Daily Archives: 18 July 2012

Bees, Bearding

I continue to admire my bees’ industry. The bees continue to behave. They must be happier as they leave us alone. When Howard cut the grass last week, a few flew into him when he crossed their flight path, but no one linger or chased or stung.

As spring unfolded into summer, a wide array of flowers has been in bloom. I’ve been hyperaware of pollinators in my garden this year. Every time I spot some motion among the flowers, I check to see who is gathering pollen or nectar. Happily, native pollinators are alive and well. The bumblebee population seems healthy, or at least, highly visible.

However, I have had limited sightings of honeybees on my flowers. It’s surprising because thousands of them are residing right in the yard. Well, I am happy to report that I finally spotted some honeybees on flowers in my yard. The purple coneflowers (Echinacea) seem to be popular for the honeybees as I’ve made multiple sightings on the distinctive heads of these flowers. Very exciting!

We’ve been having a little heat wave, again. The bees keep the temperature inside hive quite warm (for my taste). Normally it’s in the low to mid-nineties. When it’s extra hot, the bees try to keep the hive from overheating. Too hot could kill the brood.

A Hot Night

The way they try to regulate the temperature looks a little scary. It’s called bearding, and to the uninformed, it could like they are ready to swarm. Fortunately, I saw pictures in one of my beekeeping books, so I remained calm when I saw this happen. This will typically happen in the evening as all the bees return home for the night. The more bees inside the hive, the warmer it will be, kind of like when you are in a crowded place. Bees are hanging out outside the hive to reduce the population inside which, in turn, makes the inside temperature less hot than it would otherwise be. In addition, the bees may be fanning to help with ventilation. By morning, the bees usually have gone back into the hive or off to do their daily work.

If the weather cooperates, I’m planning another hive inspection this weekend. I want to check what’s going on inside. I’ll let you know next week how it goes.