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Unsure if normal bearding or if preparing to swarm

Hi there!
I’m a newbie beekeeper and just got my first hive started this spring! Everything so far as been going really well and I haven’t had any problems getting started. I’d say all frames but one are almost fully complete with comb and their population has definitely grown, I’d say a little more than doubled from when I first installed them.

They started bearding during the day as the weather has gotten warmer and since the humidity has been pretty bad where I live. Everyday I’ve seen them bearding the ones outside have been extremely calm and not really moving unless they were fanning and they were only along the front of the brood box and the entrance platform.

This morning when I checked on them they seemed more active, had a louder sound, and were bearding down off of the front of the entrance platform which they haven’t done before. I checked again a few hours later, and they aren’t as loud or as active as they were this am, but they still are behaving differently from the typical bearding I have seen so far.

Is this a sign that they might swarm or is this just normal bearding? If it is a sign they might swarm what should I do to prevent that? I read that they might need more space and to add my super. However, I don’t want to spread them too thin with the added space and make them vulnerable for the winter.

Thank you so much!
Nicole

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looks like a beard to me. :smiley:

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Welcome to the group! Bearding is typical on warm and humid days like we have been experiencing. However, the description of all the frames being built out or close to it should mean you add your next box. You can add another brood box on top, or put the super on. There is still a significant amount of summer left/fall around the corner where they need space to deposit all their honey or you will have them be honey bound in the brood box and they will likely swarm anyway. It is better to add the space and then decide in the fall if you are going to leave it on over the winter or take off. I see you are in NJ so you could find out from local beekeepers if they double brood box winter or single brood box to help you decide if you are adding another brood box or the honey super. If it were me, and I’m in a similar climate, I would add another brood box and then in the next spring you will have a lot of bees to help you build up your honey harvest.

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Definitely looks like bearing. Sometimes the beard even more when your colony is larger!

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