How to Prevent Overheating? And When to Stop Feeding?

Hello All,

I live in a valley near Los Angeles, where it is dry and HOT.

For several days it has been around 90 degrees. My bees have been bearding at night outside their hive. And during the hottest part of the day, many bees hang out by the landing board - (see photo).

The hive gets morning sun.
The hive gets dappled shade around 2 pm.
The hive is almost completely shaded by 4:00 pm and onwards. (See wide area photo taken on a cooler spring day at 3:30 pm.)

I used ~ Behr White Reflective Flat Multi-Surface Exterior Roof Paint ~ on the roof, in order to reflect as much heat as possible.

I removed the bottom tray in order to increase air flow, but it doesn’t help much.

In my climate, it can get up to 105 degrees during heatwaves in August. I want to be as prepared as possible before that happens.

Also, quite recently, the bee population skyrocketed and I added a super. My bees consume about 6.5 lbs of sugar syrup (1:1 ratio) daily, which is about 6.5 cups. Their increased population is adding even more heat.

What should I do? Construct some type of canopy to provide more shade? Drill holes in the roof to create more airflow? Do nothing?

I’m inexperienced, so all suggestions and advice is welcome and appreciated!

  • Mike

Hiya Salem, a couple of things, at all times a water source needs to be available for your bees and this is especially pertinent during the hot spells.
Bees have a canny knack of being able to look after themselves without our well meaning help, bees will beard during hot weather, it’s what they do.
If you have your super on the hive then you should not be feeding or their honey will not be honey and while feeding you are providing a false economy.
My hives are full sun, solid bottoms and we get the stinking hot days too and they do fine. They do have some insulation in the roof and are in the open for a cross breeze if there is one but full sun never the less.
What to do? Well you have done a good thing by painting the roof white and your apiary does look like a bit of a heat trap there and could add a bit of greenery to suck up some of the heat. Water source if you haven’t one already available.
If there’s forage around stop feeding, encourage them to look for real food sources, just keep an eye on their stores during inspections.
And if it were me I’d put the board back in the base.
These are just my thoughts and observations which is no substitute for local knowledge.:wink:

2 Likes

Thank you for the reply Skeggley!

I have a bird bath with some stones in it as a water source. I’ve seen some bees use it, but not too many.

The super / feeding bees situation is complicated.

My brood box was over 80% full with bees and fully drawn comb. Yet, there’s not a ton of honey inside, not 1 frame is full of capped honey. Over two months, their stores of food were going down, not up. My local beekeeper said to add a super immediately to give the bees more space, or they could swarm, and that I should feed them.

Unfortunately, two of my wooden Flow Hive Super pieces arrived cracked, and the pieces are out of stock. The Flow Hive Team told me I needed to wait a few weeks. I had a spare medium (non-flow) super ready to go, so I added that instead. The Flow Hive Team told me that when I eventually add the Flow Super, to put it in the middle, and the medium (non-flow) super on top. And to eventually remove the medium super on top once the bees move any honey to down below.

Like I said, I’m inexperienced. It’s difficult to know what to do, and when to do it.

For example, when exactly should I stop feeding them? When I see several frames of capped food stores?

1 Like

Are the stones sticking out of the water? It doesn’t look like it. I read the bees need something to land on. I did the same thing, but I bought a bag of larger river rock from Lowe’s to fill my birdbath. The rock was in the garden section, in a bag, and about $11. Sorry for the grainy picture, but I didn’t have a close up, but you can see what I did.
Birdbath

Thank you Jfluckey. I can try adding more stones in the birdbath to give them better landing areas.

It’s 94 degrees today, and the bearding is even worse. :frowning_face:

1 Like

Hi Salem,
You could move the hive a foot or two a day so the shade hits it earlier in the day during summer. You could do the reverse in winter to provide more sun. I probably would avoid sitting it too close to the wall if there’s radiant heat, but being shaded earlier should help.

