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Bee Whisperers! What are my bees up too (see pic)?


For the first time today, my bees started doing what you can see in the picture. They are not fanning, bees are still coming and going, the ones on the outside of the hive are basically just sitting there. Not moving, not flapping their wings, not sticking their butts in the air, not wrestling, not moving back and forth. Just sitting there in a weird stupor. What is this called and why are they doing it?

Things that have happened over the past few days…

  1. I have been slowly rotating the hive toward the rising sun (about 10 degrees per day).
  2. Yesterday I inspected the hive (there was a lot more brood than I had seen during my other inspections and they finally started building comb on 2 of my 3 foundationless frames, there are still 4 full frames without comb on them, I pulled every frame hoping to find the queen, I did not find the queen).
  3. About 1.5 weeks ago I stopped feeding.
  4. There has been a ton of rain lately, after 2 days of rain, the sun finally came out today.

thanks in advance!


I am going to answer my own question while I channel the spirit of Langstroth. The rest of this post should be read in a shrill voice (please chime in and let me know what I got right and wrong with my answer):

-------- Beginning of Spirit Channeling -----------

We Bee Whisperers, refer to this bee behavior as Bearding. Usually, bearding is a sign of a strong hive. Be happy! Give your bees a ‘high five’.

The possibility exists that this activity is the beginning of a swarm. This is unlikely because your hive is young and has plenty of space. Additionally, if the bees where swarming, they would not be as you say, in a “weird stupor”. The bees would be very active while waiting to swarm.

I am a terrible bee whisperer, and thus, I have no good explanation for why yesterday was the first day you have seen this behavior. Let us chalk it up to coincidence.

--------------The Spirit has Left Me ------------------------

Is it weird that I often have internal dialogues with myself? Sometimes I have them out loud and the people that overhear them think I am either crazy or I am related to Smeagol.


Morning Bro,

No sweat there bro. People often find beekeeping useful, good n environmentally friendly but not happening in their yard. Even though I am returning to something I did as a teen … My young daughter thinks dads a little “south of the border, loony tune, nuts” but heck … Her life is off bubble in many ways too :wink: . My other two kids have assisted dad close-up n personal. Going ahead n whisper to the bees n yourself. At least you seem to be listening to yourself. N I read your interesting thots n rambling ! Mine have done likewise n I remembering back in the recesses of this ole Brain seeing like hanging around on my hives at time as a kid.

Cheers n enjoy, :honeybee:


What’s it got in its pocketses, my Precious? :smile:

I agree with you, looks like they are bearding. Probably not used to the warm weather after the days of rain! :wink: Nothing to worry about. There is quite a nice article on the Bee Thinking web site about it: