What are my bees doing?

Your first thought when you see this photo may be a fearful ..."Umm, what is happening?" But do not worry.  What you are seeing is called "bearding".

During the hot months honey bees will cluster on the outside of the hive and the term we use to describe this is bearding .  It can be quite frightening in the beginning when you are trying to determine what is going on but no need to fear.  This is not only normal but also can be a great sign that you have a strong colony with a large population. 

So why do they do this?
Honey bees control the temperature of their hive during warm months by fanning to keep the hive ventilated and maintain it at about 93 degrees.  When we enter months with high humidity and high temperatures combined that with high populations, they will begin bearding on the front of the boxes.  Over crowding can make it hard to keep the hive ventilated and overheating can be damaging to the brood.

Could this a sign of swarming?
While a swarming hive will happen suddenly and be pouring out of the entrance is large qualities, bearding  is very calm and quiet.

What do I do now?
Although bearding is generally a good sign, be sure to check your hive.  Do they have enough space? You probably already know the living situation of your honey bees if you monitor them regularly but it is something to think about.  Providing more space, like an additional deep or honey supers, will allow for them to continue building and filling comb.

Hope this helps with any concerns you may have about bearding.  Feel free to contact us with any other questions or concerns.

Krystle & Cory Gaiser

Feeding your Honey Bees

It's time to Feed the Bees

I hope you are having a fantastic summer enjoying these long summer nights and the beautiful weather. Even if you are a busy bee I hope you can take a moment to stop and smell the flowers ... even though that may be hard right now.
As we all know July and August are some of the hottest months of the year which means, little rainfall resulting in nectar dearth for our honeybees.  No flowers means no food.  As much as we try to plant wildflowers and clovers ... sometime it just isn't enough.  We want healthy, strong bees so we feed sugar water in these times.
This week we started our new feeding technique and wanted to share with everyone our success story since it is working out so great for us!

We have a few techniques to feeding, which all work.  But we have found that this new DIY gravity feeder is a lot more bee-friendly and results in less drowned bees.

What you'll need:
5 gallon white bucket
Lid with a rubber seal
1/8" drill bit
25 lb sugar
4 gallons of water
Pro Health
Marbles and/or Rocks

Make sure your bucket and lid are completely cleaned out and there is no harmful residue in it.


Start by identifying the outer rim through the inside of the bucket (see photo).Then using the drill and 1/8" bit, begin drilling holes roughly 2.5" down from the lip going from the inside out.  
Be careful not to perforate the outer wall, but place holes about every 1".

Clean out plastic shavings and fill the jug half way with warm water and add roughly 25 lbs of sugar.  Then we add a few table spoons of the vitamin packed Pro-Health which is available on Mann Lake's website.  It works great and gives the girls some much need sustenance.

**You can use marble or even pebbles to keep your girls from drowning. 

Securely fasten lid to the bucket and flip it over.  We placed ours on another empty 5 gallon bucket to elevate it off the ground.  Take marbles/rocks and place in reservoirs to help keep bees from drowning. 
PLACEMENT: We have 13 hives within a small area so we put this in a central location within the middle.  Everyone is enjoying their dinner together.

**Summertime feeding is typically a 1:1 sugar:water ratio.  They use the extra water to cool their hive then the sugar is used for energy.  While fall months you want to do a 2:1 sugar:water ratio.

Please comment below or email us if you have any questions about how to make your own 5 gallon bucket feeders.  Thank you for reading.