1 Like

Hi mate, good idea adding the medium, that can be kept for the bee only use if feeding. You don’t want to harvest sugar syrup, you don’t want your bees to move it into your Flow super either😉. What sugar:water ratio are you using to feed? Do you get a flow in your area?
And although your picture shows the bees bearding it’s not extreme, the bees are just doing their thing and nothing to worry about, the beard will get a lot bushier yet, I’ll often have the front covered and a foot long beard hanging from the entrance in the evening after a cooking day. Normal.

1 Like

Skeggley, I think I understand your reasoning, but are you suggesting that when I am ready to add the Flow Super, to completely remove the medium super, frames included? So both supers are not on the hive simultaneously?

I am using a 1:1 sugar syrup ratio. 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water.

By flow, you mean nectar? I think that flowers are still blooming in my area, but each day it gets hotter, and less flowers are around. My bee balm plant is in full bloom. (Yet my bees aren’t visiting it. :face_with_diagonal_mouth: )

1 Like

I don’t like feeding my bees so have added a shallow super above the QX which is only for bee only stores and stays on year round. We have a dearth here in summer and these stores in the extra box cover that. Did I mention I don’t like feeding.:slightly_smiling_face:. The Flow super goes above this box.
Below is a thread and although it’s for winter ABB shares some nuggets (As per usual) about sugar mixes. Well worth a read.

1 Like

Yep, beeks refer to nectar availability as “flow” or “nectar flow” (that’s where Flow got its name :wink:) it’s a very important thing to know about and keep tabs on as a beekeeper.

The flowers you do see might have little to no nectar in them if it’s been very hot & not enough rain. You may be in a dearth already. Dearth means the nectar flow has ended for the time being, part of what you need to get familiar with in your region.

The folks at Flow are giving you advice based on having a continued nectar flow, not ongoing feeding. If your colony needs to be fed, you shouldn’t have a Flow super on at all, or any super you expect to harvest for honey. As Skegs indicated, the bees could transfer sugar-syrup ‘honey’ into the Flow frames, which would be pointless.

1 Like

In relation to feeding, I only feed my bees if I find mostly empty honey arcs above the brood, & that would be a colony without a honey super. Sometimes all that’s needed is the addition of a frame that is half full of honey out of a stronger colony.

In relation to the bearding, my suggestion would be to install a slatted rack. I believe they work in eliminating bearding during hot weather. I’m looking forward to seeing that with my hives this summer…In the meantime, the 4" panel above the entrance will help keep cold air away from the front of the brood, during our severe sub=tropical winter, eliminating the need for the bees to leave the front bottom corner empty.

2 Likes

Thank you for your help everyone. I needed a few days to think over the responses, and I wanted to inspect my hive before I replied.

@skeggley - A permanent shallow super is a clever idea. I don’t really like feeding either, and that would eliminate a lot of unnecessary work.

@Eva - I inspected the hive this morning, and they do have more food stores than they did before. Some of the added stores were golden honey, but other sections looked like clear, thickened sugar syrup. (The Flow Super still is not on the hive, so I’m not concerned.) I’m going to stop feeding, and closely watch their food stores for a while.

@JeffH - I never thought of a slatted rack. If it will help with bearding, I will give it a try. I also found a small patio umbrella I can try setting up during the hottest heat waves in the future, maybe that will help too.

1 Like

Hi Mike, @Eva & @Dawn_SD use slatted racks & I’m pretty sure that they are happy with them. Anything we can do to help cool the hive will help the bees. Did I read that you painted the roof white? That’s a good thing, combined with the umbrella.

2 Likes

I love slatted racks, they’re on all my hives :sunglasses::ok_hand:

1 Like

Just wanted to give a quick update.

I haven’t added the umbrella or slatted rack just yet. But I added a water bucket, covered with a thin cloth to absorb the water, and my bees really seem to like it.

It’s incredibly HOT today. 99 degrees, and my bees are not bearding. Providing a better pure water source, and stopping the sugar syrup seems to have done wonders.

Thanks again everyone! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

5 Likes