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How do bees keep warm in the winter?

Answer: They hug. Aw! Cue the giant doe eyes. The scientists say the bees form a cluster, but a hug isn’t far from the truth.

Unlike us, bees stay warm by heating each other, rather than heating the air around them. If you measure the temperature just inside the walls of their hive, it’s about the same as outside!

Inside the hive, the colony of bees form a football shaped cluster with the queen in the center, keeping her at a balmy 80 degrees F. Her egg-making organs require a tropical temperature and so, the bees cluster around her to keep her warm, happy, and ensuring the future of the colony.

The cluster expands and contracts based on the outside temperature, contracting down to a tight ball on those cold cold days. The bees trade off jobs in this cluster and slowly move toward the center (core) and the outer shell.

Guess how many hairs are on a bee’s body?

If you guessed 3 million, you’d be right. These little flying teddy bears in the outer 1-3 inches of the shell of the cluster act as an insulating barrier, keeping the heat inside the cluster.

In the core of the cluster, a few bees take turns becoming heater bees, where they vibrate their flight muscles to generate heat.

How do the bees eat in winter?

In the winter, the bees' primary food source is honey, which they consume and use for energy. The bees store honey above their living area, and as they consume the honey, they’ll move up into higher boxes in their hive.

Just one of the many amazing ways bees work together to survive!

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