Have you ever wondered about the secret lives of bees? Do they hold hands when they sleep?
There are times when bees hold hands or interlock their legs to achieve specific tasks like making bridges. Bees require a warm sleeping environment in the beehive, and holding hands locks bees together to ensure the correct temperature is maintained.
Let find out what all the buzz about bees is about
Why Do Bees Hold Hands?
Until recently, there has been very little known and documented about these industrious creatures, but some studies state bees hold hands when they sleep and perform other tasks.
Older bees need more sleep and may choose to sleep away from the hive and rest until recuperated.
Whereas younger bees need to be close together and communicate, a sense of camaraderie if you like.
We know that bees in hives work in unison but did you know that the beehive needs to be the correct temperature?
The bees flap their wings to create airflow if the beehive is too hot while not creating lift! This remarkable feat pushes the hot air out of the hive, and temperature is regulated.
Conversely, if the beehive becomes cool at night, the bees interlock “hold hands,” and generate heat.
What happens If The Beehive is Too Hot?
The bees will not thrive and may die off, but these clever insects know that a hot hive causes the honey to become dehydrated, bad news for the bee and bad news for those of us who love to consume honey.
The colony of bees ensures the temperature is regulated to about 95 degrees Fahrenheit for the optimal production and condition of the honey.
We can witness bees interlocking or “holding hands” when the bees make bridges. Bridges are used for various reasons, and scientists don’t know why bees perform this ritual, but it can only be considered a profitable exercise for the bees.
Bees also hold hands and interlock when around the beehive. If the beehive is very hot, bees hold hands, Known as a festoon.
Festoons can be witnessed when bees hold on in large gatherings outside of the hive.
Other than to regulate temperature, scientists cannot provide an answer to why bees festoon. However, you can guarantee a good reason for a festoon as bees don’t waste time or procrastinate.
Do Bees Cuddle When They Sleep?
Yes, they do. It’s not because they enjoy being social with one another, but because they regulate the temperature of the beehive.
During the cooler times of the year, if you were to open a beehive, you would see something resembling cellophane.
It’s not cellophane. It is the wings of the bees stretched out and overlapping each other. This takes place as a heat barrier, similar to how we would insulate our homes.
The wing material can sustain the temperature by providing insulation over the brood of bees.
The genetic code of bees has ingrained the need for collaboration within the colony for its survival.
How Do Bees Sleep?
Most of us would agree that bees lead intriguing lives, and we know very little about these little creatures, only that we are in trouble without them.
Bees do rest, and one can only assume they are sleeping. Bees tend to fall on their side or flop their antenna to the ground when sleeping.
Depending on the age of the bee, varying length of sleep has been identified.
Younger bees almost always return to the hive to sleep after depositing the results of their diligent labors.
Older bees are a bit different. Older bees can be found sleeping on or under flowers, and some can even burrow into the soil and rest this way. They are inanimate and almost seem as if they are dead.
Thankfully they are alive.
The length of sleep also varies with age and activity. Older bees sleep significantly longer than younger bees and can sleep for hours on end.
Where Do Bees Sleep?
Beehives are busy places and operate 24/7 to get the jobs done. Bees do not need any form of light to carry out their work, and as long as the temperature is correct, they keep ongoing.
So, where do bees sleep? If the weather conditions are reasonable, you can find bees sleeping in flowers, under flowers, and even small burrows.
If the bees are back at the hive, they can find a cozy used honeycomb and nestle inside without being disturbed.
In general, the bees can be found sleeping or resting where there is little activity in the beehive; this is almost always on the outer edges of the honeycomb.
A younger bee will take a very quick nap before returning to what he does best, while the older bee can be there for some time resting up.
Do Bees Sleep At Night?
Not all bees sleep at night, but like most creatures that forage for survival, the workload can be arduous, and rest and recovery are needed.
Bees only collect valuable resources during the daylight hours, but some bees work through the night to keep the colony going.
The bees that forage can need up to 8 hours of sleep in 24 hours to regain their energy before working.
Communication Between Bees
Communication is vital to bees, and we have all witnessed their funny wagging dance to indicate the direction and distance to a good food supply.
However, bees communicate in other ways. The use of pheromones plays an essential factor in relaying information to the colony.
Pheromones can be used outside the colony but are more significant when used nearby or in the colony.
Foraging bees communicate with other bees to let them know he has found a good food source. Without this communication, the beehive would not remain as productive, and the colony could die off.
How Do You Know If A Bee Is Sleeping Or Dead?
A colony can lose hundreds of bees every day, and they die from natural causes, pesticides, predators, and a whole host of other reasons.
The life cycle of a worker bee is relatively short, maybe only up to 6 weeks in time.
You may see bees that need to rest crawling along the ground and not buzzing around collecting pollen.
Bees all head for the ground when they are wet or cold; does this mean they are dying? No, not necessarily. Bees need to rest and recover, and if they are wet, they will seek shelter. Autumn bees are slower to react if there is a sudden drop in temperature.
Do you know that bumblebees have a very high metabolism and are only 40 minutes from starvation at any one time?
What Does A Sleeping Bee Look Like?
Sleeping bees have a posture that indicates the bee is sleeping. The bee assumes a relaxation posture and rests its thorax, head, and antennae on the ground.
The antennae will droop the deeper they sleep in the bee.
When the bee is in a deep sleep, the wings will rest on top of the bee, and the legs will be folded or curled underneath.
Dead bees have a distinct appearance, often laying on their back as they topple with the center of gravity being not balanced. Legs in the air and generally look different from a bee that is resting.
The life cycle of bees is not long, so seeing a few dead bees in the garden is normal, and there is no need to be alarmed.
What Are The Main Predators That Kill Bees?
The main predators are birds, spiders, and, believe it or not, badgers. Badgers can cause devastation to a bee colony. Badgers usually eat worms, but when conditions have dried the ground and worms are scarce, they will have no problem devouring a beehive.
Birds eat bees when they are flying. In particular, the Robin and tits catch the bees, then rub them along branches to remove the sting before eating.
Of course, many bees are killed away from the nest as they are hit by passing traffic; this loss is average and does not affect the colony.
Attract Bees To Your Garden
Bees everywhere are under threat as we change their habitat, so attracting bees to the garden has never been so important, and it’s great for the garden.
If you have a well-manicured garden with some beautiful flower borders, then that’s great for the bees.
If you can plant an area of the garden with meadow flowers, the bees will invade your garden and gather their resources from these wildflowers.
Think about weeds, it may seem counterintuitive, but weeds like dandelions are a rich source of pollen and nectar for bees. Other flowering weeds like nettles are valuable resources, so leave some in your garden and keep your bees and other wildlife a habitat to be happy and dynamic, and your garden will be looking spectacular.