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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!

At this time of year we run through a series of checks, including ‘hefting’! Hefting is when a bee-keeper very slightly lifts one side of the hive. From this, they can accurately judge the hive’s weight and they’ll know whether the bees have stored enough honey. 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. 

If the hive is light, we provide supplement feed to ensure the hive will survive the cold weather. This is exactly what we’ve done for your hive here. The brown box has food inside it for an extra boost to hopefully help your bees get through 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 too 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

Some of the other tasks at this time of year include helping to protect the hive against predators and unwelcome visitors. This includes switching around the entrance block to your hive. Entrance blocks 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 ‘robbers’ such as wasps! 

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