Honey bees

Surviving is an art

In recent weeks we have had to deal with considerable temperature differences. Occasionally there was even severe frost and immediately the Elfstedenkoorts struck us. And a day later it is thick thaw again. How do honeybees deal with these kinds of circumstances? First of all, when it is cold, they will crawl close together into a bunch, in the middle the Queen and around them the workers. You will also see a lot of movement there. Bees on the outside of the winter spray cool off quickly and will squeeze in to warm up again. There is, of course, fuel needed for this is in the honeycomb in the form of honey or condensed sugar water and combinations of pollen and honey that we call bee bread. If the comb where the bunch is located becomes the army, the bunch will move through the basket. In this way it is, as it were, completely grazed.

Because of the many possibilities that sensors offer nowadays, we can trace the spot where the cluster is located in the cabinet with a thermal imager. There are beautiful examples of this on the internet. Clearly you can see the cluster going through the entire cabinet over time. In plastic cupboards, the location of the truss betrays itself due to ice formation due to condensation on the outside of the cupboard. As long as we continue to see that, we are reassured as a beekeeper. Another way to see the people moving through the cupboard is the drawer. On top of that the mullet of the biting of the comb is lying, time and time again in other places.

The fact that technological development can also contribute to the promotion of bee health is becoming increasingly clear. A major national project is under preparation in which beehives from beekeepers are provided with the necessary sensors with which the temperature, the humidity level and the movement in the cabinet can be registered. Together with characteristics of the peoples, this naturally yields a wealth of information, both for the individual beekeeper of great value and for science. At the moment it is being investigated under which conditions this project may start. Researchers from the Hanze University are also involved. One of them lives in the biotope of Haren. Still nice to know. The bees in the Hortus Haren may also contribute to this research. Of course they have to survive the winter.

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