muscles to generate heat and warm the hive. Shivering the flight muscles activate different patterns from those during flight. The muscles contract against each other rather than on the wings.

.....A “winter” bee is produced at the end of the summer. It is physiologically different than the summer bee, with a different hemolymph (blood) protein profile than the summer bee.Winter bees also have fatter bodies which they rely for nourishment during the non-foraging months. A winter bee will live much longer (4 to 6 months) than a summer bee (45 days). During the winter, honey bees also consume honey to generate heat however, the honey bees crowd tightly together in a cluster. The cluster expands and contracts as weather warms and cools

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