This is my first year beekeeping, and I just got my two nucs early May. One in particular seemed strong and I added the Flowhice super only two weeks later. About two weeks later, heat picked up (weather about 95 degrees) and one of my hives starting bearding. I’m hoping this is just due to heat and not because they aren’t taking to the super and therefore are running out of room. How can I tell? image|375x500
Hi Calyn, welcome! Your hive looks so nice, love the roof color - as for the bearding, it sure could be the heat, especially with the dark tone of the wood boxes, and the way they are forming two columns has me curious, did you notice if there was a lot of fanning going on? Workers form fanning brigades at the entrance and into the hive to direct the air flow in one side and out the other, and when it’s very hot you can hear this sustained hum as if from a mechanical fan! I’m also wondering when was your last inspection, what did you see (any queen cups or cells, honey storage etc) and can you see many bees working on the Flow frames when you’ve peeked? Did you prep the Fframes with some beeswax before you popped it on? How is the nectar flow in your area right now?
Sorry for the barrage of questions! Just looking for some more context in order to give you a more helpful reply . Possible solutions to plain ol’ heat would be to provide some shade and to consider using a slatted rack between the bottom board and the brood box. Let us know more details though, in case your colony is in need of swarm prevention.
Hi, thank you for responding! To answer your questions, it does look like they are fanning, though I don’t hear the buzz. My last inspection was last Sunday, before they starting bearding. The bottom box was pretty full, and there was brood comb even coming down from the bottom of the frames (didn’t look like queen cells though). There were a few handfuls of bees in the super with most activity in the bottom brood box. I didn’t have much wax available when I put the super on, so I just did a very little scrape of burr comb on the edges of each flow super frame. Nectar flow in my area is very high! Another observation is a lot of ants on the sides of the hives. Planning to put oil dishes under the feet of each stand. Also planning to put up an umbrella for a bit more shade.
Thank you for sharing any insights these clues might give you on why they are bearding this way!
At 95F and the hive in the sun the bearding is a result of excessive heat inside the hive. So some, or most, of the bees stop working in the hive and beard outside to help lower the temperature in the hive by lowering the body heat from all the bees in the hive.
You won’t like reading that my advice would be to paint the hive white, that will make the hive cooler. Put a vent into each end of the roof to aid in better ventilation (cooling) and you will have a much stronger and happier colony.
About 5 years ago I made more hives and had run out of white paint, in the bargain shelf at my local hardware store I saw a can of cream colored paint at 1/2 the price so I bought it. When put to use those hives had bearding with splits in them while white hives full of bees where fine with no bearding. I repainted the cream hives white and the bearding stopped.
Wow, great information; thank you!
Your too young but your grandmother had vents in her kitchen cupboards about 1 1/4 inches wide, they are still sold in hardware stores, but lost fashion in kitchens for some reason. Those vents are ideal for using in a bee hive in a hot climate.
Great; thank you!
Have you flipped the air ventilation section at the back to allow more air in?
If it gets really warm you could remove the inspection tray for a while.
Lovely looking hive
Thank you! Yes, the back vent is open. Handled ants yesterday with oil tins under each stand foot, and that seems to have helped resolve their bearding. Will definitely keep in mind removing the tray if the heat kicks up; great point!