Bearding in coolish weather but only on my Flow Hive?

We have been enjoying (or not enjoying) cool rainy weather here in the Shenandoah Valley in May. My Flow Hive is sitting on top of my most healthy active hive and it is the only one where the bees are bearding. I am using top entrance. I have six Flow Frames in a from the factory 8 frame size box. Does the Flow Hive warm up faster? Is it just about high humidity?

It almost looks like they are gearing up to swarm but everything I read says it is bearding.


The only advice I could offer would be to do a brood inspection if you have a suspicion that the hive could be about to swarm. Some people do weekly checks during swarm season just to make sure the hives aren’t preparing to swarm.

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I’m experiencing the same phenomenon here in North Georgia.
The typical pine 10-frame next to the Flow Hive is not exhibiting this behavior.
I am inspecting today to check for any issues but my suspicion is that this is related to heat/humidity and how the Flow Frames may be acting as an insulating layer .
More ventilation may be needed.

Bees staying out in the rain instead of going inside @ 59 degrees.

A propane delivery guy just told me that a customer with a grey tank instead of white registered 140F instead of 80F. Could it simply be that a cedar hive is warmer in the sun than a white box?

Everything I have read suggests that bearding is not a precursor to swarming. This is bearding. Not to suggest that they might also be preparing to swarm on a parallel path. This is the time of year for us for swarming.

The mass and fewer passages of the 6 thicker plastic Flow Hives could also be a factor. Has anyone put in thermometers to test? Hopefully Flow Hive have done their homework on this.

Why? Too crowded and hot inside when no foragers are out and about?

Likely so. I removed the corflute to help cool things a touch.

I don’t have a flow hive so I’m unable to comment on the heat/humidity side of things. The flow frames certainly appear to have less room for ventilation, however the bees are still able to ripen honey, so there must be enough for them.

I wouldn’t suggest that bearding is a precursor to swarming. I’m merely stating that if you have a suspicion yourself, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look anyway. I recently saw a video of a hive with only around 20,000 bees preparing to swarm. good luck with that, cheers

Has anyone done side by side hives; 1 pine vs 1 cedar?

Just wondering since cedar is a natural insect repellent.

Perhaps Tung oil is a factor? Or the thinners that was used. I notice a lot of people are putting their hive together, oiling and putting a colony in within a few weeks.

Tung oil takes about six months to set. Just sayin.

I also had a few bees on the front of the hive. Thought they might be a touch warm so pulled out the corflute halfway and within a few minutes they were all back in. Perhaps they come out so there is more airflow within the hive eg. not too crammed with bees.

not sure why they would congregate on “fresh” tung oil on warmer days.

You are the second person to talk about corflute. I don’t have any in the hive. It is a top entrance hive. Maybe I need to drill some holes at the bottom to allow some updraft? Make them so they can be covered in winter. The really hot weather is months away so this issue could become serious.

The Corflute inspection tray came with the Flow Hive. There is currently no ventilation up top and I have the crown board hole covered with a rapid feeder.

Must be a complete hive. I only got a super with a full six frames. Or did I throw something away?

It is part of the bottom board. It goes under the wire mesh and slides in from the back.
There are two heights at which you can put it.

I have kept mine in as I have a SHB trap on it.

I treated my hives with tung oil and then used them about 2 weeks later and it was fine.

Hi. I am in Ontario, Canada where we’ve had an unseasonably miserable way and cold summer and are now experiencing a very hot September. I have a car flow hive beside a pine 8 frame. Our honey is just starting to town, and the weather is set to be hot for another 2 weeks, so we haven’t harvested.

Suddenly, in the last week days, our bees are bearding like crazy in the flow hive. But the one hive is steady. We did an inspection last week and all was well in both hives.

Am I wrong to assume they flow is hotter/more humid then the line hive?