The Phenomenon of Bee Bearding

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by riverbee, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    a great pdf file on bee bearding, with some great photos to help you identify bearding versus swarming; and also discusses the differences of bearding vs. swarming. from the article:

    "What is bearding?
    It’s the clustering or hanging of older bees out at the front of the hive during very hot weather. When bees do that it looks like the hive has a beard. This
    behaviour coincides with the onset of the hot humid days and nights (midJune to August). Bearding begins when the summer temperatures reach 38°C (100°F) or more. On hot and humid evening, many bees will loiter through the night and even during the day outside the hive clinging to the front of the hive or on the landing board doing nothing. Some hives will form large beards of bees, covering the whole front of the brood box. Some will beard much more. This has to do with the temperature inside the hive, space available, and the population (crowding) of the hive. A hive with plenty of ventilation will probably have less bees gathering on the front of it
    "

    pdf article here:

    The Phenomenon of Bee Bearding

    also if anyone has any bearding hives pix to share, please post!
    and i didn't say bearding perry pix......:lol:
     
  2. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    The neat thing about bearding bees is their docile nature. You can gently and slowly scoop up a handful for a neat bee glove. At least with my bees that's the case, some may be hotter.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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  4. Walt B

    Walt B Active Member

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    I was going to post and say that Iddee has a GREAT photo of bearding, but...:coolphotos:

    Walt
     
  5. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I never seem to have much bearding, maybe it's the partial shade they are in.....
    This pic is more stubble than beard, maybe just a 5 o'clock shadow.......


    5-16-12-hive-I.jpg
     
  6. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I don't know if it's common, but my bees were bearding at much less than 38 degrees, more like 32.
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Inside hive temp, not outside. I've seen them beard when the outside temp was in the 60's F. "16 to 21 C."
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Wow, it sure can't be bearding because of a lack of space! :lol:
     
  9. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Observation: Been hot and humid for the last week. A few of my more populated hives in the full sun were bearding yesterday late afternoon. None of the super populated hives in the dappled sun were bearding. Hmmmmm. Anyway, here are some pics to enjoy:
    DSCF8939.jpg DSCF8940.jpg DSCF8943.jpg DSCF8944.jpg
     
  10. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    These are from June.

     

    Attached Files:

  11. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

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    Digression: if those bees are docile when bearding (and I agree mine are), would they make a convenient source of bees for the mite test that involves scooping half a cup of bees into a jar then sprinkling with powdered sugar and dumping sugar & mites out through a screened lid? I remember learning that it was best to take the bees off a frame of brood but wouldn't pretty much any bees from the colony tell a similar tale?
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    The short answer Chris, is no. When I do mite count tests for the Province, I have been instructed to collect bees from brood frames only, preferably with lots of larvae that is ready to be capped.
     
  13. BSAChris

    BSAChris New Member

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  14. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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  15. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    nice bearding pix ed and wayne!!!
     
  16. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    :coolphotos:Very nice photos folks. :thumbsup:
    The highest I have ever had a hive go was 2 deeps with 3 mediums. Some of these pics hurt my back just looking at them, I can only imagine what the harvest must have been like.
     
  17. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm Active Member

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    Perry, speaking of bearding:wink: what's that white stuff on your beard?? Is it still snowing up there?:lol: Jack
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    nice tread but I will add that some of the picture may well not be bearding at all. some of bluebloods picture could also be signs of a newly mated queen. that is to say that often times in mating yards you will see small clumps of bees on the outside of the boxes and often time there is a virgin or newly mated queen hanging out in those small clumps of bees.
     
  19. specialkayme

    specialkayme New Member

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    Perhaps to take this thread a little further, do most of you consider bearding a good thing or a bad thing? Something to be desired (or at the least, just let happen) or something to be avoided?

    Bearding often occurs in very healthy hives. At least mine do. A small amount of bearding isn't much to raise an eye about, but having two pounds of bees hanging on the outside makes me want to scream "Don't you have anything better to do than just hang around?"

    To me, bearding is desired. But massive bearding means I have un-utilized bees, and I need to make more splits from it, so is something to be discouraged.

    ​Any other thoughts?
     
  20. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I check a heavily bearded hive for space. If they have empty cells or undrawn comb, bearding is good to see, other than telling me the flow is bad. If they don't have space, I add a box.