I got home in the 90 degree June (??? - feels like August) Atlanta evening and found this hive looking like:
And when I went around to the back, there were even more bees consigned to the outside of the hive!
This is a HUGE hive and I have not opened up the screened bottom board. I haven't done that for the last two summers. But for this hive, I may have to.
I wanted to give them room to spread out inside the hive but it was 8 PM when I got home. So I went out and put on two empty boxes - undrawn frames - just to give them some hangout room inside the hive. (This hive has a slatted rack at the bottom.)
I carefully moved the top to avoid upsetting the bee beard at the back and gently put those girls on the inner cover. Still it was hard to find a handhold. I only got stung once in this whole maneuver, though, on the ball of my thumb. I put the two empty boxes on and closed the hive up.
One bee seemed interested in the salty sweat on my hand:
However, as night fell, the beard was hardly disturbed and no bees appeared to go inside. I expect the space needs to be distributed throughout the hive for them to take advantage of the extra boxes I gave them.
After a hot night, the beard was only slightly smaller this morning, but there were no bees bearding at the back of the hive. I'll put some beer caps on the inner cover to lift it up a little and that might help as well.
The nectar flow is over and it's time to harvest and make splits. I'm not certain about this hive because at Jarrett Apiaries, they use oxalic acid, so this hive may not be able to deal with varroa mite on its own. Still, it's such a strong hive that I will make some overwintering nucs from it for the winter.
I'll have my work cut out for me for the next couple of weekends!