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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
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    13

    Default Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    Two Part Question:
    1. Noticing LOTS of bearding, even when the temp topped out at 80 F like yesterday. Is there something I should be doing to provide better ventilation?
    --I have screened bottom boards, with a metal tray under.
    --Hives are on 1' tall stands made from plastic fencing (solid), with a plywood cap for the bottom board to sit on.

    2. Since the start of the bearding, I have noticed a significant drop in the amount of comb being drawn (like NONE). Is this because they are hanging out bearding, instead of busily drawing comb? To put it another way, if I can solve the bearding issue, will this help get them back to drawing comb?
    --Prior to the start of all this bearding (from 6/7 when we installed until about 7/7) they were drawing about 6-8 frames of comb every 2 weeks on average.
    --Otherwise, hives are very busy with foragers coming and going and larvae and capped brood present.
    --LOTS nectar/honey in the 2 brood boxes, though.


    I'm getting worried that with July drawing to a close and no honey supers being drawn and filling up that winter will not go well!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    My hives tend to beard when there is a lot of humidity even when it is not that hot.... Not sure if that is a factor with yours but thought it worth a mention.....
    Since '12 Zone 7a 5H TF SC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    Good to know. I guess what worries me more than the bearding itself, is whether it is contributing to the sudden ceasing of comb building.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Quincy, Mass USA
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    Quote Originally Posted by stagemgrma View Post
    Good to know. I guess what worries me more than the bearding itself, is whether it is contributing to the sudden ceasing of comb building.
    My bees only build significant comb when there is a big flow...... They are foraging now but I will not see any significant flow until the fall goldenrod and knotweed bloom hits....
    Since '12 Zone 7a 5H TF SC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    Thanks, you are setting my mind at ease. Guess that's why one of my hives drew 4 full frames in only 1 week 6/7-6/14!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    >Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    When it is very hot, they beard a lot. It's not excessive, it's just bearding...

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#bearding
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    Hi Michael, I'm a huge fan! My problem is that they are bearding even when it is not hot, they also stopped drawing comb at the same time. Is there something I can do to decrease the bearding and increase productivity? Or are both of these things simply a sign of a dearth?

    I just pulled the tray from under the screened bottom board this morning (before posting) and thinking of propping up the top as you suggest to increase ventilation.
    Carrie, Zone 6A
    Novice Hobbyist - Treatment Free, Foundationless, Small-Cell

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mount Airy, Frederick county, MD, USA
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    I'm betting it's a dearth, and they don't have anything to do but just hang out outside helping to cool the place down. I also have SBB. It's been 75 with low humidity (reminiscent of late September, honestly) and they are still bearding.

    My large hives beard...the entrance is covered with bees, and the gaps where I slid each super back a little to help with ventilation are all covered... and the bees stopped building comb end of June.

    My nucs don't beard, but I feed them, since they were started just before the dearth began, and they have plenty to do inside, plus the sheer volume of bees is significantly less.

    I don't worry about it myself. It's what they do. Bees seem to do a lot of things that work for them but I don't understand entirely.
    Newbee with three hives and two nucs, zone 6b

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    Thanks, SpringGreen. We've been having the same weather this week, topping out at 80 with low humidity. Every day, 3+ layers of bees deep covering the entire front of both deep boxes...at least I can see that there are a lot of bees :-)

    I'll stop worrying so much and just let them bee.
    Carrie, Zone 6A
    Novice Hobbyist - Treatment Free, Foundationless, Small-Cell

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    What is your entrance situation? Have you given them a wide open entrance yet? Pull any and all reducers.

    They have plenty of space inside? If yes, then let them hang out on the porch...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    >Hi Michael, I'm a huge fan! My problem is that they are bearding even when it is not hot, they also stopped drawing comb at the same time. Is there something I can do to decrease the bearding and increase productivity?

    Anytime it's not cold a strong hive may have bees bearding on the front. I just make sure there are not out of room and they have adequate (but not too much) ventilation. I worry that we assume that when they stop bearding we have helped them. This may or may not be the case. Maybe they are bearding because they can while still keeping the hive cool and when they stop it's because they are now required for the job of keeping it cool? How do we know?

    > Or are both of these things simply a sign of a dearth?

    Bees build comb when they need it. The seasonal cycle of bee colonies is that the population builds up (along with drones) in the early spring in anticipation of swarming. Then the comb is built and honey is made and stored during the flow. Then the population drops off as the nectar flow drops off and things wind down towards winter. Bees do not do the same thing through the whole season. They have a general pattern plus they adapt to changes during the year such as a nectar flow or a dearth or hot weather.

    >They have plenty of space inside? If yes, then let them hang out on the porch...

    That's my view. I never met a lazy bee...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Excessive Bearding when weather not very hot?!?

    Thanks, Michael! Simply removing the tray under the SBB, as suggested on your website, made a huge difference. I will now try to chill out myself and just enjoy the ride :-)
    Carrie, Zone 6A
    Novice Hobbyist - Treatment Free, Foundationless, Small-Cell

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