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Offline smallswarm

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Cell cleaners outside
« on: May 25, 2007, 07:51:14 AM »
I have cell cleaners cleaning the outside of their hive box. If you click on my web link icon, you can see a video of them. The little sweeper bees are on the left side of the image. Is this normal hygiene?

Offline amymcg

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2007, 08:26:01 AM »
I'm in the middle of a HUGE download so I can't load your video, but it sounds like typical behavior. It's also called washboarding

Offline tillie

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2007, 08:47:02 AM »
That's a lot of bees to be clumped on the outside of your hive in the day time.  I don't even see beards that big at night. 

I'm not experienced enough, but if my hive looked like that I'd panic that they were about to swarm.....more experienced people will tell you better, though.

Linda T a novice when it comes to clumping bees in Atlanta
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Offline Mici

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2007, 08:55:27 AM »
just some bored bees.

Offline smallswarm

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2007, 10:17:34 AM »
That's a lot of bees to be clumped on the outside of your hive in the day time.

They have been like that for many weeks. I kept thinking they were going to swarm any day, but every day they would all be gone foraging by noon.

This proves that there is nothing wrong with 'beards' which I will from here on call entrance festoons. In fact, a strong healthy hive should look like this. It shows that they really love and care for their home, and that the honey bees really enjoy festooning.

One of the big problems I see with bee keepers is that they constantly infantilize the colony-organism, but that's another subject.

Offline tillie

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2007, 10:34:47 AM »
I have seen "festooning" used to describe bees hanging off of each other on the outside of the hive. 

More often, I think "festooning" refers to the way bees hang from each other in the process of making wax comb....inside the hive, hanging from frame top bars or starter strips.

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2007, 11:10:58 AM »
If I find them bearding on the outside, I look at ways to improved ventilation and/or add some space.  This usually resolves it.  I consider it a sign of either overcrowding or lack of ventilation or just a very hot day.

I like to see that on a cell starter when queen rearing. :)
Michael Bush
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Offline smallswarm

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 10:50:30 AM »
Why does everybody think entrance festoons are a problem? The bees know what a problem is. How many trees do you know of that have ventilation? I see my bees working overtime to seal up any crack, anywhere, even on the outside. What you are doing by propping up the lid and all that is inviting disease. Same with adding space. Sorry to preach, but you guys push your bees way to hard. This stress on them lowers their immune system, and that's why you get real problems. Festooning is not a problem. If it truly were, they would swarm.

I have seen no varoa, and only one small hive beetle in the last 6 months. They were chasing it around on the entrance board.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2007, 02:30:43 PM »
>Why does everybody think entrance festoons are a problem?

Because when I provide enough ventilation they all go back to work and I get more honey.

> The bees know what a problem is. How many trees do you know of that have ventilation?

None.  And they all have a beard of bees on them once it gets warm.

> I see my bees working overtime to seal up any crack, anywhere, even on the outside. What you are doing by propping up the lid and all that is inviting disease.

How does ventilation invite disease?  I find it a good cure for chaulkbrood and not the cause of anything.

>Same with adding space. Sorry to preach, but you guys push your bees way to hard. This stress on them lowers their immune system, and that's why you get real problems.

Too much space is a stress on bees, I agree.

> Festooning is not a problem. If it truly were, they would swarm.

And crowding and a lack of ventilation will contribute to that.
Michael Bush
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Offline Zoot

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2007, 10:50:32 PM »
bearding in hot weather is absolutely heat/crowding related. A simple test is to observe such a hive after measures are taken to address this developement (top entrance or top vents, slatted racks above and below the brood chamber, etc). The beards diminish or disappear. Good ventilation= less stress, less propensity for disease, greater yield.

Offline tillie

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2007, 11:07:19 PM »
Is this normal hygiene?

I'm confused, smallswarm.  You asked the question above and then when people suggest that it might represent a problem with ventilation, and make suggestions about how you might address it, you respond by defending the bearding situation in your hive.  I'm curious that you posed the question at all since you were so sure it wasn't an issue.

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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2007, 12:53:05 AM »
Zoot,
You sound like the newly converted who has tried something and learned.  In religeon they call those zealots.  Although most beekeepers I know (including me) are zealots about (argueably) domesticated bugs.
How is the upper rack working as an excluder for you?  I hope you're finding I wasn't so out of touch with that suggestion. 
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline smallswarm

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2007, 07:51:08 AM »
Is this normal hygiene?

I'm confused, smallswarm.  You asked the question above and then when people suggest that it might represent a problem with ventilation, and make suggestions about how you might address it, you respond by defending the bearding situation in your hive.  I'm curious that you posed the question at all since you were so sure it wasn't an issue.

LT in Atlanta

The original question was in reference to the sweepers, washboarding as someone called it, not 'bearding'. I was wondering if other people had seen this on the outside, and they had. Question answered. I think it was tillie who noticed the festooning in my video and brought it up. Like Michael Bush said, feral tree colonies do this, so it is natural.

I guess I don't really belong in this forum, because I'm not a slave driver. I like for my bees to relax and chill out if they feel like it. I don't want honey. I want lots of happy bees. Actually, I want a fully mature and natural colony of bees. My next hive is going to be frameless.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2007, 09:24:04 AM »
Bees that are bearding are not happy bees.  They are hot bees.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
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Offline Zoot

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2007, 12:27:33 AM »
Brian,

On the overall balance I think the addition of the upper rack is a positive move. I did have one queen venture up through it on one hive late last season and she filled some drone cells and went back down.
So far, on 5 hives this season, no queen has ventured up.

I only added the upper racks in the last few weeks as it got hot here and immediately noticed a significant diminishment of bearding - ie: less stress, happier, healthier bees. Hard to see a negative there.

I wonder how one would define a "natural" honeybee colony these days; my thought is that any manipulation by man, no matter how benevolently intended, renders a colony un-natural. But it does sound cool, it has that going for it.

Offline the kid

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2007, 12:47:49 AM »
ok this has nothing to do with the cell cleaning subject .
Brian  ,,  were do I get the slotted rack or upper rack what ever its called ????   
I would like to have a look at what it is and mybe give it a try..    Im for any thing that
works ..   
the kid

Offline tillie

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2007, 12:59:01 AM »
I'm not Brian, but here's one place:

http://www.betterbee.com/products.asp?dept=308

Many of the catalog companies carry them.  They made a huge difference in the bearding on my hives.  The bees were happier and cooler.  I now have them on every hive I set up.  You can see pictures of the difference here:

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2006/06/its-miracle-beforeand-after.html

Hope that helps you, the kid,

Linda T in Atlanta
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2007, 11:43:19 PM »
i really can't improve on the information that tillie supplied for what is commercially available.  My own design is to make a 1 3/4 -2 inch deep hive shim and then install dowling so that they run parallel with the frames.  Mine, IMO, works better and avoid the buildup of burr comb that can occur.
Life is a school.  What have you learned?   :brian:      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!

Offline Zoot

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2007, 11:51:56 PM »
oh come now Brian, you are far too modest.

By the way, since the subject of SLAVEDRIVERS was broached earlier...was it you who posted the wonderful anecdote about the "bee whip" a year or so back? Memory fails.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2007, 07:37:27 AM »
>I wonder how one would define a "natural" honeybee colony these days; my thought is that any manipulation by man, no matter how benevolently intended, renders a colony un-natural.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesunnatural.htm
Michael Bush
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Offline Zoot

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Re: Cell cleaners outside
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2007, 10:18:31 AM »
MB,

Very thorough and concise. As usual.