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  • Writer's pictureLinda

Too cold for inspections

Cliffe Castle Bee Blog #4 2023

Today (Monday 24 April) is far too cold to attempt an inspection of the

colony. With the forecast predicting a “feels like” temperature of 4C, it is

not a day to disturb them. Imagine if you were snug and warm indoors on

a chilly day and the BFG came along and ripped off the side of your house

to peer inside and lift you out for a closer look! So, we need to be

patient and hold off until next week to make our first check of the

Observation Hive this new season.

How do honey bees keep warm when it’s cold outside?

When the temperature begins to drop (from about 18C), the bees in a

colony act together to protect the eggs and larvae in the nest

against the cold. To do this, they gather, between the combs (or the

frames of the hive) around the nest centre and raise the temperature

using the heat from their bodies. The chillier it gets, the closer they

huddle (a bit like penguins in the Antarctic). If the temperature rises,

they can move apart to let some cooler air reach the nest centre. In the

spring, when the queen has begun to lay more eggs to help the colony

build up in size, the honeybees need to keep the centre of their nest at a

temperature of 30-35C. This is the Goldilocks Zone (not too hot/not too

cold/just right!) to raise their young successfully.

You can get an idea of how a cluster looks in a regular hive from the

picture below.



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