Bees are great teachers of the way things are. Their perspective is eternal and their mindset is other/colony-based.
Female bees are the heartbeat of the hive and all female larvae are identical. What changes a worker bee to a queen bee is the royal jelly she is fed.
In the same way, a winter female worker bee occurs when the pollen begins to run scarce, as in the fall, and the winter bees are born.
Summer female worker bees are like rock stars, they work hard and play hard for their short life span of 30 days.
Winter female worker bees live for months at a time and are like the cloistered monks who live a longer live motivated by sacrifice. They have bigger, fatter abdomens that allow them to store more pollen and they produce special protein precursors called vitellogenin that helps supplement or even replace pollen.
These winter bees are called heater bees
Bees keep their hives around 50-60 degrees. They are insects, and will die of hypothermia if their internal temperature drops below 45 degrees. Bees can individually raise their body temperature to over 100 degrees by moving the muscles they use to flap their wings. This collective movement of the heater bees in the winter keeps the hive warm while the outside temperatures drop. Don’t forget the queen! WIthout her, the colony dies. Her lifelong duty is to lay fertilized eggs. All winter long she still does her thing thanks to the warmth the heater bees provide.
What keeps the bees fed all winter long?
Honey! Also, pollen is a part of the honey and is the perfect food for them to feed one. Read here for more about what makes pollen so amazing and allows them to thrive.
When the outside weather gets around 50-60 degrees the bees are able to fly outside, clean out the hive and check for other food sources.
Isn’t this amazing?
The whole process is absolutely fascinating. Once the spring comes, and there is more pollen coming into the hive from the flowers, then the summer worker bees are born once again.
What motivates us is this bee mindset
Guided by instinct, the feeding bees determine what food to give the female larvae. They have the power to create the type of female bee they want to but they choose for the good of the hive.
Heater bees live their entire lives in sacrifice for the good of the colony and do not get to experience the joy of the pollen dance with the flowers.
Isn’t this true about all of us as humans? Aren’t we also all, in the big picture, divided into different major groups of interests, abilities and areas where we thrive?
Some of us thriving indoors and some outdoors? What if we thought of ourselves as owning our biology and our giftings and thriving in those spaces?
In each of our products, we strive to use quality ingredients, and make products that will make your body function better, feel more alive, and aware of your place in history as a human. We even offer monthly subscriptions to get you the most benefit seasonally.
We see ourselves as the winter/heater bees in the larger story. We are doing our best to keep the bees that we have alive. We take care of them naturally in the hopes that one day there will be a better storyline for the bees and humans in the future. We are very present to the knowledge that this might not happen in our lifetimes. Like the heater bees, we aren’t seeking the glory of the pollen dance, but the hard, isolated work of the survival of the honeybees.
Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston