Many non-beekeepers believe that honeybees hibernate during the cold weather - NOT SO!
Honeybees form a winter cluster around their queen. All "bee season" long they have been working to seal all cracks in their hive with propolis to keep out drafts & wind. When the temperature drops below 57 degF they begin to form a compact mass. The outer edges of the cluster are densely packed to form an insulating layer. Towards the center it is less dense allowing air-space to be warmed. The honeybees near the center use honeystores for carbohydrates and vibrate their wing muscles to generate heat. The cold bees at the insulating layer can't stay there in the cold so they move in towards the center to get warmth. The well-fed warm bees move out to take their turn at the outer insulating layer. The cluster doesn't warm areas around them, only the cluster area. If there aren't enough honeystores to slowly move across, or if the temperature is less than 20 degF for a long time and the cluster can't move, the honeybees will starve when the honey inside the cluster is gone, or freeze because they don't have food for energy to vibrate their wing muscles. Beekeepers need to worry about leaving enough honey in the hive to "feed" their bees. All the vibrating and warmth also generates moisture inside the hive, Beekeepers must make sure they help keep their honeybees dry - remember the last time you were wet & cold at the same time!
Honeybees need a temperature of about 50 degF to really be able to fly any distance.
You can use the charts below to determine what plants will do well in the Denver/Littleton USDA hardiness zone by determining the average low & high temperature for the year - usually considered zones 4 and 5. We highly recommend choosing to plant Colorado Native Plants! Check the Colorado Native Plant Society website for more information http://www.conps.org/conps.html.
This will also help you determine when honeybees will begin to fly to herald the beginning of "bee season" and also when to make sure your honeybees have enough honey for wintering over in their hive - at least 60 pounds!
|17 Year Averages|
5360.0 ft Elevation
Temp Change About
2 degF each 500ft
CLR + PC
Temperatures/Precipitation from WeatherReports.com
Cloudiness - Mean Number of Days from NOAA Western Region Climate CenterDenver Colorado based on 67 years of data through 2002
|1||Below -50 F||Below -45.6 C|
|2a||-50 to -45 F||-42.8 to -45.5 C|
|2b||-45 to -40 F||-40.0 to -42.7 C|
|3a||-40 to -35 F||-37.3 to -39.9 C|
|3b||-35 to -30 F||-34.5 to -37.2 C|
|4a||-30 to -25 F||-31.7 to -34.4 C|
|4b||-25 to -20 F||-28.9 to -31.6 C|
|5a||-20 to -15 F||-26.2 to -28.8 C|
|5b||-15 to -10 F||-23.4 to -26.1 C|
|6a||-10 to -5 F||-20.6 to -23.3 C|
|6b||-5 to 0 F||-17.8 to -20.5 C|
|7a||0 to 5 F||-15.0 to -17.7 C|
|7b||5 to 10 F||-12.3 to -14.9 C|
|8a||10 to 15 F||-9.5 to -12.2 C|
|8b||15 to 20 F||-6.7 to -9.4 C|
|9a||20 to 25 F||-3.9 to -6.6 C|
|9b||25 to 30 F||-1.2 to -3.8 C|
|10a||30 to 35 F||1.6 to -1.1 C|
|10b||35 to 40 F||4.4 to 1.7 C|
|11||above 40 F||above 4.5 C|
Link to Hudson Gardens "Bloom Calendar" http://www.hudsongardens.org/content/Bloom_Calendar