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Your beehives in November

All the latest news and some autumn insights.

Your bees are ready for winter - and we've hefted!

Featuring Charlie the bee-dog in a special guest appearance! Here’s a video from this week’s autumn check  (20th November 2023). Bees solely feed on honey and typically they need around 20kg of food to get through winter. 

During the winter months there are no flowers to forage and it becomes too cold for bees to fly. So like many other creatures that stock up for winter (us humans included!), bees work tirelessly in summer to make sure they produce and store enough honey for winter. 

It's a busy time...

As winter approaches, have you ever wondered what happens to your bees? It might look quiet from the outside, but inside there’s constant activity.

While some bees (like Bumblebee queens) head off to hibernate, your honeybees are awake all year-round. It’s to cold to open hives during the winter, but honeybees might pop out for the occasional ‘cleansing flight’ (to poo… yes, bees poo but never in the hive if they can help it). So they store it up until a milder day appears to pop out and do their business.

As the nights get colder they have to stay close together to make sure they generate enough heat. By this time of the year they’re already grouped into what’s called a winter cluster and the queen is always within the warmest part in the core of the cluster.

On particularly cold days or nights they can even generate more heat by vibrating their wing muscles, producing an ambient temperature up to as much as 37 Celsius!

Helping them to thrive

Emma, your beekeeper, can be seen here switching around the entrance block to your hive. Entrance blocks like these can be rotated to provide entrances of different widths – each edge has a slightly different sized ‘cut out’ that the bees use as their front door. Reducing the entrance to a smaller one during the winter is beneficial for the bees as they then have less of an opening to defend against predators and ‘robbers’ such as wasps! 

Buckley’s Bees – Together we can make a difference!