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Managing the bees in hot weather


#1

I’m a new beekeeper based in the Byron hinterland, northern NSW. After the recent hot weather (temperatures probably in the low 40s Celcius) we are wondering if there is anything we can do to lessen the heat stress on our bees? Have noticed the Flow Hive has more bearding than the two Langstroth hives next to it. The lid doesn’t have any vents and a couple of days ago we swapped it for a traditional one with two small vents front and back. Anyone else tried this? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Many thanks in advance.

Kerrie


#2

Hi Kerrie, one thing you could try is to feel how hot the hives are to touch. Do a comparison. On the vent issue, I wouldn’t worry about top vents. In fact the sbb on your flow hive could be working against the bees, because it could be letting lots of hot air into the hive from beneath the hive. I’m guessing that your two Lang hives have solid floors. I would use a solid floor on the flow hive & let the bees air condition their hive from the front entrance only. They are super efficient at doing that.

Unless the 2 Lang lids are new, I wouldn’t mind guessing that the vents are blocked with propolis. If that’s the case, I’d leave it like that.


#3

I posted a photo of my hives recently and someone mentioned to paint the tin lids, which I did.
Much cooler now.

I have vents on the supers, but have doors on them which I can open or close.

They haven’t bearded in ages which I’m taking for a good sign.


#4

Hi Kerrie,

I’m another new beekeeper in Sunny Queensland with a flow hive and had most of my hive hanging off the front and below the hive on one of those first 40+C days. I had read about letting the bees do the air conditioning themselves and closing off the bottom board which is sound advice from some very experienced beekeepers - but wanting to experience things for myself, I actually took the corflute board out on the next 35+C days and haven’t had anywhere near the amount of beading as I experienced with the corflute board in (top slot).

On those days of mid to low 30s, I leave the corflute board on the second slot to allow some air flow in to the hive and plan to put it back in the top slot when the days cool off.

My observations were that I think the bees temperament improved when they weren’t so heat stressed and the negative was that removing the corflute board let the wonderful smell of the hive out and was more of an attractant to SHB. To offset the SHB increase I have introduced an Apithor trap which seems to be doing a great job at controlling the ones I can’t get to.

Seems to be more than one opinion for everything you do in beekeeping :slight_smile:


#5

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions; all helpful and will see where they lead. Not sure that swapping the lid has made much difference: although there are not as many bees bearding on the front of the hive, temperatures have dropped.

Kerrie