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Winter Bees: Beekeepers’ Secret to Winter Survival

Updated: Oct 5, 2023


winter bees: the key to your colony's winter survival.
Winter bees: the key to your colony's winter survival.

As beekeepers, we understand the delicate dance between seasons and the vital role that winter bees play in ensuring the survival of our honey bee colonies. Late summer to early fall marks the time when preparations for creating these winter warriors, also known as fat bees or “diutinus” (long-lived) bees, begin in earnest. In this article, we'll explore the intriguing world of winter bee development and offer valuable insights into maintaining healthy hives for overwintering success. Plus, we'll introduce a groundbreaking collaboration from Strong Microbials and Apis Biologix that promises to be a game-changer in beekeeping – SuperFuel: Nectar on Demand!


The Winter Bee Life Cycle

Winter bees are the unsung heroes of the hive, hatching as eggs around August and thriving through the cold winter months. Unlike their summer counterparts, winter bees focus less on foraging and more on tasks that ensure the survival of the colony. They form tight clusters to generate warmth, fly out only during mild spells, and play a crucial role in rearing brood come spring. Ensuring the development of these hardy winter bees is a challenge that beekeepers face year-round.


Nutrition: Key to Winter Bee Longevity

Recent research underscores the importance of nutrition in shaping a honey bee's life trajectory. As tiny larvae, the nourishment they receive influences their eventual longevity. Early in life, nutrient-rich diets impact fat body gene expression and lipid gain. However, in older worker bees, diet becomes unimportant in regulating fat body gene expression. Supercharging the health of winter bees begins with providing proper nutrition from the start. Winter bees don’t become foragers. Hormones regulate the transition to foraging. The worker bee’s transition from nursing to foraging is regulated by the fat body in the abdomen, vitellogenin, and juvenile hormone. A high level of vitellogenin is found in the youngest bees, nurse bees. Nurse bees feed the larvae. Interestingly, bees mature later in the absence of brood. Brood pheromone stimulates foraging, and honey bees that consume pollen have higher vitellogenin levels.

Fat Winter Bees: Heater Bees Survive the Winter
Fat Winter Bees: Heater Bees Survive the Winter

SuperFuel: Your Hive's Secret to Winter Survival


Strong Microbials and Apis Biologix have teamed up to bring you a revolutionary solution for supplemental nutrition – SuperFuel: Nectar on Demand. This cutting-edge bee feed elevates your hive's winter bee development by providing colonies with robust nutrition at critical times. Packed with carefully selected probiotics, vitamins, and essential nutrients like amino acids, polyphenols, and bioflavonoids, SuperFuel supplies the most nutrient-rich nectar replacement scientists and beekeepers have developed. Strong Hives require strong gut health, proper nutrition, empowered immunity, and a fortified microbial shield to protect against pathogens. By incorporating SuperFuel into your beekeeping regimen, you're taking a proactive step towards nurturing winter bee creation and ensuring the longevity and vitality of your colony through the winter season.

Maintaining Hive Defenses

Beyond nutrition, hive management practices significantly impact the creation of robust winter bees. Checking for proper pollen stores and ensuring ample space for the queen's egg-laying is critical. Beekeepers must prevent honey and pollen from crowding the brood frames, allowing the nurse bees to thrive and feed the next generation of winter bees.


Guarding Against Varroa Mites

No discussion of winter bee preparation is complete without addressing the Varroa mite menace. These tiny intruders target the vital fat bodies of honey bees, weakening them and compromising colony survival. As we approach this crucial phase, diligently managing Varroa mite levels is imperative (more tips on Varroa management). Keeping Varroa at bay ensures your colonies have the best chance of creating healthy and strong winter bees that can endure the demands of the cold winter months.


Conclusion: A Brighter Future for Overwintering

As we navigate the complexities of beekeeping in our modern world, the emergence of SuperFuel Probiotic Fondant from Strong Microbials couldn't come at a better time. By focusing on advanced nutrition, hive management, and Varroa mite control, we can collectively lay the groundwork for thriving winter bees and successful colonies. With SuperFuel: Nectar on Demand as your secret weapon, your colonies will be equipped with the resources they need today to face winter's challenges head-on. Embrace the power of innovation and science to nurture your colonies and ensure their successful journey through the cold months ahead. Winter may be coming, but with SuperFuel, your bees are prepared to overcome it like never before.




SuperDFM® Probiotics




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