An update from the apiary: Honey-bees in Winter

When our bee-farmer Sergio started writing this blog for us, the Siberian "beast" was fading away and we thought winter was finally over, but then a second round of cold weather forced us to put the heating back on, and so have our honey bees, with their own "central heating system".

Bees do not hibernate in winter, but instead cluster inside the hive. They form a ball of bees and move the muscles of their wings to create heat, heat to survive. They swap places and quickly move away only to uncap a cell and eat some of the honey inside. They keep the queen well insulated and protected in the middle of the cluster. This much reduced level of physical activities in one of the predominant facts why winter bees are able to live a lot longer than their summer sisters: up to 6 months as opposed to 6 weeks.

The last couple of weeks have seen a lot more bee activities as they have been foraging on beautiful yellow and purple crocuses, white snow drops and yellow gorse. It is indeed a very good sign to see foraging bees coming back to the hives with full pollen baskets: this means that the queen has re-started laying eggs and the nursing bees have brood to feed with pollen.

We are all hoping for some warmer and drier weather with lots and lots of flowers and trees in blossom, which will prompt the honeybees to increase their numbers exponentially. The recently set up Bee Club and Queen Bee Club have seen much interest and memberships for both of them are almost full. Our first bee-keeping demonstration of the year is also scheduled for this weekend so fingers crossed the weather improves!