Do Honey Bees Sleep? The Life Of Honey Bees and Their Beekeepers In The Winterin Beekeeping Life
I'm often asked, Are your bees hibernating? Are you getting a break in beekeeping?
Although our winters here in North Carolina tend to be mild, anything below 50 degrees is rather cold for a bee. So, the questions stand to reason.
Hibernation is considered a state of inactivity in animals with metabolic lowering of body temperature and slower breathing.
Honey bees do not hibernate (Bumble bees do)
Honey bees are busy keeping the hive warm: protecting the queen and the brood from the cold. All this activity means a lot of honey is being consumed during the winter. As beekeepers, we too, are kept busy. We must provide resources to ensure that the bees do not starve in the winter. Meanwhile, we're in the woodworking shop building and repairing frames and hive boxes.
As winter gives way to warmer days, with temperatures near 60, the bees are flying, thus consuming more resources. These active bees also clean out the hive of dead bees and take 'cleansing flights' (eliminating body waste outside the hive). I'm happy to see their little yellow droppings on my car. They are alive. Spring is almost here.