Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bee Facts - April


Honeybee colonies must maintain their hive temperature around 90-93 degrees in the winter. Young bees developing in the brood hive need to be kept at the right temperature and humidity. If the hive temperature was allowed to rise without control. wax combs would melt and the colony would be reduced to chaos. Honeybees collect water to keep the colony cool: water is brought into the hive and evaporative cooling keeps temperatures down.
Water is also needed for feeding developing bees. The brood food they receive is secreted by worker bees and contains 70% water. To produce this brood food, worker bees need to have honey, pollen and water. When bees feed on honey, sugar syrup or nectar supplies (containing more than 50% sugar) water is needed for dilution.

Some honeybees' main task in life is carting water. Each bee may make typically 50 trips a day, each time collecting about 25 mg of water. When the colony is very short of water other foragers will divert from collecting nectar and pollen to join in the effort.
In a very hot climate one colony will need several quarts of water every day.

This is the pond I made last summer in the garden. These photos were taken when we had a warm spell. Not only were they bringing in pollen but they needed water too.