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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Hot town, summer in the city....

It's hot and the bees are bearding. My Aristaeus2 hive I think is half its size. About a week ago outside at 8 PM there were thousands of bees swirling around. I thought robbing was going on and responded accordingly. Now I think that half of Aristaeus2 swarmed, or at this time of year, I guess they absconded.

To help bees who were left behind, I put a baggie feeder of sugar syrup in and closed the top of the hive. They have honey and were even making new honey but I don't know why the hive absconded, so I thought it would be best to take care of those who are left. There is a laying queen. I saw eggs after the swarming/absconding event. But without the ventilation of the propped top, even this small hive is bearding.

Bermuda, my four year old hive, is really bearding. All the girls are out. I just checked and they are still out in the summer night at 9:30 PM. The beard, if anything, is even larger than it was before at 7 when I took this picture.

Mellona has never bearded. It is a hive full of bees, but this is about as big as her beard gets. Given that it is August in Hotlanta, that is quite an accomplishment.

All of my hives have screened bottom boards, slatted racks and I keep the top propped in the summer - but still it's too hot for all the bees to spend the night indoors. So they lounge and dance (washboard) on the front porch late into the night.

"But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on lets dance all night
Despite the heat
it will be alright
And babe don't you know it's a pity
The days can't be like the night
In the summer in the city
In the summer in the city

Hot town summer in the city"....Joe Cocker

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  1. I'm a 2nd year beekeeper. Last year, my hive didn't make it past July. This year, I lost 1 of 2. The other is going very well but I DID see bearding - mainly on oppressively hot & humid nights. I didn't realize this was a problem AND I have NOT propped the top up. Should I? Is this a problem? I thought it was just to cool the hive off. Also, I have only one hive body and one super. Should i add another hive body?

  2. I don't know where you are. Here in Atlanta I want the bees to work and spend less time on the porch cooling their heels. Taking some of the ventilation pressure off of them helps with that. It is so hot here that even with the top propped and a SBB and a slatted rack, there is still bearding. All of your questions are somewhat dependent on where you are. If it's exceedingly hot at night, you might consider adding a slatted rack and/or propping the top (by putting a stick under the telescoping cover). Adding a hive body is about giving the bees a place to add more stores. If they are still putting up honey and your super is full, then you might add another super.

  3. hi Linda.....it's HOT in Richmond too! the girls are bearding every night....they have almost completely filled up their top super even though I'm not feeding (they have lots of stored honey) and we're not having a nectar flow....so my question is do I put on another super this late in the season, giving the SHBs lots of places to hide, or, if I don't put another super on now, would the lack of space cause them to abscond? I know you don't have all the answers, but I would like your opinion. Thanks!

  4. Since you never know about the bees, I might still put a super on since the last one is almost full. Leave it on for a week and if nothing happens in it, then take it off. The bees tend to corral the SHBs under the inner cover. I have been surprised (in other years, not this year) by the bees filling a super with the late summer nectars from the garden, the goldenrod, etc.

  5. Very practical idea....Thank you! :)


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