Sunday, October 23, 2011

Winter Cluster

You've probably noticed a rather sluggish hive lately, especially in the mornings. With recent nights dipping into the 40s and most days barely reaching 65 degrees, honey bees will be venturing out to forage less and less.

Honey bees will stop flying at about 50 degrees, and will instead cluster inside the hive. The size of the cluster will again depend on the temperature. As is gets colder, the cluster will tighten to maintain the center around 90-94 degrees. Check out this infrared photo of a beehive during the winter where the clusters are clearly visible.

Also around this time of the year, you might notice some dead bees strewn in front of the beehive. This is normal, and part of the process to prepare for winter. Right around now, drones are being kicked out of the hive so they won't be around to consume precious resources, and brood production slows.

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