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Winter in your Beehive. Part Two

The Winter Cluster.

The temperature inside the winter cluster is generated by the movement of bees and the consumption of honey. Bees at the core of the cluster can move about. The outer clustered bees prevent temperature loss when grouped together.

bees honey
Picture 1: A successfully overwintered hive

If the temperature is too high, the bees will expand to allow heat to escape. If the temperature is too low, the cluster will contract and become more compact. Sometimes the temperature within the cluster will be high enough for brood rearing. Although, it is not unusual for the colony to become broodless.

Bees Honey beehive
Picture 2: A small brood in a struggling hive.

Bees do not like to break their winter cluster when the outside temperature is low. The bees will not fly if the temperature is below 12C. The winter solstice (June 21) is the shortest day of the year. It is considered the time when the colony is at its smallest and the Queen’s egg laying is at its lowest or completely stopped. It is a turning point in the beekeeping year.

Missed Part One: Winter in the Beehive


Our new Spring Beekeeping Education program is out. Have a browse.

We have added a new two day training event, "Small Scale Queen Rearing".

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