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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Windham, Maine
    Posts
    75

    Default What are they doing?

    We've hit two humid/hot days in the row. My 3 hives seem to be doing ok, but this morning I saw the bees on one of the hives hanging out like that. Are they cooling off?

    I hope this doesn't mean they're swarming. There is plenty of space in the second brood box.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    Most likely they are cooling off, especially if it was morning already. You say there is space in the second brood box so you probably have had these hives for 4-5-6 weeks now? You could remove the entrance reducer altogether. Sometimes I have cut pieces of wood the size of the reducers and make the entrance larger [1/3] but not wide open for awhile.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Wink We've hit two humid/hot days in the row.

    Nice photo.
    Remove the entrance cleat and let them ventilate the hive. You have them choked down.
    A good hive can move 500 cubic feet of air through it per hour.
    Your choice of color is not the best for a cooler hive. Try putting some foam type insulation on the hive and or add shade boards.
    You may want to consider supering the bees.
    Regards,
    Ernie Lucas Apiaries
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

    Default

    In your location the color of the hive is fine... but you do need to remove the entrance cleat.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northern VA USA
    Posts
    137

    Default

    I'm curious (new beekeeper this year). It is my understanding that feral hives often use an entrance hole maybe the size of a quarter, give or take a little. If a beekeeper's hive has a screened bottom board, why open the entrance all the way?

    Seems to me that it would require the guard bees to protect a larger area and making it easier for pests to enter the hive.

    Thanks.
    Matt
    Last edited by Matt Guyrd; 06-09-2008 at 10:27 AM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

    Default

    Obviously its hard to see how full the hive is just with this pic. It isn't hard to tell that its warm in there. From the pic one cannot see whether this is a SBB or not. If it was I don't suspect you'd see any bees hanging out the front but that's not necessarily a given.

    Obviously when you open up the entrance, it will take more bees to defend the entrance. If the colony is strong that should be no issue. If you are having a problem w/ robbers etc.. then a little hanging out the front might be worth dealing with.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Smile vent

    "I'm curious (new beekeper this year). It is my understanding that feral hives often use an entrance hole maybe the size of a quarter, give or take a little. If a beekeeper's hive has a screened bottom board, why open the entrance all the way?
    the idea of beekeeping is to help the bees do better than a hollow log so they will produce more honey than they need to survive/multiply. this is our "surplus". the idea of ventalation is to have a flow of air, thus carrying out the hotter air that gets trapped in the top of the hive. this is why many recomend some upper ventalation regardless of screened bottom. the bees will create this flow without help by sitting outside and fanning thier wings or just by keeping thier own body heat out of the hive- but these bees are not foraging for nectar or doing chores inside the hive.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northern VA USA
    Posts
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Williamson View Post
    From the pic one cannot see whether this is a SBB or not.
    Dan, my post was a bit misleading. I was not questioning your advice to Medovina, but asking the question from a general sense that many folks remove the entrance reducer, with and without a SBB. With the SBB, the only benefit I can see with a full entrance is that with a strong colony, the reducer will not become a bottle neck and might allow for a quicker build-up of stores.

    At what point is a "strong" colony considered strong enough to remove the reducer...6 frames full of bees, 8 or 10? A second brood box full of bees?

    I have five hives all with recently added second brood boxes. All with SBB and all still using the 3" opening. I haven't witnessed bearding or traffic jams at the entrance. I could probably remove the reducer, but I am not convinced it is beneficial at this point.

    Mike - point well taken regarding helping the bees do better.

    Matt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Guyrd View Post
    I'm curious (new beekeeper this year). It is my understanding that feral hives often use an entrance hole maybe the size of a quarter, give or take a little. If a beekeeper's hive has a screened bottom board, why open the entrance all the way?

    Seems to me that it would require the guard bees to protect a larger area and making it easier for pests to enter the hive.

    Thanks.
    Matt
    Your question is legitimate/interesting.

    I haven't done cut-outs or have other experience with swarms but I do know they "nest" in trees and it is true their "entrance" is usually quite small. In trees, perhaps the thickness of a "log" mitigates the effects of heat/ventilation and usually it is not in full sun. The upper part of a hive in a tree would draw off some excess heat. Maybe it is true that in areas where SHB or wax moths are a problem a smaller entrance would be adventageous.

    "the idea of beekeeping is to help the bees do a better job so they will produce more honey..m. haney.

    In some cases yes but in this case it is for the "convenience" [Langstroth] of the beekeeper to be able to maintain their hives in a manageable way.

    I confess I have not put in my SBB yet, [don't ask why] so maybe a SBB with a smaller entrance would work great. In my area at this time of year it is always necessary to have the bottom entrance open all the way.

  10. #10

    Default

    Hollow trees often have larger voids than a hive, more air available to circulate. There is often other holes elsewhere in the tree.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default

    Sometimes just a dearth of nectar is all it takes for idle bearding. Bored bees will just hang about outside rather than add to the congestion of an already hot hive.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

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