Have you ever wondered what a swarm of bees is doing huddled up on a tree? Well, this year at orchard we were able to snap some pictures of our bees “Bearding” on the hive.
WHAT ARE THEY DOING?
It’s called bearding, as the bees seem to form a fuzzy beard on the hive and hang out in a cluster. This is a normal activity of bees and even a good sign. This happens in strong colonies as the population is at its height and as the bees are storing and ripening honey at a blinding pace. To keep the honey at correct temperature and allow for airflow in the hive a small number of adult bees will hang out in the front, helping the internal temperature in the hive to stay cool. On many occasions the bees will fan their wings to push cool air into the hive on the hottest days.
Bearding is often a totally healthy sign of a colony working at its peak. It is a sign of a strong colony with a large population and specific purpose to overwinter successfully with enough honey stores to survive the winter. Each hive is different and not every hive will display the same amount of bearding. All hives are different and no two are alike during the season some are established and others are swarms. Some may show bearding, one a bit of bearding and others none. Things to bear in mind when witnessing this are: genetics and overall health of individual hives, how long the colonies have been hived, and how much room they have to keep storing food supplies.
Take a look at some of our Autumn Harvest Orchard, LLC bees bearding.