Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Bees are Bearding

Honey bees are such fascinating creatures. This week we're learning that when it's too hot for the bees inside the hive, they do what any reasonable creature would do----they step outside on the porch for some fresh air.

This phenomenon is called bearding. The bees form chains and hang off the bottom of the hive, gently swaying in the breeze.

After a long and unseasonably cold spring, we've now vaulted into hot and humid weather. Daytime temperatures have been between 85 and 95 degrees. Since the bees prefer their hive to be a steady 90 degrees, they've been seeking cooler air outside the hive.

When we decided where to situate the hives, we chose a nice sunny place. We also painted the rooftops of the hives in black to absorb as much heat as possible. Clearly we were worried about winter survival. Now I'm worried about comb melting inside the hive. I've covered the hive roofs with white cotton fabric to attempt to reflect a bit of the excess heat. We've also added ventilation holes at both ends of the gabled roofs.

So far I don't think the hives have been harmed by the heat. Bee activity is very busy and the view inside the observation windows continues to look healthy. I'm enjoying watching the bees and their daily rhythms.

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