Bearding

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
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Greg H
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Bearding

Postby Greg H » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:06 pm

So I have a hive this year from a California package. It is building up nicely am thinking I will need to put a third medium on very soon. One thing I have noticed is that these bees seem to like to beard. The weather here has been fairly normal for spring. Maybe a little on the warm side overall but nothing outrageous. When I go out to look at them on a 80 degree day (27 C), they are bearding. I put a board up to block some late afternoon sun to give them a break but it doesn't seem to be making a difference. The bees I had last year didn't seem to beard even on hot 100 degree (38 C) days. Is there a behavioral difference between different bees where one might beard and another wouldn't under the same circumstances? Is there not enough ventilation in the hive? I have a reduced bottom entrance and a migratory style cover so there is no air escape from the top. Should I add some ventilation or just let them take care of it?

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SiWolKe
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Re: Bearding

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:54 pm

Do you open the windows in your car when using the climate system? No.

The climate system is the bees inside, those which are not needed for any work beard outside and sleep the day. They hang like the dead.
There´s some rotation now and then, and in the evening they walk into the hive.
28-32°C
Have some water nearby.

Every day now the stronger hives beard in my yards, the smaller splits with queen show normal traffic.

Last year, when I had open floors they fanned like crazy. Now only some single bees fanning.
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Rurification
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Re: Bearding

Postby Rurification » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:02 pm

The amount of bearding I see here is in direct proportion to the temp and humidity. The warmer and more humid, the more bearding. I use solid bottoms and the smallest top and bottom entrances. I've never considered bearding a problem, just something they do.
Robin Edmundson
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Greg H
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Re: Bearding

Postby Greg H » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:54 pm

I'm not necessarily worried about the bearding and I am fine leaving them with the setup they have. I was mostly curious because my bees last year didn't beard with the same setup. I was pretty sure, but since I am relatively new to this beekeeping thing, I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something that was going to doom my bees to a hot, burning death.

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Nordak
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Re: Bearding

Postby Nordak » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:13 pm

Several factors can affect bearding. Population in relation to space available when it's hot and humid as Robin suggested is when I notice it most. I see it as a sign of a healthy hive. Earlier in the year here, I will give them space if I see excessive bearding.

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Re: Bearding

Postby moebees » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:42 pm

I see bearding as a sign of not enough insulation on the boxes. I use polystyrene. Have not seen any bearding so far but of course I have been complaining for two months how cold and miserable our weather has been. :lol:
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Nordak
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Re: Bearding

Postby Nordak » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:47 pm

That's a good point also, Moe. I have seen considerably less bearding on my one well insulated hive versus the others. It's something I will incorporate in future hives when resources allow.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Bearding

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Jun 02, 2017 4:19 am

I´m not sure about the insulation in my case.
My hives are very good insulated. Thick wood walls and insulation on top, the metal covered with a wood plate.
Last year´s open floors let the colder air out.

I rather think they do not need much bees inside on the combs to fan.

When I combined my starter with the queens´hive to have my finisher I had to disturb the situation of bearding.
Suddenly the whole boxes were covered with fanning bees ( well pheromone fanning too for sure).
Inside I saw no problems with temperature, combs were ok, not crashing, not even the heavy deep honey combs.
It was 32°C that day.

When I combined I created a top entrance though.
Not only for the drones still above the excluder, but because I believe a queen excluder hinders ventilation.
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SiWolKe
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Re: Bearding

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:17 pm

Nordak wrote:Several factors can affect bearding. Population in relation to space available when it's hot and humid as Robin suggested is when I notice it most. I see it as a sign of a healthy hive. Earlier in the year here, I will give them space if I see excessive bearding.



Hey Jeff and Robin, you are exactly right about humidity.

It´s the foragers and drones that have to stay outside ( I saw many bees with worn wings) so the house bees are able to ventilate on the combs.
We had a day with 35°C and high humidity, god, how they worked! All that fresh nectar to be dried.

I gave them more space by harvesting one or two frames with capped honey from the inner walls and put in foundations along the brood because they are producing wax.
Left capped honey comb to insulate though.
Those with high density I put a medium on top.

Bearding is less now, temperature and humidity even higher.
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SiWolKe
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Re: Bearding

Postby SiWolKe » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:19 pm

The old ladies chatting and hanging around.

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Rurification
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Re: Bearding

Postby Rurification » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:09 pm

SiWolKe wrote:The old ladies chatting and hanging around.

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Indeed! ...and washboarding. Mine do a lot of washboarding this time of year.
Robin Edmundson
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Greg H
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Re: Bearding

Postby Greg H » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:52 pm

I ended up adding another box (actually 2 since they filled out the first one) and the bearding seems to have subsided. Reading another topic regarding hive ventilation, I will probably go home and put some insulation on the top of my hive to give them a break from the heat radiating through the migratory style cover.

My bees haven't started their washboarding dance too heavily this year. There is still plenty of coming and going of foragers, although not much pollen. I will definitely add an entrance reducer soon since I lost a hive to robbing last summer.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Bearding

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:30 am

Rurification wrote:
...and washboarding. Mine do a lot of washboarding this time of year.


I have never observed washboarding, I had to look it up on u-tube.
What are the bees doing and why?
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GregV
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Re: Bearding

Postby GregV » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:58 pm

SiWolKe wrote:
Rurification wrote:
...and washboarding. Mine do a lot of washboarding this time of year.


I have never observed washboarding, I had to look it up on u-tube.
What are the bees doing and why?


My theory - the "washboarding" is really to take place inside the hive (not outside). This is how bees condition the walls of the cavity so they can attach new combs to them as the colony grows and expands (normally downwards). Look at the Tom Seeley's book again for descriptions of the cavity walls.

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When bees start doing it outside, it probably means something is not right (hive is too tight or something related).
They should be doing it inside, I feel.

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SiWolKe
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Re: Bearding

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:55 pm

Very interesting.
Could be.
Perhaps others here will chime in giving their thoughts.

My boxes are painted with linseed oil-wax finish, especially for bee hives.
Maybe they don´t want to propolise this.
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GregV
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Re: Bearding

Postby GregV » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:27 pm

I spoke TOO soon with "my theory"!
The book actually has a section about the "washboarding" (after double-checking it) and it maybe totally normal.
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Nordak
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Re: Bearding

Postby Nordak » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:29 pm

Washboarding coincides here with large populations and nectar dearth. My guess is if you look at it from a bee "chore" standpoint, washboarding may be way down on the "to do" list. I've never seen a low population hive engaged in washbording. As far as perfectly normal, definitely. It happens with hives that are "overstaffed" I think.

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Greg H
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Re: Bearding

Postby Greg H » Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:51 pm

I wonder if as the flow winds down, more bees are at home with nothing to do and are recruited into this behaviour. It doesn't explain why it happens but it might be a reason for the when. ok I just noticed nordak's response above. Just when I think I have a good idea...

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SiWolKe
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Re: Bearding

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:35 am

MMH. my stronger hives do no washboarding but we have no real dearth.
If we have no foraging it´s because it rains.

But could be they do it inside the box.

The bees that lived outside when we had the heat wave did no washboarding. They just fixed themselves on the surface of the box, mostly in shade and slept. Normal traffic went on with the others.
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