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Hi everyone!

We topped out today at 109F. For 8-9 days, we are scheduled to have triple digit heat with a high next week of 112F.

We are asking for suggestions.

Here is what we have done so far:

1. Continue to supply unlimited water source nearby.
2. Removed all sticky boards, opening up the screened bottom boards 100% for ventilation and hopefully lower temps.
3. Covered every colony with coraplast to avoid direct sunlight.

Anyone have any other ideas?

And two question...the queens have been doing so well [some of the strongest colonies we have ever had].

4. Can the excess heat damage the queens ability to lay eggs?

5. In our location, we can successfully graft right up to October. Should we be considering requeening all colonies in Sept?

Thanks,

Soar
 

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Personally, I wouldn't have covered their tops, but have left them open, or at least partially open, to create a through-draught up from the Open Mesh Floors. If robbing is a concern, then cover the openings with some kind of mesh - wind-break mesh or similar.

To keep the sun off, suggest you erect a canopy over the hives, high enough so as not to impede air flow (as above), and extending over the sides and front so as to keep the sun off the boxes at times other than around midday.
LJ

Having just read what Honeyeater has written - I'd say take what I've suggested with a pinch of salt as my experience of high temperatures is limited to (very) occasional 90's.
 

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I had a similar situation myself last summer in Western Australia, for a few days and they survived just fine. Mine are in full sun. There is a school of thought that claims that you want your hive relatively sealed so that the higher outside temp won't come inside the hive. The bees will control the temp inside the hive more efficiently without too much ventilation. Give them too much ventilation and they have to work harder.

I didn't have any top ventilation, but my lids are heavily insulated. Mine are gabled lids and they cast some shade on the sides of hives which probably helps. I think adding an empty super under the lid might also help, can't remember where I read that.
 

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I'd throw insulation on the top if I had it. Shade of any sort will help as well.

I am in the "increase ventilation" camp, so I would have done like you and opened the bottom boards. Water nearby is good.

I wouldn't sweat the issue of the queens, but looking forward to hearing from more experienced voices on that.
 

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Since we in Phoenix Az. are going over 110 and around 115 lately I'm watching this posting. I've got one horizontal hive and use a hands off but observe that's working so far. Since May they pulled 10 frames of wax with 2 frames started, all from scratch. I do have a large over-shadowing roof that promotes a draft to exit hot air out the top while shading the whole hive. Even at these temps I've not seen any bearding and they seem to have calmed down( not moody or testy).
 

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Soar, I am in Redding so our temps are usually a few degrees warmer than you and our humidity several % lower. I am a first-year beek so I am not speaking from experience. When choosing the site for my first hive I decided I had to ignore all the advice about putting it in full sun. It just seemed like a recipe for disaster with our hot summers. So, I have my hive on the north side of a deciduous oak. It gets good morning sun and late afternoon sun but is in dappled shade the rest of the day. With the high temps I have a piece of particle board that I prop against the west side of the hive to block the late afternoon sun. In winter the sun will shine through the then leafless oak.

I have the top cover propped up, a 1" hole drilled near the top of the second brood box, and the screened bottom board wide open.

Again, I can't speak from beekeeping experience but after living through 42 hot Redding summers I decided to try to make it as easy as possible on the colony. So far, so good.

Oh, I haven't used it yet but I made a removable roof for the winter rains since they can be extreme too.
 

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I am in the lots of water and ventilation category. I done see over 105 very often, but this combo seems to work. I have quilt boxes on year round, and have occasionally added a shim with lots of 3/8 holes covered in screen for additional ventilation.

The other thing that comes to mind is how much cooler do your nights get? If the nights co not cool down the reduced airflow category with insulation may not work as well.
 

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We had a week long run of 100+ temps a few years ago. Highest was about 106, if my memory serves me. My hives are in full sun. Solid bottoms. There are plenty of natural springs and creeks around. I didn’t have any problems.
 

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I've got 3/4" bottom board beespace, with 2" wide openings to each side, solid bottom boards. On top it's notched inner cover with Tele cover. On the inners I have without notches, I prop the lid up in the back with a 1/4" shim. I think open screen bottom boards make it harder for the bees to keep it cooler inside. Just what I think, no proof, but they do fine with the arrangement listed here in my post.

Before this, I had two inch wide entrance openings to each side of the front board, with a 3/4x3/4 stick in the center.This worked the best, but I just made weak splits so changed them to just one opening on one side for easier guarding by the bees inside. It should be OK if there are enough bees inside to regulate inner environment.
 

