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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been fascinated by how many are showing pictures of bearding. I would've thought given FL temps/humidity that I would see bearding, but I have not. Nor do I have the upper entrance holes open. I've been trying not to outguess the bees -- if they are still in the hive, still foraging, and still producing brood, that I should just leave be. I did move my follower board all the way to the back several weeks ago so there is the full 44" inside available, and the bees are often spread out over the inside of the hive, so I'm thinking that is the cooling-down strategy. Of the three entrances that are open, two are on bottom, one is on top, and when I place my hand next to the top exit, I can feel a cool breeze coming out!

But their mood has taken a turn for the worst, at least relative to what they were like a month ago. Because of the heat, I've been doing morning inspections, and they seem to seriously dislike this. On both occasions, they've come barreling out when I get to the brood area, flinging themselves at the head netting. Not mean, exactly (I can walk away 10 ft, and in a few moments, they return to the hive), but certainly far less gentle than they used to be. Maybe they're not morning bees? Maybe it's dearth? Maybe the new queen is casting less gentle offspring? I can still sit directly outside the hive in the evening, and the bees don't care. They are not happy with drones, still -- I watched at least 6 get taken down last night (1 inside the hive!). A local member encouraged feeding, but then said not to...not sure what to think about that! But I stopped feeding as the last time I looked, they had at least two bars of capped honey, and another filled with nectar/pollen. I think the last bar I looked at on Saturday was filled with brood from top to bottom, but by that time, there were so many bees flying at me, I decided it was a better idea to close up. This is really the first time this has happened, and I was a bit freaked out:eek:.

In case you're wondering, I pull out one bar at a time, sometimes set the bar on the inspection stand if want/need a picture, and place an empty bar or piece of wood over the bar space -- they usually stay very calm, but this time, they came broiling out of the hole about 4 bars in from the back. Also, smoking doesn't seem to have much effect at all...yes, it will drive some on top of the bars back down, but not all, and it seems to have little effect otherwise. Could be that I'm not smoking correctly -- I use those little smoke sticks from Mann lake on their own or set atop the smoker with dried grass, leaves. Puff in the entrance, puff in the back, hang out for a minute. Still doesn't seem to have much effect!
 

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well newbie here so take what I have to say with a grain of salt. In florida we are going thru a dearth of nectar bloom,meaning the bees dont have anything to go out to harvest and that puts them A in a bad mood....all they can do is hang around the hive and B very protective of what they have stored. I expierenced the same thing. kinda like watching your sweet innocent daughter grow up and become a woman with all the moods! Mine went from gentle, dont need no stinkin gloves to thank gawd i have them!! Put on your best protection and work them if needed. I've havent gone into the depths of the brood area....kinda leaving that alone and just monitoring the honey up top and making sure they have enough to eat. Battling the SHB and making sure my oil traps are still in action. First year nucs so not looking to harvest honey.....just making sure they have the beginnings to wingter over down here. Good luck with tha ladies. They do say the best time to work your bees are around high noon to 2PM. Your correct in that bees arent morning friendly but then again...dont let that stop you if thats YOUR best time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, Santa Caras! The local club members also mentioned we're moving into the summer dearth, and I've got to get SHB traps into the hive. They also mentioned an exterior solution from Peter Teal involving rotting cantaloupe rinds, a bucket, and screen to keep the bees out. I'm not looking to harvest honey either -- so, I'll stick with observing through the window for the next few weeks! They had a couple bars of capped honey, so I hope that gets them through. The debate on feeding is driving me a bit batty, with the same people flip-flopping on the recommendation. Given that it's my first (and only) hive, the maternal desire to feed the poor babies is nearly overwhelming -- lol!

Love the comment on daughters -- mine is nearly 14, and morphing before my eyes!
 

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I have noticed a significant difference in the welcome I get depending on the time of day. I work until 6 pm and have had to go out in early evening to change feeding jars...and been attacked like a Biblical plague. But then I go out at about noon to the same hives and I'm barely noticed. In the noon and afternoon hours most of the cranky, old foragers are out of the house, with only the young naïve nurse bees holding the fort. The nurse bees are pre-occupied with babysitting so don't take much notice - it's not their job, so to speak. Wait until the weekend if you don't have the time during the week to out in the early afternoon - see if it makes a difference. Aside from that, if the dearth is on, then the foragers are bored, nothing to do and nowhere to go and even crankier than usual so it might be best to leave the hive be as much as possible.
 
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