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Author Topic: Bearding at Night?  (Read 696 times)
xipetotec
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Location: Portland, Or


« on: May 10, 2013, 02:08:56 AM »

My swarm that I caught a couple days ago is in its new top bar hive and seems to be going OK.  The only strange thing I'm seeing is that its bearding at night.  Currently its 64F here in Portland at 11pm and there is a small cluster over the entrance.  I looked through a window in the hive to see if I could see any comb and the cluster inside is probably just at, if not over half the size of the hive.  Do they need more space?
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BlueBee
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Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 03:11:10 AM »

It’s about 64F here tonight too.  A cold blast of Canadian rain is due tonight to drop out temps by some 30F.  My bottom entrance heat bubble bees are breading like crazy.  I just hope they get back inside before they are washed away in the cold rain.   

It doesn’t sound like you need more space, but the bees seem to be too warm, or maybe undecided rather to stay.  What is anchoring the swarm?  Combs?  Honey?  Brood?  A hive that is only half full of bees should not be bearding in 64F weather. 

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beek1951
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Location: La Grange, Fayette County, Texas


« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 12:09:11 PM »

With swarms, it is altogether possible they are getting ready to bu out.
Many swarms will not be satisfied with your choice of accommodations and
gather in a cluster prior to moving on. Is your bottom covered, is there wax
on your bars, do you have a piece of queen excluder stapled over the entrance?
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xipetotec
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Location: Portland, Or


« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 03:16:12 PM »

This morning the beard was gone, so I'm of the opinion that it probably has to do with temperature.  There is some comb in the hive for sure as I saw it when I was moving the bars to the hive from the swarm trap, also a lot of the bars had wax on them.  This morning I observed a number of foragers bringing in pollen so I don't think they're about to abscond.
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BlueBee
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Location: Mid Michigan


« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 10:09:22 PM »

My beard wasn’t so lucky. Sad  We got a cold blast of Canadian rain and it soaked the beard of bees; probably 2000 bees.  A bunch fell off the hive, into the grass and died.  The rest were like wet mutts that were barely alive.  I scooped them into a oven pan and put them in the oven for about 15 minutes.  That dried them off and brought them back to life. applause    

Word to the wise, don’t let your hive get so warm that they stay outside in the freezing rain.  Make whatever design changes you need (like a top vent).

If I get time, I might start a new thread with photos of how to bake bees in the oven for 15 minutes to bring them back to life.  grin    
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JWChesnut
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 11:15:04 PM »

Check for tracheal mites using the dissection method. Or treat with menthols prophylactically. 
 Bearding in cold weather is often a sign of tracheal parasites. You end of killing off the hive through attrition.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2013, 12:22:14 AM »

JWChesnut, that is interesting to know.  In my case though, I’m pretty sure it was the thermal design of the hive.  I am running super insulated (40 to 50mm thick polystyrene) homemade hives here (in cold Michigan) and they can easily overheat if prudent design precautions are not taken.  This bearding problem happens all the time in my “heat bubble” design hives whereas it never happens in my top entrance hives.  The bees seem to have a whole lot more trouble preventing the heat bubble designs from overheating.
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sterling
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Location: mt juliet tn


« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2013, 06:01:19 PM »

JWChesnut, that is interesting to know.  In my case though, I’m pretty sure it was the thermal design of the hive.  I am running super insulated (40 to 50mm thick polystyrene) homemade hives here (in cold Michigan) and they can easily overheat if prudent design precautions are not taken.  This bearding problem happens all the time in my “heat bubble” design hives whereas it never happens in my top entrance hives.  The bees seem to have a whole lot more trouble preventing the heat bubble designs from overheating.

Maybe you should modify you homemade design. shocked
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UptonOGoode
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Location: Vancouver (VanSterdam), WA

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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 10:13:09 AM »

Vancouver, WA area (Lat 45.9 N 122.7 W; elevation 167 feet)
July 4, 2013
Actual high 75 degrees. Actual low 51 degrees
Actual humidity 63 (range: 46 to 86).

In preparation for a few days of 90 to 100 degrees F weather earlier this month, I changed all of my inner covers to double-screened inner covers (15 inches by 12 inches), and opened up the back access panel of my screened IPM bottom boards (2 inches by 12 inches) to give my colonies plenty of ventilation.  Early this morning, two robust colonies (2 brood box, 1 super) had beards.  The low overnight was 51 degrees, and temperature when I was out there was 56 degrees.  (I did not measure internal hive temperature.)

Of my 15 hives, the two hives with beards were the ones in which I also had propped up the outer cover by about an inch.

Is it possible the bees are bearding to WARM the hive (by blocking the front entrance airflow (the only gap they can actually control) and not to COOL it?
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Learning from beekeeping mistakes since 2007.
15 colonies, carniolan and local hybrids.
10 frame, Langstroth hives
Home-made IPM screened bottom boards.
Home-made double-screened inner covers.
Local beekeeping shop: Ruhl Bee Supply
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