Cold Honey Bee
Location: Missouri
December 24, 2010 1:34 am
I haven’t submitted anything in awhile…too busy and then it was too cold. I went looking for bugs this evening and found this Honey Bee holding on to our deck. I carefully moved it inside to a temporary studio I set up. I figured I’d try to get some really close shots and thought it was dead. As it warmed, it started to come back around and even stood up for the shot here. I promptly took a few images for a stack (5 in this image) and moved it back outside. Do you know if they hibernate or anything in the cold or does this guy face an inevitable doom in the near future?
Signature: Nathanael Siders

Honey Bee

Hi Nathanael,
We will try to answer you questions to the best of our ability.  During inclement weather, Honey Bees do not leave the hive.  During winter months in colder climates, Honey Bees will not leave the hive.  Your email did not indicate if there was snow on the ground, but on warm winter days, scouts might venture out to see if there is any food to be found.  We are not certain if staying in the hive through the winter constitutes hibernation.  Bees Online has this information:  “What do Honey Bees Do In The Cold Winter ?
Here in the Northeast of the United States it gets pretty cold in the winter. Honey Bees stop flying when the temperature drops down into the 50s (F). They stay inside their hive in what is called a winter cluster which means they get into a big huddle. There is no point to flying outside of the hive as there are no flowers in bloom, hence no pollen or nectar is available. The colder the temperature the more compact the cluster becomes.
The object of this clustering is to keep themselves warm, so warm that the temperature in the center of this cluster, where the Queen Bee stays, is kept at about 80 (F). The outer edge of the cluster is about 46 – 48 (F).
The worker bees create heat by shivering and they also move back and forth between the inner part of the cluster and the outer part. In this way no bee will freeze.
On nice sunny winter days you can see honey bees flying a short distance out of the hive and then quickly returning. Sometimes if they go too far out or stay out too long they can get chilled and will not be able to fly back into the hive. The object of these short flights is to eliminate body waste.

Location: Missouri

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