Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Bees pluggin up the front & Queen outside the hive!

1288 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  hoke
Got a couple of questions. This April, I captured a nice large swarm and put them in a 10 frame deep. They’ve been doing great the last few months. About a month ago, I added another deep, as they had the bottom deep almost full. I also added a screened inner cover (days get pretty hot here in Ok.) I also have screened bottom boards. Last weekend, I noticed that the bees were actually plugging up most of the front entrance with their bodies. Not covering the whole front….just plugging up the full opening, with the exception of a small place in the corner where the workers were continually going in and out. My hives (3) are on stands….maybe 3’ off the ground. I also happened to notice that there was a queen on the front of the stand. No other bees around her. She was actually a few inches under the lip of the hive, away from the other bees. I gently picked her up and placed her in front of the hive and she promptly made her way into the hive. Don’t know if she was “the” queen….but the workers seemed ok with her going into the hive.
Now for the questions. Was this possibly a virgin queen back from a mating flight…or what the heck is going on with her? Ha
Second question is that since I added a screened inner cover….is this possibly pulling in too much hot air and causing the bees to block the entrance? It was only about 95° that day. I’ve only had bees for 3 years now so I’m pretty much clueless as to what’s going on. Ha Past that….the new hive seems to be doing great. We have about 2 acres of blooming Vitex now, along with a fair amount of catnip….so the girls aren’t hurting for food.

1 - 5 of 5 Posts
"Only 95°"

95 is really hot where I live. Anything over 85 and the bees like to hang outside and cool off. I would re-evaluate your ventilation situation. Do you prop up the outer cover?

IMO I think those telescoping covers suck. The bees build all kinds of crap on the inner cover, and they don't ventilate well. Migratory cover with a vent works great.
sounds like you have toooo much ventilation. An fully open entrace with a small top vent is plenty, the screened inner and outer cover is too much imo, actually makes regulating the internal temperature more difficult. Bees like to be confined. I typically like to put hives in places that recieve full morning sun and part shade in the afteroon. I would close of the bottom with an inspection board, and remove the top screened cover while still maining a small top vent and normal entrance size. Observe what they do.

Unlike tanks, I prefer telescoping outer covers. They do ventilate just fine when the outer cover is not sealed to the inner cover. I've never had any problems with them building all kinds of "crap" on the inner cover.

When bees hang out is a function of flow, populations size, brood size, and humidity, not just temperature alone. Even in hot weather, if there is a flow, the bees won't be hanging out. When there is nothing to forage is often when bees hang out.

Keep on observing, you'll learn alot.
See less See more
Welcome to Beesource!

> I also added a screened inner cover (days get pretty hot here in Ok.) I also have screened bottom boards.

That is likely to result in a lot of airflow, and interfere with the bees efforts to cool the hive.
Bees want to maintain their brood nest temperature at 93-94 degrees F. When the outside temperature is higher than that they haul water to cool the brood area via evaporation (sort of like a swamp cooler in a house). If there is a constant flow of hot air (higher than 93 degrees) through the SBB, that open SBB is working against the bees efforts.

I suggest that if you want to continue with screened bottoms, either keep the sticky/count board in place, or modify the screened bottom board to have an enclosed oil tray below the screen.
Thanks for the replies. I agree…think the screened top boards have to go. Reason I tried them is that my Dad has one old style hive with the bottom nailed on. The screened top board seems to help those bees just fine. So, thought I give it a try on my other hives. I was having condensation problems on my standard inner covers and thought, for the summer, more ventilation is better. Never stopped to think that this could be like opening all your windows….with the air conditioning on!
Still wondering why I had a queen outside….and particularly, a queen with no other bees around her.

Thanks again for the input!

1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.