Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Super hot here (Mid Michigan--95 F and no wind) for the last two days--pretty heavy bearding.

My northern hive is doing something strange this afternoon. Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSmInKkU70g&feature=youtu.be

They've spread out and covered the bottom board and the face of the hive and nearly every bee is rocking or sweeping back and forth as shown above. A very few are fanning at the entrance.

What's the deal?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
They are washboarding. It’s like bee line dancing. No one really knows what they are doing. Cleaning the hive? Polishing? Bored? Practicing cleaning? I dunno, but it’s neat to watch.

We have several hives doing it now. Some hives are just bearding and some are washboarding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
I just noticed the behavior yesterday. Big clump of bees hanging out under the hive and under plant leaves near the hive. Doing the jiggle.

I opened the screen bottom board up, something I had meant to do earlier. The bees were in heavy beard mode the day before on 2 hives. One has a SBB I had made that is quite tight when closed off. The hive with the SBB open seemed normal with no bearding. The hive with SBB propolized shut (tried to pull the closeout but couldn't) is also bearding so I will change it out with an open screen today. I also pulled the entrance reducers. Supposed to be in the 90's all week. Added supers to the bearding hives.

To me it doesn't make sense to allow bearding if possible, because the bees aren't doing any work. I'd rather have them keep busy. There are some exceptions to this of course, like when you make a cell builder hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,086 Posts
Trin, I don't think that the bees are not working because it is too hot. If it were cooler, they would be in the hive essentially not working. They are bearding to cool off the hive.
Some believe bearding is a sign that they are about to swarm. I have not noticed this with my bearding hives but do believe there is a kernel of truth to it. Bearding can indicate overpopulation,especially of older bees. If they have nothing to do, perhaps they are satisfied with the status of their stores and are about to move on. J
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,186 Posts
If they are a bunch of bored foragers, it might also indicate it's time to take some honey. Harvest a few frames then return them to be cleaned and refilled. that will keep those idle workers busy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,558 Posts
Looking over posts in this thread makes me think many users will be guessing whether SBB means solid bottom board or screened bottom board. This has come up before. Maybe it makes no difference anyways so any confusion about terms wont change the outcome.;)
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top