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Hairyloon

Why do they do it?

I was not quite involved in a conversation with a vegan yesterday about bees, and the relevant question came up of why do bees make so much honey?
Treacodactyl

They make honey to store food for the times there's little or no nectar about or when it's too cold/wet/dark to get out of the hive.

In the winter for example they use the honey to give them energy to keep the hive warm. In the spring there may not be much in flower to provide nectar to raise the new brood so they'll use their stores etc, etc.

Or did you mean something else?
Hairyloon

They make honey to store food for the times there's little or no nectar about or when it's too cold/wet/dark to get out of the hive.

In the winter for example they use the honey to give them energy to keep the hive warm. In the spring there may not be much in flower to provide nectar to raise the new brood so they'll use their stores etc, etc.

Or did you mean something else?


No, that was what I meant, and the answer as I thought, but the other party to the conversation was certain that they mostly die off in the winter.
I did not think that was right, but I was less certain than she seemed to be.
She is from Sweden though, but I would not expect that to make a difference.

The context of the conversation was of how un-vegan honey is or isn't, and/or what is the most "veganish" source of honey...
Treacodactyl

The number of workers will go down in the colder months but there's still several thousand workers and the queen. Males (drones) are usually kicked out in the autumn to die. Possibly a hive of 50,000+ down to 5,000 at a guess. But the honey will be used throughout the year AFAIK, especially in the spring when the number of workers is ramping up.
Hairyloon

Good Answer, thank you.
Mistress Rose

Agree with all of that, but honey bees will over winter as a colony regardless of temperature as that is the way they do it. Bumble bees and other types overwinter as queens and start laying and building the colony up in the spring, then die out again in the winter.
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