Thermoregulation Strategies Used by Bees
Bees are known for their incredible ability to regulate temperature within their hives. Honeybees, for example, maintain a temperature range of 32-36°C (89-97°F) inside their hives, regardless of the external temperature. This is necessary for the proper development of brood, the survival of adult bees, and the production of honey. To achieve this, bees employ a range of thermoregulation strategies.
One of the most basic thermoregulation strategies used by bees is huddling. During cooler periods, bees will huddle together in a tight cluster, generating heat through the movement of their wings and body muscles. The bees on the outer edge of the cluster act as insulation, preventing heat loss to the surrounding environment.
- Wing fanning
During warmer periods, bees will fan their wings to cool down the hive. By circulating air within the hive, bees can lower the temperature by a few degrees.
- Water collection
Bees will also collect water to cool down the hive during periods of high heat. Water is spread throughout the hive and then fanned by worker bees, causing evaporation and cooling.
- Nest construction
Bees construct their nests in a way that maximizes thermoregulation. For example, honeybees will build their combs vertically, with the brood at the center and honey stores at the top. This allows for more efficient heat transfer from the brood to the honey stores, which helps to maintain a stable internal temperature.
- Behavioral thermoregulation
In addition to physiological strategies, bees also employ behavioral thermoregulation. For example, bees will adjust the number of workers in the hive based on temperature. During cooler periods, more workers will remain inside the hive to generate heat, while during warmer periods, more workers will venture outside the hive to forage.
In summary, bees employ a range of strategies to regulate temperature within their hives. These include huddling, wing fanning, water collection, nest construction, and behavioral thermoregulation. By maintaining a stable internal temperature, bees are able to ensure the survival and success of their colonies.
Flight muscles of the western honey bee warm the brood nest by contracting without wing movement and transferring heat to brood cells. Read about this strategy on www.asknature.org:https://asknature.org/strategy/muscles-create-heat-to-warm-nest/#.XJNb5ShKiUk