Hives with Russian bees located in the Catskills Mountains region of the New York State

  Honey bees, like other insects, are cold-blooded and have a body temperature close to that of their environment. However, honey bees do not hibernate in winter. Functioning as a single organism, the honey bee colony can maintain almost the same average hive temperatures in different conditions whether it be northern winter, summer or tropical heat.

By clustering together, they generate and conserve heat. They also lower the temperature by evaporating moisture and establishing air currents through the colony to maintain a uniform temperature within the cluster, when the outside temperature is down to -40C (-40F) or up to +50C (+122F).  A cluster temperature depends on many factors such as hive geographic location, climate condition, hive design, bee stock, queen and colony health conditions, colony size ( should be not less than 8 pounds!) and amount of food reserves.

When cold weather arrives, the bees cluster tightly in the interspaces of the combs. Generally, the temperature in the center of the bee cluster is about +20C (+68F) and about +8C (+46F) on the surface during this period of winter.  The cluster temperature increases up to +38C (+100F), when the brood is being reared.

As the winter progresses and the food supplies decrease, a cluster of bees will shift its position upward as the stores are consumed.  The highest temperature and noise (buzz) level show the bee cluster position.

For the first time in beekeeping and bee observation, the setup you see on this site makes it possible to monitor a bee cluster position in real time via the Internet throughout the winter.

NOTICE: After many years of successful broadcasting, the Live Bee Hive Camera Project is now shut down due to the absence of sponsors.

Click here for bee cluster observation in the winter

Click here to see Infrared pictures of bee clusters

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