Simulation of Spring Aggregation of Bees in Hives with Large Daily Fluctuations in Outdoor Temperature

Abstract

Many studies have been devoted to the passage of bees during the winter period, which indicate that this state of the bee family is yet to be understood. However, the most critical period for bees is late winter and spring. At this time, there are large temperature fluctuations in the air, and from time to time, bees are forced to switch from a passive state to an active state and vice versa. This phenomenon has mostly been observed in beekeeping apiaries in the North Caucasus regions. In the spring, positive high air temperatures provoke bees to leave the hive, and not all bees return to the hive at the end of the day. Low temperatures may lead to aggregation of bees in inconvenient places where there is neither food nor direct access to the honey reserves. This study focuses on bee behavior under these natural conditions. The main physical effects were simulated using Comsol® software. The components associated with transient processes were added to the previously developed models, which include the heat capacity of the beehive elements. The models also addressed the change in the volume of winter aggregation of bees depending on the ambient temperature. Our results suggest that the heat capacity of honey reserves has a significant effect on the temperature regime inside the hive, thus mitigating the temperature fluctuations in the spring. This is an important factor in the health of honey bees.

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Correspondence to S. V. Oskin.

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Translated by A. Levina

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Oskin, S.V., Ovsyannikov, D.A. Simulation of Spring Aggregation of Bees in Hives with Large Daily Fluctuations in Outdoor Temperature. BIOPHYSICS 65, 836–842 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0006350920050127

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  • Keywords: bee aggregation
  • hive
  • temperature
  • electric heating
  • simulation