I’m used to seeing the bees bearing in these hot temperatures, but why are they clustering in little groups like this? Not seen them doing this before and wondering what they are clustering around?
Are they balling a wasp?
I looked closely and I couldn’t see anything in the middle, and also there’s three clusters not just one, so they’d have to be balling 3 wasps?
I am with @Valli, I would think of the bees balling wasps as the most likely thing. This is the right season, and your bee clusters are the right size for balling. If it was my hive, I would think about reducing the entrance to 4 inches wide or less to help the guard bees defend the hive. Hives can be taken apart pretty quickly by a strong wasp colony.
WOW I have seen it a few times on my hive, just did not think to much of it but it really makes since now WOW!!
Stick your finger in there and push them aside. A gloved finger preferably lol.
When I went back out 15mins later to take another look, they’d all dispersed and gone back in the hive, no signs of anything at all where they were clustered and no dead wasps around that I could see. If I see it happening again I’ll poke a (gloved) finger in the middle see if I can discover what they’re surrounding.
Undertaker bees are very good at removing trash. Wasps have marker pheromones, so it is in the bees’ interests to remove the dead bodies from the vicinity of the hive.
Should I definitely put an entrance reducer on? Never used on on this hive and haven’t had any problems, but we do have a dearth on at the moment.
Your choice, but Tom Seeley has done some research which shows that when they can choose, bees like an entrance of about 15 sq cm. That is no more than half of the width of the Flow hive entrance, and a lot less for a standard Langstroth.
My personal experience is that bees do much better with entrances that are too small, than ones which are too large. My entrances on new colonies are both about 5-7 sq cm at the moment - around a quarter of the total hive width.
A local beekeeper told our class he always keeps his reduced…this helps the bees guard for robbers…less territory so the guard bees can stay close together…they have been fighting a lot less.
Ok so I took your advice and reduced my entrance, bees seem fine with it so far although I do see them all around the entrance fanning their wings so am a little concerned about ventilation.
I did it somewhat ad hoc, but have since been back to measure the entrance width, it’s 7.5cm…I measured the height as 1.2cm, so that makes my entrance 9cm2 at the moment. Is that big enough or should I cut 5cm off my entrance reducer to make the opening 15cm2?
If they are not bearding late at night all over the hive, you don’t need to worry. They are just signaling to returning foragers where the entrance is. However, if you see this kind of thing, you should worry more: