The Honeybee Colony that Shivers Together Stays Together

posted in: Climate Change, Eco-fiction, Honeybees | 0

People often ask whether honeybees hibernate during winter.  Hibernation involves lowering body temperature to match the cold, and a slowing of heart rate and breathing.  Honeybees do not hibernate.  To the contrary, they huddle together like penguins in order to stay warm.  When the temperature outside is particularly cold, the honeybees will form a tight cluster with their queen at the center.  The honeybees vibrate their wing muscles in order to generate heat.  This heat will keep the inside of the cluster at around 81⁰ F (27⁰ C). Honeybees derive the energy necessary for this winter shiver from their honey stores. That’s why an adequate food supply over cold months is so important. During the occasional warm sunny day during winter, some of the honeybees will leave the hive for a brief cleansing flight. Honeybees prefer tidy homes. On their return, they resume huddling with their sisters.

When the honeybees on the outside of the cluster get cold, they’ll trade places with their sisters closer to the center.  In a honeybee colony, every lady pulls her weight. They survive together by shivering together. There are so many lessons to be learned from honeybees.

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