Where Do Bees Go In Winter?

This is a very excellent finding by Phil Pellitteri, a distinguished faculty associate in the department of entomology at UW-Madison:

“Honeybees are the only species that overwinters as a colony; they don’t go dormant and have to generate enough heat to live, so they need a minimum population of bees and plenty of honey, their energy source.”

In winter, honeybees generate heat with their muscles while vibrating their wings, Pellitteri said. “If they don’t have enough honey, they will run out of food and starve to death, so if beekeepers rob too much honey, the bees won’t survive.”

Honeybees form a ball inside the colony, and then rotate from the warmer center to the colder perimeter.