If you are friends with me on Facebook, you might have noticed Rick posting that our bees were swarming. However, I am happy to report, the bees weren’t swarming after all. They were bearding.
Honey bees regulate the temperature of their hive pretty well. In the winter they use their wings and bodies to keep the hive warm and in the summer they keep it cool by fanning their wings. If it is really hot, they cool the hive by fanning their wings to create air currents that evaporate water droplets. And if it’s just burning up, the adult bees go outside to cool themselves and get the hive temp to drop so the brood (the baby bees) don’t end up honey roasted.
Bearding happens when the bee hive is either too full or too hot, or sometimes both. It is typical bee behavior in the last summer. But I know for a fact that our hive is full, and this weekend was pretty hot, so the bees spent a few evenings on the outside of the hive cooling down.
Here they are at 8:00 pm last night. See them all around the entrance:
And here is the hive at 8:00ish this morning.
Last night I took a video. Video is not my forte, but I thought it was really cool. Bear with the shakiness of the camera. I just got back from a three day road trip to help my sister move and Cora didn’t sleep the entire trip, so neither did I. In other words, look past the crappy film job.
Again, we are bee amateurs… very much beginners. But I wanted to share as we learn too. I’m excited that on Wednesday, a friend is coming to help me harvest honey. It will be our first time; I hope to get lots of pictures of that process! And I actually think the bees will be happy to have a little more wiggle room in the hive.
In the mean time, here is some good info about bee bearding and bee swarming.