How do bees winter?

Every novice beekeeper is interested in the wintering of bees. The winter period directly affects the well-being of the family with the onset of the new season. Bees will be in the hives for three to four cold months. It is important to prepare in advance for a long period of rest, having thought out all the nuances correctly.

How bees hibernate

In the fall, hardworking insects move from an active period of life to a state of dormancy. In the last days of the season, bees fly around only to empty their intestines. The structure of the body tends to increase, containing an average of 40 mg of feces. Special substances stop the decomposition processes. The body’s metabolism slows down, which allows you to safely survive the winter.

Nutrition is also designed for a slight intestinal load. That contributes to the successful overcoming of the harsh winter. Excessive expenditure of energy wears out the body. They may not live to see the new season.

With the first autumn coolness, beekeepers take care of grouping the toilers on combs with food. When the temperature drops to eight degrees, they go to the winter club. Strong families maintain the required temperature both in the center of the club and on its surfaces. A weak family concentrates heat on the shell. Bees work with a vengeance, spending energy and food, overloading the intestines.

In any wintering option, the bees are kept at rest, without being unduly influenced. Particular sensitivity appears at the end of wintering. A provoked flyby in cold weather guarantees bee diarrhea in the hive.

Exit from wintering begins with warming up the air at twelve degrees Celsius. Evolution in different climatic zones has developed resistance to the peculiarities of natural phenomena. Therefore, local breeds winter safely in their native lands.

Where the bees hibernate

Hibernation of bees

Bee colonies are kept in:

  1. in winter quarters;
  2. in rooms with insulation, for example, a greenhouse, a shed, a bathhouse, a basement;
  3. on the street.

In each case, it is important to consider all the conditions of the rest time. For wintering, food is prepared in advance, strong families, young queens are selected.

Preparing bees for winter

In the fall, preparations for winter begin with the end of the bribe and a decrease in temperature. Insects made stocks of the main food – honey and bee bread.

Bribes are being phased out. Then oviposition completely stops. The final seeding is carried out in the very center of the warm part of the hive from the south. After the brood emerges, empty cells are filled with feed. Bees independently eliminate cracks with propolis, reducing the size of the entrances. Hibernate:

  • uterus;
  • young growth;
  • some adults.

Drones are expelled at the end of the honey harvest. Until the next season, they do not participate in the life of the family. Insects rationally consume food, so it is not advisable to feed the drones.

The guarding of the entrance to the hive ceases, moving to the center. Wintering takes place without fly-overs, so it must be done on the last warm day. This is how the insects defecate for the last time in the season. With a decrease in temperature, the activity of bees fades away. A club is formed, adjoining each other.

When preparing for wintering, it is important to consider the characteristics of the breeds. For example, Karnika is adapted to frosty conditions and variable winds. They hibernate in small families. For the Carpathians, family unification is practiced.

What bees do in winter in a hive

In overcoming the cold, bees independently prepare for wintering. Don’t worry about greenhouse conditions. Nature has developed its methods in the course of evolution.

All individuals unite in a single club to keep warm. There is a constant movement from the upper part of the club to the inside, pushing out those who have warmed up and stocked up with food. The lower the temperature, the higher the activity. The club moves to the top, to the back walls in search of food. The heat in the core rises to thirty degrees. Along the edges up to fifteen degrees.

Why do bees die in winter

Mortality is influenced by various factors, including poor wintering. The correct content will help to minimize or completely eliminate:

  • weak families;
  • death of the uterus;
  • hunger;
  • high humidity;
  • low temperature;
  • diarrhea;
  • disease;
  • rodents.

Excessive moisture is determined by the presence of mold. The main factor is inadequate ventilation of Omshanik. Improper treatment for diseases also increases moisture readings.

The formation of excess moisture leads to souring of honey. The consequences are the death of insects due to hunger. Possible lack of feed due to crystallization of honey, cold.

Bee diarrhea can be a common consequence of death. When brood appears in the last months of autumn, proper flight does not take place. Large amounts of stool accumulate. The full intestines of young individuals lead to pestilence of the entire family.

Honeydew honey can also provoke diarrhea. Honey varieties with the highest content of the active component are not suitable for nutrition during the wintering period. These include all varieties of a dark color. It crystallizes faster and sour.

The absence of a uterus is another factor of pestilence. When bees search for a queen, the state of the club is disturbed. The insects can no longer gather again, an even submergence occurs.

An even submersion is caused by an increased temperature in the house, eight degrees or excessive noise and bright light.

The podmore in the form of a slide says that the bees did not warm up enough, and the cause of death was hunger. Moving behind the feed, the formation of several small tubers is possible.

Infectious and invasive diseases become the cause of death of bees. Some of them:

  • viral paralysis;
  • salmonellosis;
  • calcareous, saccular brood;
  • rotting of larvae.

