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What happens in the hive in December?

 In the hive in December, the bees huddle around their queen. They are grouped together in clusters, more and more tight if the outside temperature decreases. The beekeeper takes surveillance walks, strengthens the insulation, ensures that the hive is not attacked and remains vigilant on the reserves.

If during spring and summer the colonies are very active and give a harvest at the end of the season, in winter it is rest. This does not mean leaving the bee hive unattended, but you have to take a look from time to time: the roof, the walls ... The main thing is not to make noise or too much movement so as not to rush the bees. If we find a good number of dead bees, there is no need to panic, it is normal at this time. Natural death affects them in winter and we can count in the 3,000 deaths in three months. For the hygiene of the hive, it is preferable but not obligatory to rid it of corpses by means of a hook.

Bees cluster around their queen to limit drafts and retain heat.

What does the beekeeper do at this time?

In December, the colony spends most of its time regulating the temperature inside the hive. Egg-laying is non-existent and the population remains stable. The colony's activity is slowing down ... In winter, when the outside temperature is below 18°C, the temperature of the nest in the presence of brood must remain around 34°C. Without brood, bees can survive with a minimum temperature of 13°C in the heart of the swarm.

Maintaining the beehive in winter

You will use a few moments of winter to complete the cleaning of your equipment, if you have not already done so; reserve frames will be reviewed, scraped, repaired, re-waxed ...

Assemble and wax some new frames which will be useful for the next season.

Take advantage of the bees' inactivity to maintain the surroundings of the apiary. You will take the time to arrange and clear your sites (without starting the engines!). Consider a few aromatic or honey plantations. It is true that the production of honey requires extensive areas, but for the hobbyist, a small area first, able to develop on its own then, can be of interest: thyme, rosemary, sage ... Condiment or herbal tea ... At your convenience. The goal is to diversify the sources of nectar and pollen.