Beekeeping in extreme hot weather
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Walla Walla Wa
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    4

    Arrow Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    The area I live in -- southeast Washington state, has hot summer. the last three weeks have featured daytime temps of 100f+

    There were things in the bee yard that I recognized needed attention: a hive that needed an extra frame of brood for buildup that eventually got robbed out, a very strong hive that I felt was building to swarm, and did so. I did not intervene because of the heat.

    My job pecents me feom usiing the predawn hours of these hot hot days to work my hives.

    How do others who live in hot climates care for their bees when it gets this hot?

    As always, thanks for your suggestions.

    Stu

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    You do what needs to be done and drink lots of liquids. I try to work early, but often I can only go in the heat of the day. I'm going to try an easy-up for more consistent shade.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Montgomery, AL
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Im a second year beekeeper in Alabama. We have brutally hot summers with high temps and high humidity. I wish I had a good answer for you but I dont.

    My hives are in full sun most of the day. I recently tried to inspect two of my larger hives back to back. By the time I got to the second hive there were so many beads of sweat on my glasses and caught in the mesh screen of my veil I couldnt see. And every time I would bend over my glasses would slide right off.

    I think my new strategy will be to only inspect one hive and take a break to dry off and hydrate.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    5,223

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    I do "drive-by" beekeeping in hot weather. I drive by, look at entrance and bees, if they look good, I "heft" the hive for weight..........and I keep on driving until another day...........
    http://OxaVap.com Your source for the ProVap 110
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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Oklahoma USA
    Posts
    88

    Default

    I'm a first year beekeeper and in Oklahoma. We are also humid and hot during the summer's. Grown up here and working a job that's outside I'm pretty used to it also though.

    My hives are in full sun all day. I try and do my checks in the mornings or in the evenings when I can, but alot of the time I'm out there in the heat of the day. Also if I move slowly and carefully I can check my hives without the use of a bee suit which helps a tremendous amount with the heat. I wear a wide brimmed hat/cowboy hat to keep sun off my head also. I have also heard of some putting ice packs in their bee suits, dont know how they attach them though. Also a cool wrap around your neck helps. Alot of my guys at work wear those. Light colored lose fitting clothes also. Long sleeved thin shirts help too as strange as that sounds. You sweat and the breeze helps cool you off.

    Other than that and keeping hydrated there's not much you can do to avoid it I dont think. An easy up canopy like texasbelchers said or large golf umbrella set up while you are working will provide some relief from the sun also. But if you have many hives spread out could be a pain to move around all the time. Do what you can, take it easy, take breaks and drink lots of water/fluids and you will be fine. Good luck with the heat and bees.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,536

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    Yep. Lots of fluids. I wear a non vented bee jacket and veil when inspecting the hives. In the heat of the day I can do maybe three or four full inspections before I need to drink more water. After doing all 18 hives, my jacket and gloves are soaked through with sweat. Miserable to be sure but it has to be done.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,291

    Default

    I typically locate hives in areas where they are shaded by trees in the afternoon and evening. I do most of my work in evening since I can't in the morning except on weekends.

    Shade, light clothing are key. In my area we don't get excessively high temps, it's the humidity (real feel) that where's you out.

    If your doing just handful of hives it's no biggie. The extended work period in the heat is what gets ya.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    lake hopatcong nj
    Posts
    864

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    By the time I got to the second hive there were so many beads of sweat on my glasses and caught in the mesh screen of my veil I couldnt see
    I've been tying a rag or bandana around my head. Seems to help. I'm going to be looking for old school sweat bands and keep those on hand.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    853

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    Fortunately this year, the gypsy moth is no longer and my hives are in the shade. I'm 81 and decided that I'm only doing one a day and really enjoy it for a change. OMTCW

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Dade county, Mo.
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    I use a sweat band to keep the sweat from covering my glasses. It really helps.
    As far as overheating, i can't wear my cheap non vented suit when it's really hot so just a light t-shirt and some thin docker type pants.
    If the smoker doesn't do the job and they get nasty i step away and come back later.
    stay hydrated.
    Last edited by cbay; 08-12-2018 at 04:01 PM.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    691

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    Quote Originally Posted by trottet1 View Post
    I've been tying a rag or bandana around my head. Seems to help. I'm going to be looking for old school sweat bands and keep those on hand.
    I also wear a bandana around my head when it is hot to keep the sweat under control.


    I have also found that a bowl of ice cream after inspecting the hives on a hot day is very good

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    lake hopatcong nj
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    864

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    I have also found that a bowl of ice cream after inspecting the hives on a hot day is very good
    Ha! I'm a slice of pizza away from a heart attack as it is.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Hannacroix New York
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    I recently performed inspections on a rather miserable day that felt like the face of the sun. A friend brought over a pop up tent, as mentioned above, and that worked out beautifully. Kept the sun off you at least...... thinking of investing in a battery operated fan.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Houma, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    I'm in the swamps of south Louisiana. It's hard for me to imagine anyone up "nort" suffering from heat and humidity.

