Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bee Bearding Observations

Why do honeybees sit out on the porch doing nothing? This is commonly called "bearding". This is not the kind of bee bearding that Wikipedia describes when people "wear" a swarm of bees as a beard. No, this is when they hang-out on the outside of the hive. Most sources say this is because they are hot or croweded in the hive. Take a look at the two photos below:

The top photo was taken June 25th when it was mid-70s F. The bottom one was taken July 10th when it was 99 F. What is the difference?

Both hives have the same ventilation. The hive on the right seems about the same. The hive on the left is bearding much more in the second photo. This started only after we harvested the honey last week from the live on the left. We took two full supers, left one that wasn't quite ready and added an empty one. Perhaps they are simply too crowded now? Perhaps there is some other explanation? Perhaps they are unemployed and don't have any jobs to do at the moment?

We don't know, we are only the humans trying trying to learn how to take care of these colonies. Maybe I'll add another super to the one on the left and see if that helps get them back to work.


2-Wheeler said...

Update: After further examination the conclusion is the bees are washboarding. See the more recent post.

thomas greene said...

this is caused by bees having nothing to do it is like people on a hot day sitting on the porch

2-Wheeler said...

Thanks for stopping by Thomas. Yes perhaps it is like teenage boys during summer vacation loaded with lots of sugar - they just can't sit still. But they must have been busy, looking back we had our most productive season ever that summer, with over 320 lbs of honey from just these two hives.

Madeleine said...

I hope someone can answer this for bees are bearding and it is 46o outside, wet and rainy. I thought they only did this in the heat. Does anyone know whats wrong or not wrong?