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Author Topic: Beard getting bigger - Beard or swarm?  (Read 2450 times)
ZuniBee
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« on: June 07, 2007, 06:45:07 PM »

I have been watching the hives and every afternoon they have been doing the washboard on the landing board like this picture:



Today it has been hotter and very muggy. I have the lids proped open with a pretty big stick. All the hives are still bearding exactly like the picture above. However, hive 2 is not doing the washboard back and forth. Instead they are hanging down.





Do they do this because they are hot or because they are swarming on the front of the hive? Any suggestions on what I should do, if anything? Hive 2 is the weakest hive I have. They have the first deep drawn and the second only almost half drawn. There are good eggs and brood and lots of bees entering with pollen filled sacks. They are just hanging there today......
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tillie
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2007, 07:50:50 PM »

My hives look like yours also but the beards are much, much smaller -

first thing to address is ventilation.....
**do you have screened bottom boards and
**top ventilation - you mentioned the big stick. 

Mine looked like yours until I put slatted racks in place.  Now my beards are much, much smaller than what your pictures show.....they still beard but at 89 in Atlanta today, mine are about 1/3 the size of yours.

Zunibee, here are pictures of the size of my beards even with SBB, slatted racks and propped tops:

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/06/hotlanta-nights-and-bees-are-starting.html

We are in the middle of a drought and the bees aren't flying as much - nothing to gather, I gather???

Linda T in Atlanta
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Shizzell
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2007, 12:29:11 AM »

You could always split the hive if you believe there are enough bees in it. The bees don't swarm on the outside of the hive. They all leave the hive at once. Ventilation is the key here.

Jake
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Kirk-o
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2007, 01:24:04 AM »

Hey Man give the bugs some air crack the top or screened bottom its easy
kirko
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JP
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2007, 06:11:28 AM »

Zunibee, hive #2 looks like a pretty strong hive to me. They do need more ventilation. Also, even with extra ventilation, some hives will just beard more than others.
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2007, 09:06:45 AM »

Zunibee, the comments that other members have made are good.  They need to cool off.  I had the bearding going on in one of my hives extensively last year.  This is what they looked like:



Have a wonderful day, great life.  Cindi
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2007, 09:15:07 AM »

Thanks everyone for the info. I thought it might be related to ventilation... I have a screened bottom board and have the telescopic cover lifted with a pretty good size stick...about 1 inch . The bottom board is a screen board that sits on top of the regular bottom board. I think I am going to try to move the regular bottom board and have the screen board just sit on the hive stand. That should give more ventilation. I just wont be able to monitor for mites as easy but they see to really need to cool off. The hives are in full sun as well....
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tillie
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2007, 09:55:33 AM »

Good idea - with the regular bottom board under the SBB, the ventilation potential is cut tremendously.  You'll see a difference probably right away.  You might also consider the slatted rack.

Linda T
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2007, 12:34:46 PM »

Ok, I just got finished removing the bottom board that was below the screen bottom board. It is almost 95 degrees outside already and very humid. ....which equates to VERY HOT in the bee suit! Thought I would die from the heat....

The tops are proped open with a stick. I will check this evening as see if they are still hanging out as bad as they have been.
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JP
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« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2007, 03:22:15 PM »

Zunibee, something else to mention. Have you checked your brood nests lately to see if there is honeycomb in there? If so move it out and replace with empty frames of foundation. This will free up some space and help with ventilation as well.
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2007, 03:46:24 PM »

I looked in the hive today when I removed the bottom boards. I put the second hive body deep on when the first had 8 frames drawn. Today, when I moved the hive bodies to get to the bottom board I noticed the two outside frames are still foundation and not drawn.

To make sure I understand correctly, if there are frames of honey I can move them to the outside and put the foundation frames toward the middle? As long as I don't break up the brood?
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JP
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2007, 03:50:34 PM »

yes, that is what I would do. Honey on the outside only, in the broodnest.
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2007, 07:09:03 PM »

Swarms don't gather on the outside of the hive.  They gather on a limb somewhere nearby.

But lack of ventilation can contribute to swarming.  Make sure they have room.  Prop the lid up.  Put in a SBB.  Put in a slatted rack.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2007, 04:10:47 PM »

When you move the outer frames that are still undrawn, just move them in 1 frame, so that they are the second frame in from each side.  You want to keep the brood chamber intact but still place the undrawn frames in a place where the bees will draw them out. 
The basic rule in this type of situation is to move the undrawn frames to the edges of the brood chamber, this could mean they might even be the 3rd frame in from each side.
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2007, 04:35:13 PM »

 Both the SSB and a slatted rack have worked for me.  grin
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2007, 07:48:40 PM »

I've done everything but the slatted boards and moving the frames. I have ordered the slatted boards but have to wait for them to get here. Tomorrow I will move the frames one or two spaces in depending on the brood.

Thanks for all the great input.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2007, 10:40:00 PM »

If they have room and top and bottom ventilation, don't worry about it.  It's what bees do when it's too hot.
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Michael Bush
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Heather
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2007, 02:57:41 AM »

Hi from UK.
Are your frames fitted sideways to the entrance or parallel. Sideways is much cooler -ventilates better - just a thought. cool
Heather
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2007, 04:52:59 AM »

>Are your frames fitted sideways to the entrance or parallel. Sideways is much cooler -ventilates better - just a thought.

Here that would require a different bottom board as Langstroth hives are not square like National hives.  But it has the added advantage of a larger entrance if you do.
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Michael Bush
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