World Honey Market is headquartered in northern Florida and despite the state's reputation for being all about the sunshine, believe it, or not the winters for us and the bees can get a bit chilly this far north, in the south.
To know how to prepare hives, it's important to understand what happens to bees in the winter and how your climate affects them.
Unlike some other insects, bees do not hibernate during the winter or lay eggs that overwinter and emerge in spring. Honeybees are active all winter long.
During the winter, the bees have one goal; protecting the queen until spring. They will do whatever it takes to reach this goal, even if it means they die in the process.
Once temperatures reach about 55 degrees, the bees will cluster around the queen. The colder the temperatures get, the tighter the cluster will become. They will shiver and flap their wings to increase the hive temperature to keep the queen warm at about 96 degrees. They rotate the duty of being outside so that everyone can have a chance to stay warm and not get worn out.
It should be no surprise that it takes a lot of energy to shiver and flap wings to keep the hive warm. So the cluster of bees will move around the hive and eat honey to fuel their living central heating plan.
The bees stay in the hive all winter, keeping it warm and eating honey. However, if the temperature is above 40 degrees, some bees might leave the hive to keep waste accumulation down.
All the hives need food, water, and warmth for a bee farm to survive the winter.
For the most part, we are very fortunate, it is relatively easy for us to move our bees further south to keep them warm, but even then, winter is never an easy time for beekeepers. Regardless of how mild our winters are, we always make sure that we leave honey for your bees for the winter.