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Hi All,

I have three hives (four with a recent anemic swarm capture that I think is queenless), and the population of two of them exploded early and they swarmed before I could do anything about it. Those two hives are slowly recovering and the third hive is doing very well but bearding like absolute crazy. I have Flow hives with two 8-frame deeps below a queen excluder and the honey super, so they should have plenty of room. Here's a photo. I know bearding on hot days is normal -- it was 90+ degrees on this day and the hive was in the sun -- but I'm worried. Can anyone tell from this photo if this is normal bearding or swarm prep? I'm going to open it up to check things out but won't have time until the weekend.

Many thanks in advance -- it's been years since I've kept bees and I wasn't much good at it then, either.

Bearding.jpg
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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yes i would be worried
due to the season...
I would add ventilation
add space

do the first then if no help do the second, as well look inside to see if they are swarm prepping.

Likely they are out of space and hot so work on those things

GG
 

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Understood, thanks. I agree -- that just looks like something isn't right. Any suggestions for adding ventilation to a Flow hive?
for my hives depending on size and temps I would raise the lid and put from Popsicle stick thickness to 1/2 inch under the 2 long sides to prop up the lid and allow heat out. If you have a tight fitting lid this may not help much. Also more than bee space can become an entrance, either for the bees to use or for robbing, So initially maybe lees than bee size space would be a good start.

One could also make a "rim" say 3 or 4 inch square same size as the hive like 16.xx x 20.xx inches, staple window screen to one side, the bottom, drill several holes. 1/2 or 5/8 in the sides and ends to also allow heat up and out.
Stay smaller with holes, than mice and birds use :)

something like this
google "beehive rim spacer", screen it or the bees will build comb up there, but it needs to be air flow capable. And somewhat critter proof

GG

I do not have flow so Am not 100% on how the top of that looks.
 

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Adding just a slab of styrofoam on the top could very well make difference.
Try it.
Very easy try and often very effective.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Got it, will give both of those a try. I also just realized that I never took the plug out of the inner cover (I have mine screened) which can't be helping. I'll take the top off and remove that as soon as I get home tonight.

Out of curiosity, what would the styrofoam do? I've used it in the winter for insulation, but not the summer.
 

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Bearding is not something to be that alarmed about IF your bees have adequate room inside. I am not a member of the super ventilators. One entrance allows the bees to set up proper airflow to clear hot air out of the colony, much as you do not open up several windows to "help" your AC unit. Just make sure you have room inside for the bees even though they are demonstrating they are not needed and choose the cooler outside and keep their metabolic heat from adding to heat inside.
 

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Got it, will give both of those a try. I also just realized that I never took the plug out of the inner cover (I have mine screened) which can't be helping. I'll take the top off and remove that as soon as I get home tonight.

Out of curiosity, what would the styrofoam do? I've used it in the winter for insulation, but not the summer.
Remember, the insulation works both ways.
If your roof is hot to the touch and not much insulation under/over it - that is not good and highly undesirable and your bees will protest it.

Top insulation is good to have year-around, it is not a seasonal thing.
Nothing about ventilation/non-ventilation in the top insulation.
Typically you want insulation built-in into your tops.
 

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I also don't provide upper ventilation. I do have slatted racks and did see a difference with them. It would not worry me with out them. I am too new to know but lean towards vance's answer.
Cheers
gww
 

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That is not crazy bearding to me. My hives have had that up the front and both sides during this heat wave. I know mine have plenty of space,so I don't get too worried. I did put a stick under the outer cover of the worst hive and it helped. Try that. J
 

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how about removing the QE, are they in the top box at all?
That would be my question too;) In my limited experience with Flow Hive frames (especially if they have never stored honey), the hive did not recognize the flow frames as space to store nectar, although they were up there checking them out), so they swarmed..
 

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I really don’t see this as anything to get too worried about. I see this every summer on my larger double deeps when temps get above 85 or 90, especially when humidity rises and the flow is tailing off. I like sitting on the front porch during the hot summer too, especially in the evenings.
 
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