Bees under the hive?

A handful of bees are hovering under the hive. The hive top feeder is on but no obvious robbing going on at the entrance. Orientation flights? Bottom board is out.

Bottom board is the wood piece that goes under the main hive. Do you mean the coreflute slider, or the tray if you have a Flow hive 2?

I would leave both of those in place at all times, otherwise the hive pheromones get confusing to new bees. Just my opinion :blush:

Yes, the plastic tray. Here it is consistently over 90 degrees with a heat index over 100 so I’ve been leaving it out.

For the bees, that is like leaving all of your doors and windows open in summer, while running the air-conditioning. :blush:

Bees using fanning, laminar flow and water evaporation to cool the hive. They need an intact floor, ceiling and walls (except for the entrance) for that to work. If you take the tray out, all of their nice cool air will be dropping out of the bottom of the hive. I would suggest that you put it back in, and make sure that they have a water source at least 20 feet away from the hive. A bird bath is fine for this, bees are not picky about water, but if it is too close to the hive, they will ignore it. Strange little creatures! :wink:

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This sounds like the proverbial screened or solid bottom board discussion. Interesting analogy re AC and doors open. In the live vid last week, Cedar suggested leaving the tray out in especially hot temps. So, many opinions, par usual.

And yes, although we have multiple water sources around the house, I saw one bee going back and forth from the water in the hummingbird feeder’s ant cup!

Thank you for your advice. I may put it in and see if things change. 1000s of bearding bees sounds like a skunk or opossum buffet.

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I agree with keeping a solid bottom board, especially during hot weather. Also keep the entrance at no more than 15 sq.cm.

You’ll see what @Dawn_SD is talking about beautifully illustrated in the video on Youtube, “City of Bees”. It’s a great video, which gives us a better understanding of what’s going on inside the hive. If you look closely, you can even see a bee turning nectar into honey on her way back to the hive.

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I am also a strong proponent of keeping the hive space consistently under bee control, after setting it up amenably in the first place. We just had a 2 week heat wave here (horrible!) and though there were some bees on the faces of the hives, none of my colonies bearded. I use slatted racks and solid bottoms.

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Eva, what do you mean by ‘slatted racks’?

One of these - lots of brands make them, just obv make sure it is the right width for your setup and I recommend choosing the company that makes them 2” deep or thereabouts. I bought some recently that must only be about 1.25” and I think the deeper ones do a better job:

This site mentions they help with swarm control, but I wouldn’t rely on that. They ARE very helpful in providing extra space for bees to hang out when the population is strong, and very helpful with hive defense and bee-controlled HVAC :ok_hand:

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Thank you Eva. I’m in Australia and have not heard of these before, so I’ll check with a couple of friends who have ‘classic’ honey bee hives and have been keeping bees for some years. I know my brother-in-law doesn’t have them as I stay at his place for a couple of weeks each year, but he may know of them. They do sound effective.

Cheers,

Tony

Life is to :honeybee: lived!

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Here is a little primer on what they are for and why people use them. I love them too:

If you know somebody who is good with carpentry, here are some instructions on building your own, in case you can’t buy one. I know that @skeggley asked one supplier about them, and they got very confused, asking why he wanted to buy “salted rats”… :rofl: :rofl:

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Hi Tony, where is 4061? I live in Buderim, if you’re ever passing by, I can show you the ones I made. I still have some that are not under hives.

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Thanks for the reply Jeff. 4061 is The Gap, outside Brisbane. Are you using the racks during winter as well as summer? I can see the benefits of hot weather, but I imagine (possibly incorrectly) that during winter they would simply add to the area to be kept warm.

I have the hive and I am working on the garden at present but no bees yet. I bought a concrete base to stand the hive on and a small bird bath yesterday and will place them out today. One of my sons works at Boonah (south of Ipswich) and has been offered a queen and bees in a nuc in August which I am looking forward to.

I have had native bees for some years and dithered about getting honey bees until the same son turned up for a coffee on Father’s Day and said “how about we go shares in a flow hive?” I couldn’t resist so we sent off for one. I have given it two coats of boiled linseed oil and have it outside while I get everything ready. The last time I did things like this was when the boys were ‘due’ and we were setting up the nursery!!

Cheers,

Tony

Life is to :honeybee: lived!

The bees don’t seem to have a problem with that. In winter, warm air generated by the hive rises to the upper levels of the hive and the bees fan less, so the racks are no problem. In fact, they may provide some protection from cold drafts, gusts and rain. I love them. I guess you can tell… :blush:

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Hi Tony, I agree with Dawn.
The flat panel at the front of the rack protects the brood from direct cold air. That was a selling point for me. I made 50, plus a proto type. I still have 3 that I still haven’t fitted to hives.

If you were to come my way, I can show you some of the finer points of operating Flow hives. One example is a lady who is picking up a colony from me on Saturday. She harvested honey one day, then 3 days later she got slimed out by hive beetles. We’ll (my mentor & I) be showing her how she can possibly avoid that from happening next time. The difference might be by using wax foundation frames as opposed to foundationless frames, plus a couple of other minor changes.

This is the proto type I made.

The wood is recycled (free) pine furniture that people have trouble getting rid of.

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yeah to avoid any issues

Jeff, thanks for the invite. I would like to take you up on a visit next time I’m coming your way and listen/see what you think. I also use recycled pine (providing it isn’t treated in any way) for my projects, and, I think a slatted rack may be my next project! What is the best way to contact you?

Hi Tony, simply google my name on my profile. You may not want to come after learning that I treat the pine with copper naphthenate before giving it 3 coats of paint. This is after sanding the wood back to natural, as in the photo. You can follow my story on the topic:Free Wood for Slatted Racks

Thanks Jeff. I tried working your profile and name, but I couldn’t get closer than Buderim.

As for treating the pine, if you use it that is okay and if I don’t that is also okay is the way I see it. I understand the 3 coats of paint to cover it, just that I don’t like it and don’t use it.

I am going to build a couple of “Slatted Racks”, one for me and one for a mate in Townsville whose wife is visiting us next month. He has a number of Langstrothe HIves and I have been talking to him about the racks, and at this point he is interested.

You said in one of your comments to me that you could give me information about why you don’t like the flow-hive. That I am interested in. Having bought one, oiled it and getting bees next month I intend to go ahead with it and see how it goes, but any comments or ideas on what to look out for would be appreciated.

I had hoped to get to Buderim last Saturday when you had a lady visiting after getting a SHB infestation as that sort of information is always worth having, but I was just nackered. I don’t seem to stop these days and will have to book myself some down time before I get shunted off this mortal coil.

Cheers,

Tony

Life is t____o :honeybee: lived!

Ya’ll can private message.
Thanks.

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