How do bees ventilate in the winter?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Northeast PA
    Posts
    296

    Default How do bees ventilate in the winter?

    Quick question:

    How exactly do bees ventilate in the winter? Do they fan the air, or is it completely passive?

    This is in regards to very low temperatures, well below 0C (32F).

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,258

    Default Re: How do bees ventilate in the winter?

    Bees don't ventilate in the winter.
    The normal physical processes around the bee cluster are the "ventilation".
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,885

    Default Re: How do bees ventilate in the winter?

    In very low temperatures they move very slowly and they don't ventilate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    3,038

    Default Re: How do bees ventilate in the winter?

    When temps are very cold, bees cluster tightly together and generate heat by vibrating muscles. This requires energy from honey which results in a lot of water vapor being released. With cold hive walls and very high humidity warm air rising from the cluster, moisture can condense onto the top and sides of the interior of the hive. This can be either a boon or a detriment depending on whether or not the bees need water. If very high levels of condensation build up, the bees can have cold water dripping into the cluster which is very stressful. Bees do not fan to move air in winter, but convection processes still occur.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: How do bees ventilate in the winter?

    What do you mean by "ventilate"? What is the intended function you are asking about? Water vapor, CO2 or temperature control?

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