Saturday, August 3, 2013

How Bees Beat the Heat

It gets kind of hot here this time of the year and it's always entertaining to see what the bees do to beat the heat.  

The inside of the hive where the brood is stays around 90 degrees all the time, but the hives are in full sun and on really hot days, the temp inside gets a lot hotter. 

So the bees come out and hang around on the shady sides of the hive.  It's called 'bearding'.

Look closely at this pic to see them hanging in festoons under the landing board.  It's cooler down there.

The ones on the landing board and sides are doing a dance called 'washboarding' that looks an awful lot like they're scrubbing the floor.  The rest of the bees are gathering pollen and nectar or inside fanning things down to keep the temp regulated on the brood and to evaporate the nectar down into honey.    It sounds like an air conditioner fan running when you stand next to the hive.

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