Feelin’ hot hot hot!
Fourth of July here has come and gone, and you know what that means around here? Temperatures are soaring! In the upper 90’s (that’s over 35 C for my family and friends back home), and we haven’t had much, if any rain for almost 2 weeks. The garden is wilting, the dog doesn’t want to spend much time out in the yard, and even the bees are feeling the heat. While they can “air condition” their hive by using evaporative cooling using air movement generated by wing fanning, it is still hard on them. I’ve read that they maintain a hive temperature of around 92 degrees year round, although I suspect this is only for the main brood nest area, as we put a wireless temperature sensor on the top bars just under the roof, and it was reading >100F yesterday afternoon. One thing the bees like to do when it’s this hot is what any self-respecting southerner would do on a hot summer afternoon: hang out on the front porch, and try to catch a cool breeze!
This is only a few of the ladies, last night there was about 10x as many out there. This is called “bearding” because they will tend to spill out and completely cover the front of the hive, hanging down like a big beard (Like this. Definitely NOT this!). Apparently normal, and nothing to worry about, they’re just cooling off. It was hard to tell if they were doing this or not, but they will also fan their wings at the front entrance to get some airflow going through the hive as well. The only other things we can do to help them stay cool during these hot days are to use a screened bottom board for ventilation, and provide them plenty of water. We have one of those inverted bottle pet waterer things with pebbles in the bottom, in addition to a large rectangular planter filled with water and rocks, although I suspect they are making use of the creek and large pond a 1/4 mile away.
Stay cool girls!