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Why do bees make honey?
Unlike other species of bee, the honeybee overwinters as a large colony with numbers of between 5,000 and 10,000. They do not hibernate, but in cold weather they will huddle together to keep each other warm. On mild winter days they will fly in search of winter flowers, as well as bringing water back to the hive to dilute their stored honey, so that it can be fed to baby larvae. Amazingly, the queen will continue to lay eggs throughout most of the winter months.
A honeybee colony needs a huge amount of honey to survive winter – at least 20 kg – around 50 jars of honey!
As beekeepers we have to ensure that our bees always have sufficient stores to last them through the winter and early spring until the main flush of spring blossom can replenish the stores in the hive.
This image shows bees generating heat from honey!
Thermal image of beehive taken on a cold January evening. The white/yellow area shows the hot spot where the bees are clustered inside the hive - the bee cluster's temperature is approximately 35 degrees C whatever the temperature outside!
Ref: Thanks to Brightwell cum Sotwell Environment Group for assisting and loan of a Thermal Imaging Camera