Its 75 degrees and nighttime-why are they bearding?
This is really starting to wrack my nerves. We just had a huge thunderstorm. I went out to peek on them, and the layer of bees that were covering the front of the hive had clumped up, all faced the same way, and many had tried to crowd into the handle notch. BUT THEY WOULDN'T GO BACK INSIDE!!! Here it is now, 20 degrees cooler and in the dark of night, and they STILL aren't inside.
In case it is relevant, I have them on a screened bottom board, under a tree, less than 10 feet from a natural stream. Fenced in beeyard. Mulch. Four cinder blocks ("8"x12"x16") make up the base.
I shimmed the top cover with popsickle sticks, but they pretty much filled the gap with propolis.
Today, I spread the cinder blocks apart a few inches, in hopes of providing them with some air circulation from the underside.
I know there are more ventilations tricks, but could this bearding be caused by something else? :confused:
It would be good to open up the hive tomorrow early and look for swarm cells. If you have a spare super to put on that should help. It sounds like they are overcrowded and getting ready to swarm.
Thanks, I will definitely look for them. But to be honest, I was in there last week, and didn't see even one. And they have been bearding for weeks.
Also, I only installed these bees in mid April. Put the super on in May. I understood swarming was rather unlikely in hives that new.
Mike, I imagine the humidty levels are high in Baltimore this time of year which I imagine is one of the reasons why they are hanging out.
I was reading that hive beetles will force the bees out on the front porch, but if you don't have any, no worries.
Adding an additional empty box on top might alleviate crowding, like Sierra said.
And then, sometimes there is nothing you can do.
Why do you want to eliminate bearding? It is a natural thing they do, and to me, it is a sign of a strong hive.
"This is really starting to wrack my nerves,..thunderstorm". I went out to peek on them,..and in the dark of the night,.. 9;30- 10;30, midnight!! etcetra, etcetra.
You really need to move your bees [colonies] out to 5 - 10- 15 miles away or so, then your nerves won't be "'wracked" quite so much, lol. My hives are 8-10 miles away and we are having a thunderstorm right now! Do I rush out later and "see" how they're doing? ..if they have a "beard" or not. Noooooo! not at $4.00/gal/gas I don't, lol.
It is nice to hear on Beesource how the bees are doing when you can have them,......in your "backyard". The information is valuable.
Last edited by Oldbee; 06-29-2008 at 06:34 AM.
It may just mean they want to be outside. Mine do it every night.
Several issues can be the cause of bearding...
Lack of space in the brood nest
Not enough to do for the bees
Not enough ventilation
Crowded brood nest in bottom box
Other reasons I'm sure
When that happens to me, it's usually crowded brood nest in the bottom box. I always just add a box of drawn comb to the bottom of the hive, not the top. It gives the bees somewhere to hang out when they don't have enough to do or when there's crowded broodnest on the bottom. It clears up the bearding, giving the bees somewhere to hang out and something to do also, cleaning out the cells and whatnot. It also gives the queen room to move down if she wants to expand the nest, and does not disturb the way she has the hive arranged, can still keep the honey and stores on top and around the nest.