High Humidity and Bearding

Yesterday was the hottest and most humid day of the summer, and the bees were feeling it big time.

That’s the bees in Hive #1 bearding outside the hive. (The Star Trek symbol is used as a distinctive homing marker for the bees. It probably doesn’t make any difference to them, but too bad. Here’s the same photo minus the Star Trek symbol.) The photo was taken around 7:30am this morning. They were bearding twice as much last night. It was about 30°C (86°F) when I went to bed around 10:30pm.

Bearding is a behaviour that’s triggered by excessive heat or humidity, which is made worse by over-crowding and a lack of ventilation inside the hive. The bees leave the hive because it’s cooler outside. You can read more about bearding at Honey Bee Suite.

Hive #1 already has a screened inner cover and a ventilator rim to help with ventilation, but it looks like it could use a screened bottom board too. I’m building one today and hope to have it installed soon. Hive #2, the foundationless hive, has a screened bottom board and it looked like this at the same time Hive #1 was bearding this morning.