I live in Newcastle Aust. Have had my hive since Dec 2018. Does anyone else have a large portion of their bees “sleep” outside their hive? they are in my suburban backyard approx 30 meters from my back door. I often end up with 1 or 2 in the house at night buzzing around the lights (no blinds on windows at back) and so does my neighbour. I have read they are attracted to lights at night like most insects but believe its some of the ones who choose to stay outside at night because if they were in the hive, they wouldn’t see the lights. The hive entrance is facing NE and the back of our houses face East. Just wondering if anyone else has had this and what I can do to change this. Thanks
I wouldn’t expect them to be outside at this time year unless you have a very large bee population and there is just not enough room for them inside the hive. Have you inspected the hive recently and brood box recently? If not, then have a close look at the brood box, this is the time when the population is declining for winter, I get a few bees out the front at night on some hives, maybe 20 -30.
they have been congregating outside every night since their population exploded early spring. (it took a long time for the queen to get busy, since I got them in mid December 2018). I was worried they were going to swarm, but it just seems to be this colonies normal behaviour. I did an inspection about a month ago and all was well, although they do have an unusual pattern of honey/pollen/brood layout.
Bearding is common in warm weather but this sounds like the hive is way over populated so I would do an inspection and add a second super if needed, even if it is just for Winter stores for the colony. The larger the colony the more Winter stores they will need. With the cooler weather the bearding should be reducing. Did you do a split of the hive last Spring, or over the Summer, to weaken out the hive?
Bees can be drawn to a light at night the same as any insect, maybe put a shield around the light so the bees at the hive can’t see it.
I didn’t do a split as it took 9 months for the numbers to build enough to start storing in the super and keep the hive beetles at bay so I left them be. Is it a bad thing if I was to do a split now or put a super on since the numbers should naturally be reducing, I’m concerned that if I do either of them now, I will end up with my original problem of under population and putting stress on them through the winter. As for the light situation, I think I will put a shield up beside the hive to block the view to the house windows where the light is brightest and see if that helps.
I wouldn’t consider a split till next Spring Helga, maybe around October. Look for a build up of bees and any comb being built in the roof if the be have access to it as a good indicator to do a pre preemptive split.
Stay safe and cheers
what about the extra super then?
Adding an extra super will give the bees more space so reduce the bearding and in your climate it wouldn’t be a bad idea, a guy at Maitland had the same issue a couple of weeks ago and adding a super was the fix for him.
Great, thanks. Will purchase one this week. Sorry to be so nitty gritty, but now that numbers should be dropping, won’t they struggle to populate that space?
I’m thinking there is already the population to fill the super and build new comb. If this Winter is mild, as the forecast says, then you may not notice a drop off in bee numbers.
When I was at Richmond in the Hawkesbury I ran double brood boxes Summer and Winter. With -5 night temps there was a reduction in brood size but the hives were still strong in numbers and active.