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Read aloud A cold winter's day with storm and snow? how nice is it at home with a cup of tea, sweetened with a spoonful of honey. But what about the producers of this beloved sweetie? the bees? What are you doing on your cold stick on a cold winter's day? Do they fall into a kind of winter rigidity? Andrea B. asked us that - thank you very much. Peter Rosenkranz, head of the Landesanstalt für Bee Science at the University of Hohenheim, knows the answer: "Bees are also active in frost - they eat honey and heat their cane through muscle movements to keep them comfortably warm." In the cold, the bees move very close together and warm each other. So they form a so-called winter grape? a globular formation of thousands of beehives. In the middle of it sits the most important of all bees: the queen. Heat causes the insects to vibrate their muscles? they are trembling, so to speak. "When they start brooding, the values ​​inside the winter grape reach 35 degrees, even if they are minus ten degrees outside, " Rosenkranz says.

As in the case of bees, teamwork is the order of the day in winter as well: Bees from the cool outdoor areas of the winter grape are repeatedly detached and fed by warmed up animals from the center. The energy for the muscle movements and thus for the heat supplies the honey, or the winter food that the beekeeper has given the bees as a substitute. "The honey is almost the fuel for the winter, " explains Rosenkranz. "Just as we bunk coal or oil for the winter, bees collect up to 20 kilos of honey for their sticks". This energy-rich food is converted into heat in the thousands of beehives.

"Even in winter, the hive is not generally closed, " says Rosenkranz. Because: "Even bees have to do it." On winter days with temperatures above twelve degrees, they leave their sticks to do so. "They do their so-called cleaning flight, " explains Rosenkranz. The insects get rid of their feces, with which they would otherwise pollute their stick. Already in the course of February, the hibernation ends slowly and the proverbial diligence of the bees is in demand again: For the new brood, the workers then collect on warm days the pollen and nectar of the first spring flowers.

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dapd / science.de? Martin Vieweg

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