Where Do Bees Sleep?

January 2, 2024

When a bee is sleeping it hangs motionless, its antennae are tucked in, and it has a slouched posture. Often its body temperature drops considerably and it can be hard to wake it up (just like us).

Honey bees under the genus Apis mellifera sleep in/on their hives. They spend their days collecting nectar and pollen to bring back to the hive where it’s used for food. Worker bees do most of the work and make all that honey we love so much.

While it’s not a common occurrence, bee colonies can experience disruptions in their normal activities at night. This could be from a variety of things including weather conditions, pest or disease outbreaks, or other issues that affect the health of the colony. When this occurs the bees will need to find new places to sleep at night.

The research done so far has shown that different worker castes have distinct preferences for their sleeping location. Cell cleaners tend to sleep inside cells, while other older worker bees such as food storers and foragers prefer to sleep outside of the cells in cooler areas away from the brood comb.

It has also been noted that a lack of sleep can disrupt the bee’s ability to communicate properly, such as when it’s directing other bees to a new flower patch. This can result in the bees going the wrong way and not finding what they’re looking for. This is because a bee that’s tired can’t perform the waggle dance properly.

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