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Is my hive bearding?

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Guard Bee

Joined: 06 Dec 2013
Posts: 88
Location: Poznań, Poland

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:58 am    Post subject: Is my hive bearding? Reply with quote

I guess I should have taken a photo...

Yesterday was 34C in London, and my hive was baking in the afternoon sun.

Te front board, where the entrance is, was shaded and it was covered with bees. Not like in last days where there ware maybe 30-50 waiting to go in but literally covered with them, in thick layer. Some bees were even forming chains, holding each other between hive legs. I've checked again at 11pm, it was dark but still hot and bees were still there.

I've read some and it is called bearding. It was described as good sign of healthy and strong colony. It can be caused by bees to regulate hive temp (keep it cool) or/and lack of space. Both were true for my colony. Day was absolutely hot and the bees were building on the last 3 available bars. But today, first time ever I could not see the other wall through the observation window, just bees and comb and brace comb.

So this morning at 7am I've checked again. Bearding bees were gone (hopefully inside). Lots of traffic at the entrances, not much pollen on the legs so I guess all of them were carrying nectar? I've opened the hive, slide the follower board back (almost completely sealed to walls with propolis) and inserted 3 more top bars. Bees were so docile and busy that no single one flew out through the gap when I was doing this.

Now I'm at 18 bars. 12 fully built, 3 in progress and 3 empty. Is that a good progress?

Lukasz - Friendliest gardener in E14
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Scout Bee

Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happens all the time here in hot weather. Bearding is common in hot weather.

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New Bee

Joined: 14 Apr 2015
Posts: 9
Location: Frankfurt/Germany

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the same thing on my Warré Hives the last days. We had extremly hot weather (over 40°C). Bearding lasted through the night until there was a sudden drop in temperature. Next morning it was only about 20°C. Hive appeared cleanly shaved again Smile
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bearding and swarming are not always linked but overcrowding is a cause of both and therefore one often leads to another.

I appreciate that you have given them extra bars Luk but I would not be surprised if they swarm soon. I gave a swarm to a friend on 22nd May and they swarmed themselves yesterday. If there is a good nectar flow and conditions are favourable, they will do it. It might be worth checking for queen cells if you get the chance and certainly keep an eye open for a swarm emerging.
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