Ever wonder what bees do during the winter?
When temperatures begin to cool in autumn, one of the first things a hive does is drop in population. The queen does this by laying fewer eggs to have fewer bees in the hive to make the food supply last. Another way to shrink the hive is by booting all the male drones out.
Yup, that's right! A drone's only purpose is to reproduce with other queens, all of which will be staying at home during the winter leaving the drones unemployed. With no useful function during the winter and limited food, they are just extra mouths to feed so the ladies kick them to the curb.
As always and especially during winter, the number one priority of the hive is to keep the queen alive and healthy. The bees work together to keep her warm by forming a cluster around her and vibrating to create heat. This allows her to move about and lay enough eggs to keep the hive populated to maintain the heat required to keep everyone alive.
While in the cluster, bees take turns eating honey and drinking water that condensates on the cover. Periodically on sunny days where the weather isn't too cold, the bees will go on "cleansing flights" to defecate outside to keep the hive clean. They continue these measures throughout the winter until temperatures start to rise in spring, and flowers begin to bloom.