Adopt-A-Hive: Quarterly Update

Quarter 3 - 2021


By Bear Country Bees

The summer months of foraging are well under way for your adopted bees!

Your adopted colony has been so productive (queen laying eggs, workers foraging, and hive numbers growing) that we’ve had to add extra boxes and frames onto the top of the beehive much sooner than expected. This is a great sign! If the colony can continue this pattern, they stand a good chance of surviving the (typically) harsh winters we experience in Utah.

In addition to the cold of winter, one of the biggest things we have to keep a close eye on is the heat of summer. The heat can be just as problematic to your bees as the cold but in a different way than you’d expect.

Did you know?

Each honey bee has over 170 odorant receptors which means they have a very keen sense of smell. This allows them to communicate, identify different types of flowers, and sense intruders into the hive.

When it gets hot outside (usually 90° F or above), the bees resort to a practice called Bearding. This is a process where a big cluster of bees gather on the outside of the beehive and fan their wings to push heat out of and away from the hive. It’s their own version of a box fan if you will.

While this may seem like a good thing initially, it comes at a steep cost. Most people overlook the very important fact that when your bees are bearding, they aren’t foraging and building up their numbers. They must attend to the immediate concern of keeping the colony cool enough but at the expense of their long-term stability. 

The more time your bees spend foraging, the better off they will be going into winter. We help them do this by keeping their beehive shaded as much as possible. We’ve built our apiary in such a way that your adopted hive has ample shade during the hotter months which allows them to maximize foraging time.

Pro Tip

The more time your adopted bees spend foraging and building up their numbers, the better their chances of survival during the winter time. 


Thus, we should always try to maximize the time they spend doing these two activities!

Outside of doing that, it’s best that we leave the bees to their natural behavior and disturb them as little as possible. Some beekeepers have a tendency to scoop up bearding bees and put them back in the hive, but that honestly does more harm than good. 

Bearding is something we’ll continue to check vigilantly for. As always, we’ll adjust as needed so that we give your bees the best chances to survive until next season!

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Perfection in beekeeping is not found in a multiplicity of appliances, but in simplicity and the elimination of everything not absolutely essential

- Brother Adam, In Search Of The Best Bee Strains

Other Things You Can Do To Help The Bees

  • Plant a bee-friendly garden. Sowing bee-friendly seeds in a garden or even a planter box can be an easy and inexpensive way to provide bees with a safe haven. Try out a mixture such as this one: Wild Flower Mix - Honey Bee Mixture.
  • Report honey bee swarms to a local beekeeper. Most people tend to panic when they see honey bees but swarming is the time when honey bees are the most docile. Instead of spraying the bees or calling an exterminator, please contact a local beekeeper to help relocate the colony to a safer place.
  • Share your Adopt-A-Hive experience. One of the best ways you can help more honey bees is spread the word about our Adopt-A-Hive program. The more adoptions we have, the better we can care for the needs of the bees and the more honey bee research we can perform!
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