DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Temperatures are expected to drop Thursday night, Jan. 6 in Northwest Florida. The temperature drop not only affects plants, but animals as well. Honey bees have found a unique way to keep themselves warm during the winter months.
During the winter months, bees use beehive boxes as insulators, keeping them warm when temperatures drop.
Destin beekeepers Jeff McFarland and Maggie Roberts have been in the bee business for 15 years. The two buy and breed Italian honey bees to pollinate their gardens and harvest honey.
“Bees make the honey when the plants are blooming,” said McFarland and Roberts. “There’s got to be a lot of plants blooming. Right now there are a few plants blooming but not enough to produce any honey.”
McFarland said honey bees during the summer months have a lifespan of about 30 days. But when it gets colder, they live a lot longer because they are doing less work.
“In the wintertime, the queen quits laying eggs so the worker bees aren’t working as much they don’t do much there are no flowers blooming they will live from the fall to the spring,” said McFarland.
During the winter the beehive boxes turn into bee heaters. McFarland explained they feed off sugar water and leftover honey to keep the hive an optimal 90 degrees.
The beekeepers have 15 hives between the Destin Marler Bridge and Main Street. They said consuming honey made within five miles of your home every day can help with seasonal allergies.
Dr, Druhan Howell with with Pulmonary Associates in Mobile, Ala. said this idea has not been proven.
“The short answer is no,” said Howell. “The other thought is honey has some anti-inflammatory properties.”
“The least amount is a tablespoon a day I think, he eats a lot of honey,” said Roberts.