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Bees cleaning outside the hive


Hey all

Just wondering if anyone has seen this before. These bees have cleaned off the wood on the front of the hive and landing board for 2 days straight. Notice the colour difference from the side of the box. Crazy. Case of OCD? :grin:


Yup. AKA washboarding. Well known phenomenon, but nobody knows why they do it. Speculation is that is the teenagers being sent out to “sweep the porch” or “mow the lawn”, as they are all young bees.



Cool…all the research i have done I do not recall reading about this.

Preparing for something maybe. I am truly fascinated as to why they do this now. :man_dancing:


Hi Deryck, I found the bees wash boarding at my observation hive last summer during hot weather. At the same time as the bees inside were flat out air conditioning the hive.
This is the video we made of it.


PS, after watching my video again & recalling that the bees were doing lots of wash boarding inside the hive as well, I can’t help but wonder if it’s connected with cooling the hive. Maybe the bees that are wash boarding are actually depositing minute amounts of water as part of the cooling process.


My buddy had the same hypothesis. He thought they were doing this to prep the outside of their home to help cool inside by removing anything that will adsorb sunlight/heat. Some keepers paint their hives white to help with this.

My first thought was they were cleaning the outside in preparation for the queen before most of them leave on a swarm. Sort of like rolling out the red carpet :grin: