For those of you that regularly read our informative blogs, we touched slightly on the details of hibernation of insects in our last blog, “Do Bugs Hibernate?”. While writing that blog, I came across a very detailed article with amazing information about how Honey Bees hibernate in the winter.
Talk about team work! With the exception of the drones (they get kicked out of the colony once it starts getting cold outside), the worker bees strive all winter long to keep the queen and her youngins (“brood”) warm. The way in which they do this is quite amazing in my opinion.
Essentially, the worker bees surround the queen and her young. The colder it is, the tighter they crowd together inward toward the queen and her young. In order to keep warm within the colony, the worker bees “shiver”. This is similar to the motion when they are flapping their wings, but their wings do not actually move. All this “shivering” warms up their body temperatures, which in effect warms the whole colony.
How do the worker bees have the energy to “shiver” all winter long? They eat their own honey! This provides them the energy they need.
So the next time you pour a little honey in your tea, think of all the energy that honey gives the worker bees to warm up their colony, keep the queen and her young alive, and carry on the species in the spring.
To read the whole article, visit http://insects.about.com/od/antsbeeswasps/qt/How-Honey-Bees-Keep-Warm-In-Winter.htm