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Thread: Cluster

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  1. #1
    BILLY BOB Guest

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    Hello all,

    I keep my hives on stands, 18 inches off the ground. This year all of my hives went to screened bottom boards.

    About a week ago while looking at one of my hives I saw some bees flying from under the hive. So down on all fours I went to have a look. To one side a cluster of bees the size of a grapefruit, was/is hanging from the screen. At first I thought they were starting a beard, but the temperature hasn't been high, and the hive has swarmed already. There is plenty of room in the hive also.

    I was thinking that the bees were trying to keep some queen cells warm that were close to the bottom, but the new queen emerged some time last week.

    Maybe someone can help me on this one.

    Thanks

    Billy Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    I've seen this myself. If your entrance is too close to the bottom the bees get their aim wrong, and end up trying to treat the floor as an entrance. Raise the entrance 3-4 inches above the bottom of the hive - use a spare shallow under the floor, or knock something up similar out of scrapwood - and that should see an end to the problem.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  3. #3

    Post

    I had bees doing the same but not in the numbers you saw. This is a new hive and I thought they might be passing wares thru the screen. Took the entrance reducer out yesterday as the temp has warmed and in the 5th week are more bees. There are no longer any bees going to the screen. Maybe they just didn't like the crowd at the entrance.

  4. #4
    BILLY BOB Guest

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    I removed the entrance reducer and the # of bees under the hive has went down. A friend of mine uses 1/4 inch hardware cloth on his hives. I've talked to him about it before. He says it works great, you never have to worry about the bees doing that. They can just walk through the 1/4" openings. He went to the larger screen because, when ever he moved his hives for the first week or so he would have a larg clump of bees under the hive. What does everyone here think?

    Billy Bob

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    If you us mesh big enough for bees to get through, then you've opened a massive hole for robbers. I find one of the advantages of screen bottoms is that I can keep entrances small and cut down robbing.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    lynnwood, WA, USA
    Posts
    19

    Post

    I have screened bottom boards with a drawer board that slides under the screen. In real hot weather I can take the drawer out, but in the cooler weather the board is covered with vaseline/mineral oil and is great for mite detection. The bees are very curious when I pull the boards out for inspection, often flying under the hive and landing on the screen, and it doesnt surprise me that they might cluster there to keep brood warmer in cool weather

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