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Lots of "Bearding". Are these bees about to swarm?


#1

Hi, over the last week or two, my bees have been bearding a lot. Some days they do it, some days they don’t.

Today they are bearding more than I have ever seen before. Here are a couple of photos:

I’m based in Sydney, Australia, and it is late spring which is apparently swarming season. I have only had the bees since March and believe they have enough room in the hive (but I could be wrong).

What are your impressions?

Thanks,
MrBear


#2

It looks like they are hot and are outside fanning. they do this to evaporate excess water from the honey and or to cool the hive. It would not hurt to have a look to see if you need to take some honey off. Good luck.
Pam


#3

When I checked 2 weeks ago, only one flow hive frame was nearly full, the others had lots of space. But I will check again on Monday.

Would it be worthwhile partially moving the corflute plastic that is under the baseboard to let some air flow up into the hive?


#4

Mr Bear,

Everyone has different idea about the conflux board. I have only one Flow-hive presently … The others don’t have that double slot so I always leave mine in the upper position. With your main entrance open n water available the bees should be able to circulate the proper air. If temps go nuts/really up in your local you might try shading.

That’s my 2 cents worth,

Gerald.


#5

Thanks Gerald. Temperatures have only been about 23°C (73°F) today so not too hot and it isn’t very humid either. They get the morning sun and afternoon shade.

The corflute is in the bottom position since I have a beetle trap on it (and it won’t fit in the upper position with the beetle trap).

When I was there I happened to put my hand on the lid and I could feel and hear the bees moving inside - that is above the top cover but under the roof. I tried lifting it gently, but they had stuck it down with propolis.

I think the only course of action is for me to open up the hive tomorrow and take a look.


#6

Hi again.,

Yah … So far no Beatles here so your doing what needs done. Hmm, as for the hole in the crown board. I have screen wire over mine taped down with duct tape. That way I could but haven’t removed any wire!! Yah I’m guess you might find some wax comb upstairs. If not shake the bees back down n wire or block the top. I believe Dawn or Dee ( not sure which suggests a handy brick)…

Let me know how you fair tomorrow … Always enjoy knowing how others do. That’s how we learn. Always bouncing ideas off others.

Cheers,

Gerald


#7

Have you checked your brood box? Flow frames may not appear full but…


#8

Some bees are more prone to swarming than others and you may have a swarmy lot. Then again they may be bearding to cool the hive. I agree with Kirsten that you need to be inspecting the brood box. However you need strategies for what you may find there.

Here’s what I did.

Several of my colonies started bearding a few weeks ago so I figured I would do an inspection. I intended to split one colony and make a combined split from another two. My strategies were to check the levels of hive beetles, reduce bee populations and make some space for the colonies to expand.

That’s what I did. I’ve written about it on another thread so I will attempt to edit in a link. Flow Hive Inspection. Eumundi Australia I now have a couple of queenless colonies. They may be raising queens of their own but I’m buying some queens next week. I’m looking to improving the genetics a little. Some of my colonies are a little too feisty for my liking.


#9

I agree with @Kirsten_Redlich, check on the brood, you might need to take a split from it to make sure it doesn’t swarm even if it isn’t preparing to swarm right now.

It’s worth remembering that bees are constantly building up to the point where they’ll eventually swarm. Spring time is when they mostly swarm whether they have room to expand into or not.


#10

If you see any Beatles in your hive you’d better get pictures! You’ll be a wealthy man! lol


#11

It’s been a hard day’s night…