View Full Version : How honey bees keep warm - history

Mellifera Crofter
11-02-2013, 09:46 PM
I've accidentally come across this sentence here (http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/06/how-honey-bees-keep-their-hives-warm-given-that-they-are-cold-blooded/):
Up until only a few years ago, it was thought by many scientists that the Honey bee hives were kept warm by pupae in the brood and that the bees would often congregate there to warm themselves up from the pupae

I do know how honey bees keep warm - what I did not know is that scientists thought until recently that the pupae generate the heat. Does anybody know whether they really thought that? I find it hard to believe.


Black Comb
12-02-2013, 07:01 PM
Ribbands (1953) says "..."the heat production of brood is somewhat similar to an equal number of resting adult bees, and the metabolism of the brood makes a useful contribution toward maintaining the the high temperature of the brood nest"

12-02-2013, 07:56 PM
Pupae are not going to be the main heat source but they must make some contribution as any metabolic process is going to give off heat.
No idea what the percentage contribution might be.
I believe heating brood is an additional function attributed to drones as well.
Guess they might as well do something useful on the rainy days.

Mellifera Crofter
13-02-2013, 08:01 AM
Thanks, BC and Jon. Thanks also for the quote by Ribband, BC, and I'm glad to hear he did not say that the hive was 'kept warm pupae' as in the sentence I've quoted. I understand the 'useful contribution' of pupae towards maintaining heat. That makes sense. So all that's new since Ribband is that we now also know about heater bees.

Black Comb
13-02-2013, 03:20 PM
By coincidence I am currently reading Tautz. He says "for some time, it was believed that the brood itself produces the localized high temperature, and that bees went there to warm themselves. This opinion was shown to be incorrect ............ "

Mellifera Crofter
13-02-2013, 03:29 PM
Oops! So I was wrong to dismiss the quote! Thanks for that, BC.