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What about adding a screened inner cover with a shallow on top and insulation
 

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Opening the hives up to provide ventilation in high temperatures may actually increase stress. Think of the hive as a biological swamp cooler, the bees establish a coordinated air flow. Opening the hive up may actually diminish that coordinated air flow resulting in them not being able to cool the hives. Also, I posted this in another post... and have attached the references below. High temperatures may result in queens becoming drone layers.

For those intersted in the research papers:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4749221/

https://link.springer.com/article/10... variability.

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/627729v3.full

https://www.beeculture.com/catch-the...ng-identified/
 

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Opening the hives up to provide ventilation in high temperatures may actually increase stress.
I agree with this. Folks on the ventilation side are just as sure that their position is right.
I don't see either side swaying the other.
 

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I would hose down the hives with water occasionally during the heat; many migratory beeks do this when the bees act up, wrapped up inside, generating heat.

Hope this helps.

EB
 

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I agree with this. Folks on the ventilation side are just as sure that their position is right.
I don't see either side swaying the other.
As I see it, both approaches have a problem. If you ventilate, then warm air will leave the hive, only to be replaced by more warm air. Hopefully there is some benefit in that the air entering the hive will be less warm but drier than that being expelled.

If you don't ventilate, then the bees will attempt to cool the hive by evaporating water. When the air inside the hive becomes saturated with water vapour, then they will have no other choice than to expel it, in order to continue with evaporation. But expelling that air will automatically cause warm air to enter the hive as before, in order to replace it.

So - does enhanced ventilation assist the bees - or thwart their efforts ? I'd say assist them - but I'm open to a challenge on this.

FWIW - whenever I've used Slatted Racks, they've eliminated any need for the bees to 'beard' - an action which I've always taken as an indication that a colony has been unable to control their hive's internal temperature, and so have vacated the combs.
LJ
 

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Little John; FWIW - whenever I've used Slatted Racks, they've eliminated any need for the bees to 'beard' - an action which I've always taken as an indication that a colony has been unable to control their hive's internal temperature, and so have vacated the combs.”

Good idea in tandem with some others
 

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soarwitheagles: "Anyone have any other ideas?"

I have both an idea and some accidental test results. I have been keeping 2-inch insulation on my hives since Jan and intend to do so all year. During a heat wave in July I took off the sleeve insulation (5 sided boxes) for painting, white, inside and out. Prior to removing the sleeves the "top of the hive" internal temperatures were stable and the relative humidity amazingly stable. The values ranged between 80-90F, 60to 70% RH typical - day or night time it seems. I had no bare hives monitored to compare - I knew they varied more from prior year. Taking them off to paint for ac couple of days stunned me. On a sunny , blue sky day at 80F - a 34F swing occurred in a hive only exposed to direct sun for part of the day. My monitored hive in direct sun light had a failed sensor, A swing from 79F at 8:00am to 113F at 1:00pm to 88F at 8:00pm was hand recorded. The prior day scared me so I vented the top to learn - it cooled off, slowly, back toward external ambient. I have no top vents on any hive, so I had to roll my inner canvass cover back a bit and lift the temporary old cover to cool an uninsulated hive. With a sunny, 109F day I would be seriously worried but not if I was insulated.

Now I have to plan and buy far more sensors to confirm a lot of things. My sleeves rose with adding supers. Next year I will have spacer sleeve to add on as a hive grows vertically but remain fully insulated. I put the 24-inch deep sleeves back on quickly as we had a long hot spell, daytime 90s and sunny, but not like yours.

Take aways: 1) if your thin-shelled hive is not well insulated in sunny high temperatures insure top ventilation - shielding and reflectors seem smart 2) if you are well insulated, leave it on, no top vent and insure they have water access. Actually the bees are seemingly quieter with insulation on (another effect to investigate). Stick a probe thermometer through the foam if you do not believe it. I use remote sensing weather stations, and dial indicating thermometers, plus one accurate thermocouple to verify internal, top conditions. Comparative data next and 3D profiles all year. I have to verify as to whether Simpson(USDA) ever recorded data in summer and under what conditions.
 

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I use remote sensing weather stations, and dial indicating thermometers, plus one accurate thermocouple to verify internal, top conditions.

Robert, what kind of sensor/transmitter do you use in the hive. I use wireless sensors/transmitters for my greenhouse and outside locations but they are a bit bulky for inside a hive. I have considered just inserting a meat thermometer through a small hole :rolleyes:
 

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FWIW - whenever I've used Slatted Racks, they've eliminated any need for the bees to 'beard'
LJ
I also have slatted racks, and haven't seen much bearding since.

I was wondering though, whether the bees are simply "bearding" inside the hive, on the slats, and simply out of view. They still won't be on the frames.
 
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