It’s February 2019 as I delete everything from this post except the video. I’d barely been keeping bees for a year at the time I recorded this video. I was seeing things with my bees on a regular basis that did not come up in any of the beekeeping books I’d read. Bees hanging off the bottom bars and clogging the bottom entrance was one of those things. I didn’t know what was going on.
These days I like it when I see bees hanging off the bottom bars. It usually means the colony is in good shape.
I could go on, but check out the comments below for Rusty Burlew’s response to this video (on her blog, Honey Bee Suite). She answers the question of what’s going on with bees hanging off the bottom bars and clogging the bottom entrance better than me.
I too had this happen and still occasionally see it happen in the evening as the bees are winding down from their day out. Sometimes it is thick and concentrated in the middle and other days its thinner and on one side of the box. I’m not sure what it is but perhaps that is where the queen is? or maybe its cooler near the bottom. On my #2 hive I went with a slatted board above the bottom board and i don’t see any of this clustering like hive #1 that has a screened bottom board. Even with an additional entrance at the top of the hive (which gets used a lot!) there still is the clustering on the bottom like yours. Hopefully someone can tell us if this is common behavior. Although nothing i have experienced so far is common.
“On my #2 hive I went with a slatted board above the bottom board and i donâ€™t see any of this clustering like hive #1 that has a screened bottom board.”
Did you order a slatted bottom board from a supplier or make your own? It’s not standard equipment and I’m not sure where order one in Canada. I’d build one myself (or attempt it anyway), but I don’t much spare time these days.
“Hopefully someone can tell us if this is common behavior. Although nothing I have experienced so far is common.”
You bees have swarmed twice, right? At least you know you have some healthy bees. With the foundationless thing I have going on and the thousands of drones, I’m sure about anything anymore.
Looks to me like bees just hanging out of the way, out of the brood chamber. After a rain the humidity is a little high, and the bees want to keep from getting things too hot (with their body heat). It’s sort of like swarming.
I agree a slatted bottom rack should minimize that. I use slatted racks, and have almost no bearding.
Rusty at Honey Bee Suite answers my question here: