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Festooning outside of hive?

Do bees festoon outside of the hive? Or are they just bearding off the handle?

I don’t seem to be able to rotate the image…

Rotating the pic 180 degrees can only be done in editing the photo in your computer before uploading it to the forum.
I think your photo has already answered your question. My question would be as why so many bees hanging out side the hive, was that a result of disturbing the bees with an inspection? An unusually hot day? An overly populated hive for the space available inside the hive? Or is the longer golden abdomen climbing over the bees in the hand grip the reason?

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It has been relatively hot here (by Ohio standards) in the 35°C range. The bees have been washboarding day and night but not bearding as far as I can tell. The hive gets dappled shade.

The last inspection I did was about a week before the picture.

I would guess that it is possible that the population has grown the the point of being crowded. Last time I checked a week ago, they were still drawing out the last few frames in the second deep input on about 2.5 weeks ago and there seemed to be plenty of space.

I am still using my hive top feeder to help them continue to draw out frames (in a dearth now). Planning to look again on Saturday when the temps are supposed to be in the low 30’s °C and likely will discontinue feeding.

Hi Alok, take a closer look at your picture - the queen is there! This is late for swarming in our area (I’m in PA) but I’m wondering why a queen might be outside the hive, other than for swarm prep OR possibly a virgin mating flight. What time was it when you took the picture?


Are you talking about the caramel colored bee on top?

It was 6:47PM. My queen is marked blue. Last full inspection was 7/11 (9 days prior to the picture) and I saw my marked queen and did not see any queen cups, swarm cells, etc.

Here she is on 7/11:

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Look in the hand grip slightly to the right of the center and about 1/2 way up the grip, that is what Eva and I are seeing as a queen there. The marked queen is definately a queen in the later pic. It will be interesting if the marked queen is still in the hive with your next inspection.

Nice queen, and really nice brood pattern :+1:

So who is this I wonder, just a queeny- looking worker? We need more eyes on this one:


Bit fluffy for a queen, unless she is a new virgin. Also her thighs are not as beefy as queenly thighs usually are. I would go for a very young nurse bee, just not as dark as her sisters. I bet she will darken with age. I wonder if the other bees are washboarding. Without video, we can’t really tell, but the alignment looks right for that. Normal behavior anyway. :wink:

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Thought the same about the fluffs when I blew up the pic, and she must just look longer because of the angle.

Alok, sorry for the false alarm! :sweat_smile:


Freaking me out!!


I’ll stick with my thought and wait till your next inspection. Relax Alok, it is nothing to stress about, as Dawn says it is natural behavior although it isn’t ideal.


I’ll let you know Saturday!

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I don’t have an easy way to post a video but from what I have watched, most of those bees lined up with their mouthparts and forelimbs scrubbing the box rocking back and forth… this is washboarding if I am not mistaken.

If you can upload to YouTube (free and fairly easy), then you just post the youtube “share” link here, we can all watch it. Like this one, for example…

What you describe does sound like washboarding though, and is typical of bored teenaged bees! :rofl:


My photography plan was spoiled by my son…

My plan for today was to move my double deep Langstroth to the Flow double deeps. I looked at all the frames - there are a couple with some comb still to be built and a little cross comb that I cut out. I didn’t see the queen when I had the hive open but I did catch her on one of my pictures.

I did not see any queen cups or cells.

Saw two SHB (now dead) but no sign of larvae or slime - I think this is from my hive top feeder that was getting moldy.