When diseases are eliminated, special treatment is carried out. It is necessary to fight the pathogens correctly so that it does not become another cause of the death of bees.

Nutrition of bee colonies in winter

The bees drink

In winter, the family’s food consumption is 18 – 25 kg of honey. The feed is pre-sealed for safe storage. The bee club is gradually moving upstairs, eating supplies. At the same time, free sealed honeycombs are occupied. It is advisable to select frames in dark shades.

The feed consumption depends on the quality of the hive. Warmth, low humidity and high-quality ventilation guarantee minimal consumption. A strong family is able to independently make the required amount of reserves for the winter. The harvested honey is stored in a thick form. Insects travel around it with specific glands. The required moisture is taken from the vapor produced during breathing. Excess moisture spoils honey, causing death.

During the winter, bees do not defecate when consuming quality forage honey. Crystallized or sour food causes diarrhea and nosematosis, which is detrimental to the entire family.

Weak colonies need more food to keep them warm. Wintering is better tolerated if there is a young queen in the hive.

Bee food:

  • honey;
  • honey satiety;
  • syrup;
  • powdered sugar;
  • honey;
  • protein feed.

Syrup is the most economical food. No additives, but no protein.

Wintering without insulation

Sometimes beekeepers prefer wintering bees in a cool room. For the wintering of bees in Omshanik, structures made of wood of the ground, combined or underground type are suitable. Insulation can be made of boards, clay or straw. Good ventilation is needed to get fresh air. Solid floor and solid walls keep you warm.

In the absence of a special structure, bees are suitable for wintering in:

  • shed;
  • greenhouse;
  • basement;
  • cellar;
  • dressing room;
  • shelter in a hut.

Wintering of bees in a polycarbonate greenhouse in an area with mild frosts, but heavy rainfall. Spring temperature drops are considered the disadvantage of the structure. To avoid overheating, the greenhouse is closed with roofing felt in the fall.

The inside of the greenhouse is insulated with polystyrene using polyurethane foam. Compliance with the requirements guarantees the keeping of the family strong and less feed consumption.

How to properly insulate hives

To insulate the hives, the selection of the necessary material is important. You can always have at hand:

  • straw;
  • sackcloth;
  • Styrofoam;
  • polyethylene;
  • worn out warm clothes;
  • polyurethane foam insulation;
  • other material.

The nests are grouped in one place, reducing the number of blown walls. For insulation inside, outpost frames are used. A denser insulation is placed on top.

Outside, insulation is done by cladding with nails. It is enough to stick the polystyrene to the walls of the house. Felt mats, straw or fallen leaves are placed below.

It is important to remember to have adequate ventilation. At elevated temperatures, insects are overly active. The entrance is left open. In severe frost, it closes, leaving only a few small holes. You can make two tap holes, but you cannot open completely at the same time. Adjustment of valves is provided.

How bees winter in a hive in an apiary

In the process of wintering bees of autumn generations, the body accumulates nutrients as proteins, fats, glycogen. The content of free fluid decreases, the type of metabolism of the body changes.

In autumn, with the onset of cold weather, bees form into a winter club. At first, it is rather loose and can disintegrate under the influence of positive daytime temperatures. Resilience comes with cold weather. The density of the club increases and lasts the entire cold period.

Wintering bees in a hive means forming a winter club in order to save food and maintain the required temperature.

Features of wintering bees on the street

Preparing the hive for the winter outdoors is different for different climates. In the southern regions, free wintering does not provide for excessive warming. Which is completely opposite for the north of the country.

Wintering options for bees outside under the snow are often used by experienced beekeepers. It is important to eliminate the cracks by insulating them in the fall, to cover the hives with snow. Wintering of bees on the street in central and northern Russia is impossible without insulation.

First, beekeepers check the protection of the houses from strong winds. Trees, buildings, or fences can serve as shields. In the absence of protection, the walls are insulated with roofing material and slate. The walls and bottom are insulated. The holes are covered with shields.

During wintering in hives under the snow, healthy, strong individuals are hatched. Early flight begins. It is important to take into account that the snow masses do not adjoin closely to the houses and do not fall into the entrances. In the cold season, bees on the street in winter eat several kilograms of food more than in Omshanik.

Checking bees

Subject to high-quality preparation for wintering, it is not necessary to disturb the hives. Many beekeepers still make a round with the basic inspection rules:

  • The clubs are located taking into account the free passage between the hive.
  • The covers are carefully removed, preferably in calm weather.
  • The cabins are not checked in clear weather. Cloudy, cloudy day is preferable.
  • The monotonous hum in the hive signals the good condition of the family.

Adhering to the simple rules of beekeepers to create favorable wintering conditions for bees, insects will endure any weather conditions. And already in early spring, the overwintered family will begin to bring a lot of valuable sweet food.


Hibernation of bees
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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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