Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Do winter bees look any different; act different; bigger or smaller, or are the differences strictly internal physiology? I am still getting new brood so would those be considered winter bees?

My low temperatures have been hovering right around freezing recently. Yesterday there was still a decent amount of pollen being taken in from landscape plants around the neighborhood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
No appearance difference. This late in the year at your temps, your bees are winter bees.
 

·
Registered
65 colonies +/- mostly Langstroth mediums, a few deeps for nuc production
Joined
·
439 Posts
Winter bees are bees that have not depleted their vitigellian reserves by feeding large amounts of brood and more importantly have not burned up those reserves flying to forage. Those reserves stored in the fat bodies are the physiological differences, they don't look different.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
457 Posts
So thought, I've never considered:

OP is a few hours north of me with a very different climate. Snow, cold temps, typical "northern" climate. I'm coastal and don't really get a "winter". In fact, my flow just started and will go through May, into June - with Summer being the dreaded dearth with no nectar/pollen.

Since my bees are brooding up heavily and shut down in early Summer, do I get "winter" bees in the summer when they shut down? Do I get winter bees at all?

Curious thought.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,808 Posts
I suspect it is the latter, you don't really get "winter" bees. Much like the beekeepers in South Florida whose bees typically forage year round.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mtnmyke

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone. Sounds like I probably have winter bees but won’t see a visible difference.
 

·
Registered
6a 3rd yr 5 production hives 1/ 2 q resource hive
Joined
·
473 Posts
I would swear mine are fatter and fuzzier. Be sure they have water in winter. A much under reported, under studied necessity.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,808 Posts
As cooler weather approaches here in Richmond, we finally saw temps below freezing, I notice that the foraging bees at my work hive are almost exclusively the older foragers with bare thoraxes and yellow abdomens with black butts. I recently placed a Boardman feeder on top of the hive and the girls have really been going at it. Saddens me to know that the ones working so diligently to bring in the stores won't be around to benefit from their labors. The idea is that the true winter bees are sitting around quietly not doing much so that they can last until April.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gypsi

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I have noticed a lot of the foragers are darker, older looking bees. They are really hauling in the pollen though.
Thanks for the replies.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top