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Author Topic: Bearding - preventing it with ventilation. Pix included.  (Read 1953 times)
JRH
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« on: July 18, 2012, 09:10:57 AM »

Even here in Vermont we are having some days in the 90s.  When I see bearding, my in-the-hive thermometers generally show temperatures of 110-115, considerably more than ideal.

The pix in the photo album show a hive just beginning to beard - no top ventilation other than a small top entrance in the inner cover and an entrance reducer with a 3" opening.  After installation of the top vent pieces and removal of the entrance reducers, bearding stops almost immediately.  Temperature inside goes back down to the low 90s.

I hate it when my bees waste their time bearding when there are more productive things they could be doing for me.

See the pix here:

http://www.photoshop.com/users/jeff_hills/albums/395e701c6f654af1ac5a22642ff673e2
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 01:40:27 PM »

Interesting report.  I wondered how hot it gets inside a hive.  115F!  Wow.  

If itís getting that hot inside, it makes me wonder about something else.  I recall reading some reports/posts on here about temperatures in the 115F range killing mites.  I wonder if all this heat weíve been having will have some positive impact on killing mites?

Weíve been running 10 to 20F above normal most of this summer here in Michigan.  We hit 100F yesterday Sad  A more average and wonderful 74F today Smiley  My bees are all in super insulated foam hives and the bearding hasn't been too bad until it goes over about 94F here.  Iím not using any ventilation, but that is more because Iíve been too busy to add it.  I suspect it would be a good idea to add some.  I would sure like to get some temperature readings inside my foam hives if/when time permits.
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JRH
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 04:30:26 PM »

I have several $9.95 indoor/outdoor thermometers that I keep in hives.  I just drop the outdoor probe four or five inches down through the hole in the inner cover.  Top center.  Right where the cluster goes in the dead of winter.  I keep the thermometer in a Tupperware container under the hive stand.

I see temperatures in the 90s when outside temperatures are in the 50s.  Temperatures of 50 degrees above the outside temperature are the norm in the winter.  Anybody who says the cluster doesn't give off heat has no experience with a thermometer in the hive.

Try a ventilator like the one pictured.  Easy to make.  Interesting to use because the screened top let's you check your bees without letting them come out and inspect you.

Seems to me that if they're spending energy trying to cool an unventilated hive, they're not nursing young bees or foraging or doing anything productive.  Screened bottom boards may be helpful, but you need air flow and you can't get that if there's no top ventilation.  High temperatures might be helpful in killing mites, but do high temperatures disturb brood development?  Clearly the bees don't want temperatures over 100 or they wouldn't be bearding.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 03:18:21 PM by JRH » Logged
derekm
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 06:38:03 PM »

have you tried insulation to prevent bearding? .. on wooden hives there is severe heat input from the sun.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
JRH
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 09:12:59 AM »

I don't think insulation prevents bearding.  I think it promotes it.  Ventilation (you need both top and bottom) prevents bearding because it creates airflow.  As I said in my post and show in the pictures, temperatures go down right after ventilation goes on, and the bearding stops.
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BrentX
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 06:36:46 PM »

Is bearding bad?   

Seems a sure indication that the hive has enough bees.  My strong hives beard from morning well into evening this time of year.  I have seen no disruption of brood that can be attributed to bearding, but when the flow slows so do the queens.  Not a very scientific approach. 

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BlueBee
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 06:43:12 PM »

Most of my bees are in polystyrene foam hives, but I did run out of foam hives this spring and had to put some swarms in wood hives.  I havenít measured the temps like Jeff, but my wood hived bees do beard more in the heat of the day while my foam hives beard more at night.  There seems to be about a 6 hour thermal time constant in my foam hives.  They seem to reach peak temps after dark; say 11pm.

The foam should definitely retain heat inside as Jeff says, but on the other hand it also blocks the solar heat radiation from getting into the hive in the first place as Derekm suggests.   
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JRH
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 08:17:35 PM »

No need to speculate about this.  Get a thermometer - get some top ventilation if you don't already have it - and see for yourself.
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JRH
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 11:52:11 AM »

Note to Bluebee - I agree about insulating the top year 'round.  I use the standard "telescoping" cover with a sheet metal top either unpainted or painted white.  UNDER the top goes a piece of 2" foam insulation with a coroplast (political sign material) laminated on the bottom (bee side) surface to prevent chewing.  In my view an uninsulated metal top would encourage the formation of condensation inside the hive in winter and overheating in the summer.
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derekm
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2012, 03:56:54 PM »

Most of my bees are in polystyrene foam hives, but I did run out of foam hives this spring and had to put some swarms in wood hives.  I havenít measured the temps like Jeff, but my wood hived bees do beard more in the heat of the day while my foam hives beard more at night.  There seems to be about a 6 hour thermal time constant in my foam hives.  They seem to reach peak temps after dark; say 11pm.

The foam should definitely retain heat inside as Jeff says, but on the other hand it also blocks the solar heat radiation from getting into the hive in the first place as Derekm suggests.   

my hives are shiny ally foil covered foam...

wood hives in the sun feel hot to the hand when you touch them.

ally foil covered(un painted)  foam feels cool.

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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
beeghost
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2012, 12:32:41 AM »

I run ventilated inner covers and have never seen bearding on my hives here in CA where the temps have been hitting over 100 this year. I kept them on this past winter and had no problems either although it was a mild winter. I truly think it helps in honey drying as well as air can be circulated right out the top as I have seen the bees fanning air out the top.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 07:10:05 AM »

Even if you reduce bearding, and get all those bees inside the hive, that does not mean they are doing anything productive in there. The bees that beard are the ones that are just hanging around anyway. Bees spend ~50% of their time just hanging around. When it gets hot, they just spend that time outside the hive to reduce temp inside.
So while reducing bearding may make you feel better, I don't think it makes your hive more productive.
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derekm
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2012, 06:13:55 PM »

Most of my bees are in polystyrene foam hives, but I did run out of foam hives this spring and had to put some swarms in wood hives.  I havenít measured the temps like Jeff, but my wood hived bees do beard more in the heat of the day while my foam hives beard more at night.  There seems to be about a 6 hour thermal time constant in my foam hives.  They seem to reach peak temps after dark; say 11pm.

The foam should definitely retain heat inside as Jeff says, but on the other hand it also blocks the solar heat radiation from getting into the hive in the first place as Derekm suggests.   

no bearding even with solid insulated floors and bottom only entrance @32c full sunlight
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
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