Can anyone explain this behavior?
The video isn't too good (sorry; I don't know how to work the camera properly), but the bees are all bunched up on the entrance board. At a few points they're crawling over each other. Are they fighting? I don't know what that looks like, but what I see looks relatively mild.
I'm a relatively new beek (2nd year) in central Mass. I have 2 hives; this behavior is occurring in the stronger one. At the other hive-- which I'm feeding now-- things are normal. But there's definitely some excitement at this hive.
This hive has 13-14 good full frames, excellent brood pattern. From a nuc that I hived in early May. The state inspector was just here last week and thought it looked strong and healthy, so it's not just my beginner's opinion.
We've had lots of rain recently, and not much foraging. Yesterday, when I noticed this behavior beginning, it was warm and humid-- maybe ventilation could be an issue?-- but it was the first day in a while that the bees could forage. Last night I checked this hive after dark, and the bees were crowded on the entrance board-- relatively calm, although there was still a bit of a buzz. It's just starting raining again this morning-- shortly after I took the video-- and the crowd has dispersed.
I'd suspect robbing, but:
- why wouldn't robbers go for the weaker hive?
- I don't see any flights around the hive; all the action is right at the front door
- I don't see bees scuttling back and forth sideways looking for openings
- I don't see any dead bees, nor bees on the ground around the hive
- they aren't at all aggressive-- didn't bother me at all when I leaned over to take this video
- it's not getting more (or less) intense: about the same level of activity for a day now
Can anyone enlighten me? Thanks.
Hi,When bees from an other hive tries to get in an other one to rob,the guards of the hive will attack and kill the robbers.
The reason for this is.
Why are there bees on the outside of my hive?
Typically beekeepers call this bearding because it often looks like the hive has a beard. Causes are heat, congestion and lack of ventilation. Make sure they have room and ventilation and don't worry about it.
Bees bearding is like people sweating. It's what bees do when they are hot.
It's good to cover the bases and then accept it. If you were sweating you'd take what steps were reasonable (turn on the fan, open the window, take off your sweater, drink lots of water) and then you'd accept that it's just hot.
With the bees, make sure they have top and bottom ventilation, (open the bottom entrance, remove the tray if you have a SBB, prop open the top box, slide a super back to make a gap) make sure they have enough room (put supers on as needed) and don't worry about it. Bearding is not proof they are about to swarm. It's proof they are hot. I think lack of ventilation contributes to an "overcrowding swarm" but it's not the only cause and it's nothing to be concerned about if you've taken care of the bees having ventilation and room.