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Confused and Bearding worries!


#1

We finally put our flow hive super on top of our 2 brood boxes today after inspecting the hive. We are in Alberta, Canada. Within 3weeks of adding the second brood box, the frames are full and capped with brood in the middle/bottom half. Am a bit confused about a couple of things, looking for help:

  1. When we added the second brood box, the first was super full, we were probably a bit late adding it. But on this inspection a few of the frames in the first bottom brood box appear to have been cleaned out. That is, the cells are now empty. I’d say maybe 30%. Normal??
  2. Once the inspection was finished, flowhive super added (finally!! We had a later start with new packages and then had to requeen both hives!!), the bees bearded almost the whole front and a bit of a side. Didn’t think much of it, but then we got a rainstorm so we ran inside. Came back a few hours later, now dusk, the bees are all still there!! Quiet, not swarming, but still sitting in the front of the hive. I understand bearding if it’s a hot sunny day, but in a fairly heavy rainstorm and then into night?? Have I done something wrong? Thanks in advance for any advice!! First year beekeepers here!

#2

Hi newbee I had something similar happen just last week. I’m in BC and also a new beekeeper with a flow frame. I had a single brood hive and the FH super on top and it was bursting with bees so on advice of several people I added another brood box.

Then I got some bearding and after some reading and input from others on here I realized it was heat and humidity. As one fellow put it, they were just sitting out on the porch having a beer, keeping cool and cooling the hive.

Looking into the matter a little more I realized that I could help them by adding some ventilation at the top of the stack so I used an old bee box and put in some circular vents with screening. So I started with one brood and a super and ended up with two broods, a super and a ventilated attic :wink:

I’m still getting bearding or clusters of bees around the entrance and some on the screened bottom board but not like before. All seems normal. We had several weeks of hot humid weather, thunderstorms and rain so I think you might have had a similar environment. Check out my other thread to see some pics and comments if you like.

http://forum.honeyflow.com/t/is-this-normal-behavior-after-adding-a-brood-box/7974


#3

Thank you! I’m hoping against hope that the humidity is the case. They were still out there this morning!! :flushed: Good grief, these little tiny beings can stress a girl out! I’m assuming that the hive isn’t bursting, population wise, because of two things - the frames in the bottom brood box that were empty (surely the can use them again if the brood has hatched and left the cells), and the frames in the top brood box were a mix of brood/honey (am assuming that they can clean out a honey cell and use it for brood). Fingers crossed about putting the FH super on, hoping they accept it.


#4

That certainly can happen when you add a new brood box on top of an existing one. When you think about how bees prefer to do things in nature, I think you will understand why. When a wild colony chooses a new home, they start building from the top of the cavity. They then build downwards until they run out of space. That is what they prefer to do. If you then take away their “ceiling” and put more space on top, they now have to rethink their home to arrange it the way they like best. If you take a look at the fifth photo down in this article, you will see a typical pattern for the top brood box:
https://beeinformed.org/2012/11/01/whats-wrong-with-my-hive/
There is a semicircle “rising sun” pattern of brood in the lower part of the frame, surrounded by pollen and honey.

If you now put an empty box on top, the bees want to move the food and brood up, and they will probably use the lower box of frames to complete a circle or ellipse of brood across the two levels. That makes it easier for them to keep the brood warm, fed and cared for - the brood is all close together, not broken up by having food stores in the middle. I will see if I can find some better photos, but if you ever see a wild colony that has had plenty of vertical space, the brood is often in a beautiful large circle in the middle of the comb, with food stores around the edge.


#5

Hi New🐝’s,

Not to WORRY. Your bees as others pointed out just doing their thing n cooling off. Just make sure you keep an adiquate water source for the colonies for AC inside the hive n other needs.

Here’s mine down here in the Puget Sound foothills:

. At times the entire hive front is buried in a fuzzy coat of bees. Just normal operations. The first couple years in any hobby or interest is a learning curse. So don’t sweat the small stuff n learn as you go.

Happy beekeeping,
Gerald in the Lower “48” :sunny:


#6

Thank you! I did learn about the brood circle in a beginner beekeeping course I took, and so the rising sun (great description btw!) didn’t concern me in the second box, but I totally forgot about the bottom of the circle! Jeepers. . Phew! Now it totally makes sense! Thanks for the reassurance, learning and putting into practice are two different things, eh? :blush:


#7

Thank you! Wow - your hives are super tall!! Great pics, something to aspire to! Learning IS a difficult but wonderful process, isn’t it? Thank you for reminding me, and for the reassurance.


#8

So now you know why I will always add new brood boxes under the existing one… :wink: I just started doing it this year, and the bees really seem to prefer it.