Holliday Season

The life of the hive in December

News bees
For those of you who followed the news about bees, a sad news fell on November 27th …
Glyphosate, Monsanto’s herbicide, otherwise known as Roundup, has been re-authorized in Europe for 5 years. France, under the aegis of Nicolas HULOT, Minister of the Ecological Transition voted “no” to this authorization, thus rallying with 8 other member countries to ban this herbicide, killer of bees. But 18 other countries, including Germany, tipped the decision in favor of the extension. The European Commission thus announced, at the end of the vote, that the controversial pesticide would finally be allowed until 2022 in the EU, a decision criticized by the NGOs.
For its part, France has decided to go it alone and reduce the period to 3 years, the time for the various sectors involved to consider transition solutions. We deplore a decision that has once again hit hard the French beekeeping industry already hard hit. But we welcome France’s desire to quickly ban this deadly herbicide for our foragers!

Your honeypots arrive …
Let’s move on to more cheerful news, your honey is coming *. You will be able to enjoy the festivities to taste this precious nectar and share it around you … It is also the occasion to exchange with your relatives and to sensitize them on the worrying situation around the bees. You will also be able to share your experience as hive sponsors. This may allow you to “pass the relay” around you and see the big One roof for bees grow bigger!
And since the end of year celebrations are just around the corner, the Team A Roof for Bees and Beekeepers wish you a Merry Christmas!


What’s going on in the hive?
No more doubt possible, the winter settles (I will add “softly in the night” for the amateurs of “Frozen”)! The cold is now well and truly there. In some parts of France it is already snowing. It is the flat calm with apiaries.

More a bee on the horizon, no buzzing or activity at the doors of hives. The bees will stay warm in the hive and gently wait for the return of good weather. Because bees do not like the cold! Below 5 to 6 ° C they would literally fall into a “comatose” state which would spell the end of the swarm. They will therefore keep warm, all together, forming what is commonly called “the cluster”. Their activity will be almost zero and the provisions will be consumed sparingly to spend the winter …

Here is a map of weather forecasts for this first week of December. No more double digit temperatures. The freezing cold of winter is approaching.

Focus on … The winter cluster
Did you know that to stay warm during the winter, bees will snuggle up against each other in the hive, forming a “bunch” like bunches of grapes. In the center, where the temperature will be highest, we find of course the Queen. This is the “heart” of the cluster and the temperature is around 15 to 37 ° C.
The heart is protected by a bee crown that regulate this temperature. It forms the “coat” around the center. Finally, on the outskirts, we find the most exposed bees. Those at the end of the bunch. The temperature is much colder, between 7 and 13 ° C. Here is the infrared photo of a cluster in winter.


On his side, the beekeeper …
The beekeeper takes advantage of this period to send the honeypots to the sponsors concerned. He also takes the opportunity to sell his honey during Christmas markets for example. He proposes various products of the hive: honey, candles with wax, candies with honey, pollen, propolis, gingerbread, vinegar of honey, soap with honey …
Interventions in apiaries are limited to avoid disturbing colonies. Mainly visual checks or weighings to estimate hive reserves.


Did you know ?
During the winter, it is the bees inside the bunch that play the role of heating. They vibrate the muscles of their chest, without activating the movement of wings, which allows to ventilate the heat in the heart of the bunch.

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