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It's getting hot in here, so take off.......?


#1

New beek here! Have one hive, from a package of Russian hybrids obtained about 6 weeks ago.

Ok, so it is about 90-95 degrees outside, no significant rain in about 1 week, western PA, USA.

My bees are NOT making a beard outside the hive. They are fanning and buzzing inside quite a bit. I recently added a second brood box, as they were filling up the first. I have put out extra water next to the hive, and am still feeding sugar water.

Even though most people say the hive is not likely to overheat, I am concerned about them getting too hot. Can I remove that white plastic bottom from the flow hive? I think it will allow better airflow. I just did a mite check on the board 2 days ago, and no significant issues were noted. What is that board for anyway, other than a mite check?

Thanks!


#2

I am not a fan of screened bottom boards as it give too large an area for pests to get in so the guards cannot keep them out. I would leave the corflute in and let the bees handle their ventillation, they are surprisingly good at it.

Cheers
Rob.


#3

Yes I agree with @Rmcpb, The bees do better with just an entrance. It doesn’t make sense to us. But it’s the bees working as a team to draw air in on one one side of the entrance & expel it on the other side. They bring water back to the hive & deposit it strategically so they can air condition the hive. Any other openings will only let hot air in which will work against their strategy.

The only other thing you can do is keep the outside of the hive as cool as possible with shade or paint the box with a cool color.


#4

last summer we had some really hot +43C days. I placed shade cloth over all my hives- I figured it would provide some relief. Going against the grain here- I also put the coreflute into the lower slot on my Flow Hives.


#5

@ladibug where is your nearest secondary water source for your bees and are they both bee friendly (I notice you said you have put extra water near the hive)?

I live in Western Australia and we typically see a string of bone dry 34-45 degC days (93 degF to 113degF) throughout summer with no issues for our bees. When we get days like that I often notice my hive go through up to approx 3L of water per day fanning the hive.


#6

@JeffH Hi Jeff - I am seeing your point of view. My question remains however in relation to the entrance reduced to 15cm or less which is common with some beeks and sometimes all year. How does that work with the, “bees working as a team to draw air in on one one side of the entrance & expel it on the other side”? Would that work with the reduced entrance? Presumably they need to do this to some extent for the whole year? Thanks.


#7

G’day Jack, I have a suggestion of an experiment for you to conduct next summer. Seeing as you have more than one flow hive, why don’t you put the core flute in the top slot in one & the bottom slot in the other. Do a comparison, assuming both colonies are of a similar strength.

This is a bit cheeky, however, assuming you have air-con. Try leaving a door or window open on a 43degC day while the air-con is going.


#8

less than 100 yards away is a pond. The water I put out is more just for my own piece of mind :slight_smile:


#9

I might just try that Jeff- and I do have aircon- but mine is like the bees: evaporative! And I do always leave a door or window open when that’s on- as if I don’t it doesn’t really work… Hmm? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

actually there is a potential difference between what you might do- and what I should do here in SA: I imagine that evaporative cooling is not so common where you are due to the higher average humidity? Here in SA the humidity is mostly low- and evaporative works very well. Last few years though we have had some periods of higher than average humidity- with a tropical feel to it- and on those days the evaporative system is not very effective… My reasoning with very hot weather and beehives is that the bees can cool the hive more easily if more dry warm air is drawn in - pushing out the heavier cooler damp air? Hence bottom slot?


#10

Hi Dan, my point of view on the subject in influenced entirely by the video “City Of Bees”. In that video they show bees lined up to direct the flow of air while other bees are depositing water in strategic places. They show the entrance with tissue paper being sucked in on one side of the entrance & blowing out on the other side. I always wondered the same thing your asking myself. “Does the air going in clash with the air coming out?”. Anyway I know it works because I have a couple of hives with 4" entrances all year round & they perform extremely well. It was boxes that were given to me that I didn’t get around to altering to my own liking. Consequently they were fine.

Since being on this forum I’ve become more aware of entrance openings. I’m reducing them right back on weaker colonies to prevent chilled brood. I’m also more conscious of not chilling the brood, since @Dawn_SD and @Dee pointed out that chilled brood leads to chalk brood. They were right, because every bad case of chalk brood that I got can be traced back to me opening up the brood for an extended period. Also checker boarding behind a large entrance coming out of winter. I must have chilled some brood by doing that. That’s one thing I wont be doing this spring.


#11

Hi @JeffH , thanks very much for this advice. Yes, that is the video - “City of Bees”. Well if it seems to work for you and so many others with the reduced entrances, I’ll follow the advice and go with it where warranted, if not all the time. I will probably eventually also go all solid floors and ventilation hole free migratory lids. The one odd thing with chalk brood that I discovered, is that in addition to chilled brood (definitely the big risk here and with cold spring/“summer” weather the colony can go back to the winter cluster exposing the brood edges), it can also be precipitated by a long period of dry conditions and lack of nectar.

I’ve experienced 9 degree temps in the middle of a summers day here with squally showers and a biting south westerly, so it is easy to chill a hive with too much space.


#12

Bees cool the hive. Giving them too much ventilation can make that impossible. My hives are all on solid bottoms or the screened bottom has the tray in. My entrances are at the top and are about 2" wide and 1/4" tall. We get some heat (100 F sometimes) and they do fine.