    I've gotten to where I take a break after every hive, when needed. I drink iced liquids before, during and after...usually an alcoholic drink before. This may be a bad idea for preventing heat exhaustion but it helps me relax during inspections...which, in turn, keeps me cooler.

    I've gone to thinner and thinner light colored pants and, sometimes, no shirt under my ventilated jacket.

    Regarding using a pop-up tent... I have one but haven't used it for inspections yet. My tent is larger and heavier than the typical 10x10 pop-ups so it would wear me out more putting it up, moving it, and taking it down. Do tents interfere with the bee orientation?

    Regarding the cool neck wraps... I haven't tried this but it seems like the easiest way to reduce fatigue. I've been wanting to get a couple of these to use from May - December every time I go outside.

    Fortunately, I have access to electricity so a fan is something I'm gonna try. I'd think that distance and placement are important - depending on the fan's strength. I wouldn't want to be vaporizing bees and coating myself with a mist of alarm pheromones. I've seen where a screen is placed on the back of a fan to catch mosquitoes...maybe this is a good idea for preventing bee deaths??? Anyone have advice on how to use a fan when doing inspections?

    Inspecting bare-handed is something I do as often as I can while working in the heat. I keep my gloves close by.

    I also ask my family to check on me as I'm only 150' from my house. I'll set the kitchen timer to remind them to bring me some ice water and set my phone timer to remind me to take a break.

    I use these breaks to make notes about the inspection I just did. It helps me to make notes after each hive so that I don't forget what I just saw and it helps me focus more on the next hive inspection. Back when I used to inspect hive after hive in the scorching heat, I could hardly remember how the first inspection went.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    I thought about moving the pop-up over the hives, but the 10x10 is too much. I set it up at the back of the Yukon with a stack of boxes. Then I could sit in complete shade right by the hives as opposed to partial tree shade a fair walk away. I tried a little umbrella, but without a stand it was just in the way.

    Headbands and hats are a must and I trade them out so they can dry in the sun; it doesn't take long. I use a swim suit, T-shirt and full Ultrabreeze suit. I figure this is cooler than any long pant/shirt, they wick sweat away quickly, and it is easy to change shirts. I use 8 mil flocked gloves; doubled for nasty removals. They definitely collect water. I have finally eliminated the "mean" bees in the apiary, so I'm not concerned when the glove tears, but I continue to use them to keep my hands clean. I think my bees collect more propolis than pollen.

    I'm making major efforts to work faster and get the job done instead of finding more shade. Having the hives in full sun all day has minimized the efforts required for SHB control. The time savings squishing < 10 per hive instead of 100 is amazing let alone the outcome if they loose control. Additionally, they have to be putting more effort into other things if they don't have SHB control issues. I wonder if the daily "heat treatment" is reducing varroa population, too??

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
    Posts
    3,112

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    Get a ventilated jacket. One of the best investments I have made in a long time.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Taylorville, IL
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    Only my third year here so....
    When I started with two hives heat was no big deal. Do what I wanted and get a drink after. Now, with seven, I have a plan, before heading to the beeyard, and stick to it as closely as possible. That rarely works, so keep aware of how you're feeling and take a break before you think you need it. When you're presented with, oh I need to do this too, stop. I use a vented jacket and still usually only get through two hives at a time. Get in the shade, get a cool drink, get my jacket off. Rethink my plan. Try and do two more. Rinse, repeat.

    If the sweat is blinding me I've already been at it too long.
    I make plans, the bees do what they're gonna do. Somehow it seems to usually work out OK.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Tompkins NY USA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    Quote Originally Posted by elmer_fud View Post
    I have also found that a bowl of ice cream after inspecting the hives on a hot day is very good
    Ice cream is good just about after everything

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,527

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    A camel back and a veil. At least when its warm the propolis gluing everything together is nice and soft. All hives are in full sun always. I look at entrance activity and pop tops to see if they need a super.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    5,604

    Default Re: Beekeeping in extreme hot weather

    For me a bandana is an absolute must in hot weather, along with a ventilated suit. I have to wear glasses to be able to see eggs and young larvae, and the bandana keeps the sweat off my glasses and out of my eyes. I bring a couple extra bottles of cold water in a cooler and every couple of hives will soak the bandana in cold water, squeeze enough water out so it is not dripping, and place it back on my head. I'll pour a little cold water on my head as well, makes a big difference. If I'm spending a little time with inspections I'll take a little break every couple hives and repeat the process, and drink some water to stay hydrated.
    To everything there is a season....

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