Lots of bees on the ground

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bregester
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:04 pm

Lots of bees on the ground

Post by bregester » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:50 pm

Recently, we have noticed that there have been a lot of bees outside our hives on the ground. They are alive but just sitting on the ground or hanging off of the side of the hive. Should I be concerned about this?

Jacobs
Guard bee
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Lots of bees on the ground

Post by Jacobs » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:46 pm

It sounds like a variation of bearding--bees coming outside the hive and hanging off the landing board for internal hive temperature control. It is the sign of a strong, healthy hive. It sometimes, but not always, means that the bees can use more space. If they are not piled out like that in the morning, or when it is a bit cooler, they may have the inside space they need. I have one hive that beards but is not good at hanging on. They constantly drop a clump on the ground. The bees eventually either walk up into the hive or fly back into it.

You may want to check to see if it is time to add another super.

bregester
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:04 pm

Re: Lots of bees on the ground

Post by bregester » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:23 pm

Thanks! I added another box a few days ago so they should have enough room. I'll check to see if they go back in the hive later when it gets a little cooler.

royl
Nursebee
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Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:22 am

Re: Lots of bees on the ground

Post by royl » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:21 pm

I have one hive that is bearding more than others. It has 2 medium supers: bottom is full, and second is half drawn, with "some" bees working the wax. It's not crowded at all in the second super, but the beard on the outside indicates otherwise. They have the same setup as my other 6 hives, so I can rule out a ventilation problem. I may err on the side of caution and just add another super to see the results.

Jacobs
Guard bee
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Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Lots of bees on the ground

Post by Jacobs » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:38 pm

You might want to put a top feeder on them and see what they do with what they have. There is not enough of a natural nectar flow for bees to continue drawing out comb. I don't believe the bees will not view the un-drawn comb as useable space, so they may be "crowded' for lack of comb.

royl
Nursebee
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:22 am

Re: Lots of bees on the ground

Post by royl » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:44 pm

I have a top feeder on (basically quart jar with small holes poked in the lid turned upside down). They are taking over a quart a day, but so are the other hives with the same equipment. I'll add some more frames using a checkerboard pattern to see what happens. Also note that this hive was not recently painted/cleaned. I've heard some paints/chemical can cause a forced beard.

Jacobs
Guard bee
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Lots of bees on the ground

Post by Jacobs » Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:18 pm

I am close to making an inner cover/top feeder with 4-6 jar lid openings that will let me give the bees multiple half gallon regular mouth mason jars. I am going to try to get new comb drawn with strong hives using this method. Even this may not be enough access to sugar water to get them to draw comb. A quart jar with one lid may keep them alive and may keep the queen laying more than she otherwise would, but I don't think it is enough available "nectar" for drawing comb.

I do have 1 hive with a queen excluder on sideways, a super above it with frames and foundation, and a top feeder over that. It is a fairly strong hive and after multiple gallons of 1:1, it looks like the bees are finally beginning to ramp up wax making. So far, what Kurt Bower says appears to be working. The queen has not gone around the open edges at the front & back of frames, but the workers can get through with less effort. If I get nicely drawn frames that have a lot of sugar water in them, I plan to use an Imirie technique to get them cleaned for storage. I will select a hive I want to feed and put an empty super over the inner cover. I'll put the next super with the frames to be cleaned over the empty super and then put the outer cover on the hive. My guess is that Imirie figured that the bees are less likely to view that super above the open space as anything more than a food opportunity and not as an additional part of the hive. I could be wrong. (I don't think this would be a good technique when there was a strong nectar flow and the violation of bee space would likely lead to massive amounts of burr comb.)

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