Beekeeping Information

Bee Bearding

Bees bearding – Bees like to accumulate at the front of the hive on a hot and humid day in a bearding-like shape so as to create room and added ventilation inside. The bearding-like shape that these insects create to create room on such days is known as Bearding.

Is it normal for bees to beard?

Yes, it is totally normal for bees to beard at the front of the hive. Besides, it is a healthy sign.

Bearding is a healthy sign for bees since the temperature and the humidity within the hive should be kept within a precise percentage.

A precise temperature and humidity within the bee hive are essential for purposes like brooding and honey creation. A temperature of between 32°C to 36°C (90°F to 97°F) is needed for brooding while for nectar to be evaporated into honey an ambient humidity is required within the hive.

Bearding is quite common when the bee population is at its height in strong colonies. you will often see this when bees are storing and ripening honey at a blinding pace.

Differences between bearding and swarm preparations

There are multiple differences between bearding bees and swarm preparations and here are some of them:

Bearding bees

  • When bees are bearding, you will see them clustering at the front, especially on both the entrance/landing front and the front panel of the hive. They do this so as to create space inside the hive, especially on a very hot day.
  • On a day with higher heat and humidity, you will witness bees bearding by facing in the same direction, fanning, and trying to cool down the temperature inside the hive. as the temperature drops in the late evening, you will not see this since bees do go back into the hive.

Indicators your colony might be preparing to swarm

bees bearding
  • Overcrowding in the hive especially due to lack of space or congestion in the brood box.
  • Your colony might be preparing to swarm when you see them in a beard-like formation. This formation is followed by more aerial activity in front of the hive. (When your colony is bearding, you will see bees not becoming airborne. They just crawl out of the hive).
  • When there are queen cells in your hive your bees might be preparing to swarm.

It is normal for bees to beard. However, it is recommended that you get in touch with your beekeeping mentor if you have concerns and feel unsure about whether your colony is simply bearding or preparing to swarm.

Is it normal for bees to beard at night?

It is normal for bees to be beard at night when the weather is hot. You will likely notice this behavior occurring at night when the temperature is very hot. Therefore, should you notice bearding on your hive at night, you should not try forcing your bees back inside the hive.

What should I do if my bees are bearding?

  • You should ensure that your hive is well ventilated and placed near a water source.
  • You should provide some shade to the hive, especially in the late afternoon.

When you are keeping bees in hot climates, they will be more productive and do better if they have some respite from the direct sun.

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