the Northeast of the United States it gets pretty cold in the
winter. Honey Bees stop flying when the temperature drops down
into the 50s (F). They stay inside their hive in what is called
a winter cluster which means they get into a big huddle. There
is no point to flying outside of the hive as there are no flowers
in bloom, hence no pollen or nectar is available. The colder the
temperature the more compact the cluster becomes.
of this clustering is to keep themselves warm, so warm that the
temperature in the center of this cluster, where the Queen Bee
stays, is kept at about 80 (F). The outer edge of the cluster
is about 46 - 48 (F).
bees create heat by shivering and they also move back and forth
between the inner part of the cluster and the outer part . In this
way no bee will freeze.
sunny winter days you can see honey bees flying a short distance
out of the hive and then quickly returning. Sometimes if they
go too far out or stay out too long they can get chilled and will
not be able to fly back into the hive. It is too bad the bees have to leave the hive at all but they kind of have to, the object of these short flights is to eliminate body waste.
the illustration below. [ From The Honey Bee E-Book ]