The high temperature was close to 80 today and the bees sure knew it! Did you know that bees keep the inside of their hive at about 95 degrees? Toasty! But when you heat your house up to 95 degrees in the morning (when it’s 50 outside) and by 3pm it’s 80 outside–it’s a little hot in there. This is what I saw when I looked outside this afternoon. Can you see the bees?
How about now?
They’re doing what’s called “bearding”. Basically, it’s freakin’ hot and they’re hanging out on the porch to catch some breeze. The bees will also try to fan the hive with their wings to cool things off, but sometimes it’s nice to just get outside for a bit. On a similar note, to heat the hive, the bees shiver their wing muscles–just like we do to warm up when it’s chilly. Here’s the backside/entrance side of the hive.
We positioned the entrances to face our fence so that when the bees fly out, they have to fly up & over the fence so they’re (usually) over people’s heads and no one is in anybody’s way. You can see that they’re also bearding over the entrance holes on the far left. To give them some more ventilation, I pulled the corks out of the remaining 4 hive entrances.
We restrict them down to one entrance in the winter so they don’t lose too much heat, and last fall I closed them down to one entrance because the hive was being robbed by another colony of bees–one entrance is much easier to defend than four. This year the colony is big enough to take up the whole hive, so they now have access to all six entrances for the first time.
Looks like it’s going to start raining again this weekend, but while it’s sunny we are enjoying it!