My Bees are Bearding at night time.

 I am not sure why I went outside to check on my bees; but last Saturday night about 11:30 pm I checked on them and this is what I saw.  From my research, I learned that the bees are hanging out because of possible congestion and heat in the hive.  The Georgia sun during the day has been very hot lately. So, I assume they are hanging out at night to keep the hive from overheating.  I recently ordered a “screened bottom board” for the hive and hopefully it will help cool things off and remedy the problem– if it’s a problem.

I also added a shallow super to create some extra room if needed.

African American Beekeeper

6 Responses to “My Bees are Bearding at night time.”
  1. Monica Kowal says:

    Hello there! That’s quite a site, is it not? Ours are bearding, too, but not to that extent. Imagine you are overheating in your bed. Instead of uncovering, you stick your foot out into the cool night air and that cools you off just enough to be comfortable. It’s the same with bearding. The bees that are outside the hive funnel the cool night air into the hive to lower the overall temperature inside. The screened bottom board will work nicely to help with circulation. You can also drill a nickel-sized hole in one of the top two boxes to create some air circulation. The screened bottom board is also good if you have varroa mites — when the mites fall off the bee, they fall through the screen to the ground and cannot climb back up into the hive.

    What a lovely photo! It looks like you have a very healthy colony.

    • Hi Monica,
      Thank you for your comments. I am truly learning a lot. I also see what a difference just a few days can make with a once thriving colony. I decided to stop feeding my bees a week ago. Prior to me adding the SBB. Anyway, this morning I went out to check on them and this white crumbly stuff was all over the entrance of the hive. At first glance, I thought it may have been from a rodent or something but a closer look I saw what was larva at different stages of development. I also saw the bees bringing it out to the front. I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of it because I was leaving for work. It has really gotten me puzzled today. I went home for lunch to do an emergency hive inspection. The once white comb is now empty brown and toasty looking. I also saw hive beetles all about the hive– lots of them. Could I have an infested hive? Do hive beetles fly? Are they able to enter through the screened bottom board? I don’t remember having so many before adding it. I started a new hive a week ago from packaged bees. I haven’t had a chance to write about that experience but they seem to be doing very well.

      Nervous African American Beekeeper

  2. Monica Kowal says:

    Realizing your hive has a pest is always disconcerting. The brood you found is called chalkbrood, a fungal disease, which is not uncommon once a hive is relocated and is more common in wet environments, especially if you’ve had a particularly wet spring. To cut down on the moisture, create a ventilation system like I explained in my earlier post, drilling a hole in one of the upper boxes to create circulated airflow. Georgia is such a moist environment, I’m not surprised that your hive got infected, especially since it’s a nuc.

    The hive beetle needs to be dealt with swiftly otherwise it will lay eggs and its larva will take over the hive. You can use chemicals like Formic Acid, CheckMite or other commercial pesticides, but there are alternatives. I’m friends with Jim Amrine at West Virginia University and he and his partner developed these homemade “grease/salt patties” that do well to reduce and control varroa mites and hive beetles. The link is below. Once you get to the page click on “wintergreen grease patties” and you’ll see how they use it to treat hive beetles.

    Some people say that the only effective treatment is chemical, but I think if you dig deep enough you’ll find non-toxic alternatives. Check with your local extension office or beekeeper’s association for help.

    Good luck!


  3. Dave says:

    Hi, I have a hive in Jacksonville, Florida and the Hive Bettle is a real problem here. I have ended up doing quite a bit of research and found that really all you can do is manage them. They will always be in the hive. One thing from my research is that they are attracted to Apple Cider vineger, which along with vegetable oil can be used to trap and kill them. The main thing you want to do is interuput there life cycle. If their larvae are able to get to the ground they will turn into hive beetles and re-enter the hive increasing their population as they do so.

    I have tried the Hood Hive Beetle trap and that seemed to work ok although for it to work properly you really have to afix it to one of your frames.There are plenty of other traps out there however, here’s what I do, which seems to catch a lot of them.

    I have a screened bottom board with a tray underneath that can be pulled out. What I have done is put one of those cookie baking sheets on the tray and filled it up with basic vegetable cooking oil. In the middle of the tray I have a smaller tray filled with Apple Cider vineger. The hive beetles are attracted to the vineger and in the process of getting to the vineger they drown in the surrounding oil. Additionally any beetle larvae that falls through the screen will also die in the oil. The Vineger does evaporate after a couple of days so does need to be refilled reguarly. It can all get a little messey but it does work. I’m a newby at all this but this seems to be a non-invasive solution to trapping hive beetles.

    Good Luck!


  4. Beverly Simone says:

    Hello everyone!

    I am a novice beekeeper, just my second hive. My first one didn’t make it through the
    really bad winter we had in the Northeast. However, my second hive, (nuc) which I got in late July, is going like gangbusters! I happened across your blog because i just went out in the night
    to feed them “Bee Tea”, and I saw that they were congregating at the entrance or “bearding”,
    a new term to me. It sure isn’t because of the heat, so I think they will need a new super/frames this weekend. I learned a lot reading the posts above.
    Thanks, and happy bees to you!


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