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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    557

    Default Are my bees using thier bodies to reduce the entrance?

    I am a new beekeepar and have a top bar hive with an entrance close to the roof, and a few times now I have noticed them clustering in a bubble of bees out the entrance hole. The temperature was fairly chilly the first time I noticed it, in the mid to upper 50s (F) but today it was 75 degrees out. It had rained a bit this afternoon, and the hole is right near the brood nest so I wondered if they are trying to reduce the entrance and therefore keep their brood warm and dry by using themselves or if they are thinking of swarming on me. I snapped a couple of pictures tonight so you could see what I am probably failing to explain well in words. It was around 8:30pm and a few foragers were still coming in and out of the cluster.

    DSC02104.JPGDSC02105.JPG

    I also have another, larger hive (this one is my temporary hive I made out of what I had on hand) that I still need to put an entrance in. I haven't been able to decide to put it up high like this one (I do like how the roof gives it some protection from rain), or one at the bottom like the KTBH I bought that I used to make this smaller version of. I have it all made except the entrance holes and the observation window. Any recommendations? I can't just let them out the top bars for fear they will build comb on the roof, but when they bubble at the entrance like you see above it makes me think this entrance is in a bad spot.

    Thanks! Colleen
    Last edited by Colleen O.; 06-04-2012 at 09:21 PM. Reason: asked entrance up or down question

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,650

    Default Re: Are my bees using thier bodies to reduce the entrance?

    Some strains of bees cluster out more than others. We had an unusual late rain here today and the hives that cluster out in good weather clustered out today in the rain.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Moyock, NC, USA
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: Are my bees using thier bodies to reduce the entrance?

    How big is the hole?
    I "THINK" it should be 5/8" but some designs have multiple 5/8" holes, of which some can be corked to control egress or help temperature.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    557

    Default Re: Are my bees using thier bodies to reduce the entrance?

    I copied the hole size (but not location) from the observation hive that I bought. That hive is a version based on P. Chandler's design. The holes are 1" Diameter. Their hive has three holes centered on the side at the bottom. I drilled this one the same size but at the top and towards the end due to what I had read. I could try to make a plug to reduce it, but that is the only hole I put in this temporary hive and when the temperatures here get in the upper 90's I'm afraid they won't be able to keep it cool enough.

    I could transfer them to the observation hive but the entrances are the same size, so I don't know how much help that would be.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are my bees using thier bodies to reduce the entrance?

    Looks like they are just blocking the entrance for warmth. I noticed mine doing it too and got scared. But over time I observed they only do

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are my bees using thier bodies to reduce the entrance?

    Do it when the weather is bad, windy or rainy. My thought was they must do it to keep the hive warm, and possibly to keep wind from disrupting the hive pheromones. If they are wanting to swarm you'll have a lot more bees hanging out. I wouldn't worry about it for now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Are my bees using thier bodies to reduce the entrance?

    The size of a wine-cork (about 1/2" or slightly bigger) worked fabulously here. Picked that size simply because we have lots of wine corks and would have to go to a hobby-shop to get one-inchers.

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