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.
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!
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