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Author Topic: Bees grouped at the hive door at night?  (Read 2733 times)
Holycow
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« on: May 13, 2007, 10:56:04 PM »

Howdy folks,
Noticed lately at night there is a crowd of maybe 100 bees or so gathered in a mass right at the "front door" of the hive. When the sun comes up they fly off and do their thing, but at night there is this mass. There is plenty of room inside the hive. Is this a sign of some kind of issue? The hive is afew months old and doing well, 3-ten frame boxes.. bottom two are 2/3 full of brood and honey, top one has one full frame of capped honey. Hives are poly (foam) and bottom board has a screen bottom.  Temps here are in mid to upper 80's in the day and mid 70's at night.
I have afew ideas as to what it might mean, but I want to see what you guys think.
Thanks.
--Jeff
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tillie
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2007, 11:00:49 PM »

Hi Jeff,

Last year (my first year) I worried when I saw that that the bees were about to swarm.  A lot of helpful people on this list told me that it has to do with the temperature and hive ventilation.  Following their advice, I did the following things:

1.  Made sure I had an open screened bottom board on each hive
2.  Propped the top to make a top entrance by placing a stick to raise up the telescoping cover (adds air circulation and gives them a top entrance)
3.  Bought slatted racks for all of my hives (allows the bees to hang out inside the hive rather than on the porch.

The bees on the porch may be out there because the hive is too warm and are there to use their wings to circulate air.  They may also be there simply because their added body heat is making the hive too hot. 

Even with the SBB, slatted rack and top propped in the hottest nights in Hotlanta, they still hang out on the porch but the beard is much smaller than without proper ventilation.

Hope that helps,

Linda T in Atlanta (with thanks to Brian Bray, Michael Bush, and others who helped me on this issue last year)
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2007, 10:08:05 PM »

Tillies recomendation is the best cure for the bearding problem.  I use 2 slatted racks per hive and have little or no bearding.  The 1st is between the SBB and the hive body and the 2nd is used in place of a queen excluder.  I have found the commercially available slatted racks are a little short on function.  The best commercially available one is from betterbee.  The bees will sometimes build burr comb on the undersides of the slats on the commercial ones.  I use dowling the width of the top bar on the frames and then space them the same as the frames are.  The spacing doesn't allow room for burr comb.  The mites, etc., fall down between the slats, through the SBB and out of the hive.  The depth of the rack makes it even harder for the mites to climb far enough back into the to catch new ride on another bee.  The bees can use the racks to get out of the way of the traffic coming and going to the hive and they can also use it as a platform from which to move air through the hive while evaporating the water content of the nectar.
IMO the slatted rack is one of the best tools of the modern beekeeper.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2007, 09:18:27 AM »

>IMO the slatted rack is one of the best tools of the modern beekeeper.

I wouldn't put it in my top five.  But I might put it in my top ten.
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kgbenson
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2007, 09:22:19 AM »

Tillies recomendation is the best cure for the bearding problem. 

I have slatted racks, and like them.  next year I want to try the ones from Betterbee as they run parallel to the frames not perpendicular to them. 

Keith
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Shizzell
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2007, 12:41:23 PM »

Or, (what I do on almost all of my supers)

I drill a hole on the top left on the front of each (Not every one, about every other) super box. The hole is facing the same direction as the bottom board.

I rarely have bearding, supers get filled faster, provides good ventilation without purchasing more equipment, and it provides another entrance other than the bottom board.

Jake
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JMN
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2007, 07:22:34 PM »

Jake, what size hole do you drill and do you cover it with screen or the bees are free to use it for enter/exit?
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jimmyo
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2007, 08:00:32 PM »

I drill a 3/4 inch hole in every box.  There is also a notch in the front of my inner cover.  They use the notch and the holes for access and ventilation. I cover the holes in the fall but leave the notch on top of the inner cover all winter.  It keeps the moisture out.
Jim
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Shizzell
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2007, 01:08:13 PM »

The hole is about an inch in diameter. They are free to come and go. However, I take a metal plate, and put it on a swivel above the hole so I can close it during the winter, open it during the summer, or if the hive is getting robbed a lot. But since about 3 or 4 years of using a hole on every other super I have, it has increased my production of honey by about 50%.

Jake

EDIT: uhm, JMN could I recommend you using a different avatar? Brian uses that avatar as well, and I thought you were Brian.  rolleyes
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2007, 01:12:51 PM »

JMN could I recommend you using a different avatar? Brian uses that avatar as well, and I thought you were Brian.  rolleyes

You didn't know they were twins?  grin
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Shizzell
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2007, 01:14:07 PM »

 huh

afro
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UtahBees
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2007, 04:30:45 PM »


The hole is about an inch in diameter. They are free to come and go. However, I take a metal plate, and put it on a swivel above the hole so I can close it during the winter, open it during the summer, or if the hive is getting robbed a lot. But since about 3 or 4 years of using a hole on every other super I have, it has increased my production of honey by about 50%.


Shizzell -

I have an idea in my mind what that might look like. But would you mind posting a photo for me please?

Much appreciated -

UtahBees
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JMN
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2007, 06:36:21 PM »

Shizzel, I am trying to find something to replace the avatar. however this one fits me to a T, except for the mustage and the hat. grin (I am going to change it).

Joseph
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2007, 06:43:14 PM »

Shizzel, I am trying to find something to replace the avatar. however this one fits me to a T, except for the mustage and the hat. grin (I am going to change it).

Joseph

You should use a pic of yourself or your family.  Gives us a better idea of who we're talking to.  My 1 and a half year old was walking around the yard the other day wearing my hat and vale.  Had to use that as my avatar.  Smiley

Sean Kelly
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Shizzell
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2007, 09:17:08 AM »



The rectangles above the circle are the plates of metal that can be swiveled around if i want to close the hole or not.

Jake
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UtahBees
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2007, 10:10:05 AM »

Fantastic! I'll be trying that out when I can add a super onto my recently hived colony.

Thanks for the diagram!

UtahBees
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2007, 05:42:23 PM »

JMN,

The avatar fits me to a T too.  I have the mustache and wear the hat with my veil.  I'm never without my cane.
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