January – Freezing temperatures!

Logo Un Toit Pour Les Abeilles

Every month we receive some news from the hive that we sponsor for the association “Un toit pour les abeilles” (A Shelter for Bees).

Discover the January’s news!


What’s happening in the beehive?

Have you noticed the biting cold over the past few days, numbing your fingers and toes? Mother Nature has donned her winter mantel, and an almost monastic silence has settled over the hives.
Temperatures have dropped below freezing pretty much across the country. And where they do climb a little higher, it is never to more than 10° C! Bees have no wish to contend with the winter cold. And it’s certainly not worth the risk since the low temperatures could kill them.
And what would be the point anyway? There’s literally nothing left outside for them to forage on. Our little protégés will huddle together all winter long, keeping the core temperature inside the hive warmer (20/30° C) so that its occupants can survive.
In a few months’ time, Mother Nature will come to life again… The birds will start to build their spring nests, the trees will begin to bud, and the flora and fauna will wake from their slumber!
In a few short months, the bustle on the beehive landing board will gradually resume!


Focus on … Overwintering

Our honeybees, commonly known as the domestic bees, are the only Hymenoptera species to overwinter, meaning that they spend the whole winter together inside the hive. They do no hibernate in the true sense of the term because they remain active.
However their main activity is to warm up the “inside” of the beehive, in order to keep the core temperature of the winter cluster high and make sure the colony survives.
They continue to eat, drawing on the available honey stores inside the hive. In fact, they spend the winter keeping cosy at home with the family!

In the summertime, a colony will have around 40,000 to 60,000 bees. In winter, the Queen Bee stops laying and numbers are reduced to a strict minimum of around 20,000 worker bees!


As for the beekeeper…

As in December, there are few beekeeping duties to be performed in January. It’s mostly a matter of keeping an eye on things. Beekeepers can’t open the hives because of the cold. They should just check that nothing has damaged or disturbed the beehives.
They can also start preparing for the next beekeeping season, which will begin in a few weeks’ time: equipment inventory, cleaning of frames, preparation of foundation sheets, miscellaneous jobs in the honey house.


Did you know?

During cold periods, bees consume their honey stores to maintain a good body temperature.
But they don’t excrete the body waste produced as a result inside the hive … Bees are very clean creatures!
They take advantage of milder days to make “hygiene flights” outside the beehive to eliminate waste built up over several weeks!
Mother Nature is pretty clever, isn’t she?!