Keeping bees cool
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Placer County, CA
    Posts
    8

    Default Keeping bees cool

    Newbie here. I live in a hot interior valley of California. This weekend is forecasted to have temperatures potentially in excess of 110 degrees. Today was in the high 90's and the face of my hives are covered in bees, I assume they are trying to cool off. How can I help them cool off better and keep comfortable during these heat waves? We had several episodes of hive robbing recently so all entrances are down to minimum. Thanks for any advice you can give.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,300

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    Give them a birdbath to collect water from...maybe 100' from the hives. They use evaporation to cool the hives, so adding excess ventilation actually heats things up; as long as they have at least something around 1-2 sqin of entrance, the only major help is water. As an aside, you can help keep the sun from making their job harder by painting the hives white &/or glossy/reflective; using double-walls with a ventilated air gap for insulation, and doing the same with the lid(s), but I'd use the aluminum roofing paint on the lids...works great on mine here in coastal TX.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rutland, Vermont, United States
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/beekeep...ays-of-summer/ has some useful tips on keeping bees cool. There are also entrance reducers with holes for more airflow than a solid reducer. Rusty also has another post on hive ventilation that I like here http://www.honeybeesuite.com/of-mites-and-men/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    Last year I put all my hives under a shaded tree all summer long. They still gather
    around the hive entrance to keep the hive cool but not that many compared to the
    full sun hives. It is better than the all full sun hives though.
    Also, a bottom screen fully open will help too if you have one for your hive. But if
    you cannot move your hives then put a cardboard on top will help with the shade I think.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    1,048

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    When I started using both a top and bottom entrance it help enormously. Had very little bearding at 40C (104F). The bottom entrance only needs to be a couple of inches wide.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Deming, NM
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    I use a screened inner cover with a migratory outer cover with a small shim between them. You get plenty of ventilation without risk of robbing.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    The most effective way to reduce the entrance to reduce robbing is to use screen wire. The upside is it also gives you more ventilation. Just remember that too much ventilation can make it impossible for them to COOL the hive, which they need to do. It's like leaving your door open with the air conditioner running. They have to keep the broodnest 93 F even if it is 110 F outside...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    fairfield, sc
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    my bees decided to cool off yesterday here. Here's them 'chillin' out -
    temp was 87, humidity was 78
    Last edited by seapro220; 06-07-2013 at 11:09 AM. Reason: left off pic

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Bahrain
    Posts
    1

    Question Re: Keeping bees cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The most effective way to reduce the entrance to reduce robbing is to use screen wire. The upside is it also gives you more ventilation. Just remember that too much ventilation can make it impossible for them to COOL the hive, which they need to do. It's like leaving your door open with the air conditioner running. They have to keep the broodnest 93 F even if it is 110 F outside...
    New Beekeeper here. Living in Bahrain and my first summer with bees. Weather is in the 40c and air is hot day and night. How much is too much ventilation. Is screened bottom floor and screened inner cover too much? Should I close off the bottom as the air passing through is hot? Please help maybe it's like frying my bees with so many openings? Thoughts please

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,922

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    I have been contemplating ventilation for decades now. I don't know exactly what is best, but what I have arrived at is no screened bottom, no bottom entrance, just a top entrance and it is about 2 or 2 1/2" wide and 3/8" tall. They have to cool the hive and to do that they have to bring in dry air (which is heavier than wet air) and evaporate water and then get rid of the wet air (which rises). This is consistent with a top entrance.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bozeman Montana
    Posts
    489

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    I took a online course from U.M. And one bonus was bieng privy to some studies bieng done in academia. One was a study on the circulation of air through a hive. The hive was a standard two deep ten frame ect.. The university had little weather probes and air flow monitors through out the hive to find out how much air in , how much out as well as temps in and out and also how it circulated and about nine thousand other academic pursuits . I will post the link when I get home and to not exaggerate I won't post real numbers but... It was absolutely ridiculous how much air they moved and how much the air changed as it went through the hive and how much they could regulate/change the air temps when they wanted to. They controlled volume , pressure humidity , direction of flow around frames and temperature without a single hive change. I remember bieng like"no way " when I read the scfm they made through a standard entrance it was more than a lot of compressors I've owned . Yesterday I had a smoker sitting off to the side of an entrance and it was gently blowing away from the entrance , so I thought cool I want to feel the air coming out , so I reached down and put my hand in front of it and almost instantly got stung and said, "fine then be hot see if I care"

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Baker, FL
    Posts
    211

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    I live in northwest Florida and it has been so hot that the front of my main hive was solid black with bees on the outside of the hive. I have since opened up the screen bottom board and I already had a screened top (under the cover) screwed to the top box. The screened top has a four inch hole (that is also screened). I also lifted the top so the screened hole it exposed to the outside air. There are no bees hanging on the outside of the hive now and it is still hot as heck. It seems to me that they are expending a lot of energy flapping their wings to cool and or heat the hive and I would rather them use the energy to forage for food.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,614

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    Shade during the worst of heat, but monitor for hive beetles. Top entrance.
    David Matlock

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Fultonville,New York,USA
    Posts
    718

    Default Re: Keeping bees cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I have been contemplating ventilation for decades now. I don't know exactly what is best, but what I have arrived at is no screened bottom, no bottom entrance, just a top entrance and it is about 2 or 2 1/2" wide and 3/8" tall. They have to cool the hive and to do that they have to bring in dry air (which is heavier than wet air) and evaporate water and then get rid of the wet air (which rises). This is consistent with a top entrance.
    I have a bottom entrance that is sealed off with a #8 hardware cloth with a 3 in entrance. No top entrance because I a have a top feeder with a ventilated inner cover. I recently installed a verroa screen and tray with no bottom board. Is this to much ventilation? Seeing how the verroa screen act as a screened bottom board?

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