I have been reading through the threads on bearding and don’t see my specific situation, so I thought I would ask.
My bees have been bearding a lot for the past week or so, including at night. We are in San Francisco, and it does not get very hot here!! (50 - 70 is usually the range).
My set up is as follows - screened bottom board, 8 frame deep brood box, 8 frame medium brood box, queen excluder, flow frames (first generation/classic flow hive combined with a bit of my old equipment). I have a water source a few feet from the hive that they seem to pretty much ignore.
I inspected this past Saturday, and then extracted the honey from the flow frames on Sunday. Things looked in order, but I did notice a few things-
- during the extraction - there were a bunch of bees at the back of the hive when I removed the cover. I have never seen this before. In the past I have been able to extract with minimal bee interference. Not the case this time.
- During the inspection I never found the queen but did see all egg stages. There were way more mature stages then “rice” stages. I did not see any queen cups/things that made me think they were about the swarm.
- It generally did seem pretty crowded. In the old days before the flow hive, I would have added another super.
- the bees are not aggressive per se, but they did follow me around the garden last week, which the normally don’t do.
This is my 11th year keeping bees and my 4th with the flow hive. I never had any issues (maybe beginners luck!) until I got the flow hive, and have had all sorts of issues since (hard to tell what’s related or not. Issues over the past few years have including queen failure, etc) so I am a bit paranoid!
I have never observed this level of consistent bearding, or any bearding at night, so any insight you have is greatly appreciated.