I went to a lecture tonight about preparing hives for the winter, learned lots of new facts:
1- Its better for bees to have a cold winter, between 5 and -18 is optimal as below freezing the queen stops laying so the nest temperature can go as low as 20 degrees rather than the 33 needed for brood. This saves them a lot of energy.
2- Older foraging bees produce a hormone that inhibits the ageing of younger bees to maintain the correct balance of flying to non flying bees in the hive
3- That feeding brood is a high stress activity for young bees as it uses a lot of energy
4- That the queen is feed by workers bees from hypo pharyngeal glands in their heads in an almost pure form so the food is directly available to her for energy as at the height of the summer she can lay more than her body weight in eggs per day
5- The more food available the more the worker bees drive the queen to lay more eggs
6- That honey bees in flight produce a negative electrical charge that makes pollen granules stick to them when they land on flowers
All very interesting!