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Hiveanidea 

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An early evening visit to my apiary today thinking ‘they’ll have had a good day on the ivy’. As l approached closer across the field l could hear fanning and thought ‘blimey that’s loud’, it must have been really good! What l saw next took my breath away. There were several large clumps of bees outside of the hives, some on the sides and some under floors forming beards. It was dusk with the moon up, no wind and about 10 degrees - what were they thinking about! Can you shed some light on this behaviour?
I’ve just been back in the dark with a red torch and they are still there. I counted seven individual clusters of bees, now hardly moving in tight bearded clumps with the exception of those outside the entrance of one hive with a clear way in but preferring to camp out in the chilly night, now 9 degrees. I got the feeling that they were all from the same hive as no other entrance showed any activity……..surely not a swarm?? Have you ever seen anything like it…in October!2986C19C-8DC2-4CF9-AF09-17E884862E24.jpegA93AC133-2563-44B9-9602-CA0C95664B38.jpegCDB3085B-73DC-4C49-B287-BA20A7B1E1CB.jpeg
 
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understanding_bees 

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An early evening visit to my apiary today thinking ‘they’ll have had a good day on the ivy’. As l approached closer across the field l could hear fanning and thought ‘blimey that’s loud’, it must have been really good! What l saw next took my breath away. There were several large clumps of bees outside of the hives, some on the sides and some under floors forming beards. It was dusk with the moon up, no wind and about 10 degrees - what were they thinking about! Can you shed some light on this behaviour?
I’ve just been back in the dark with a red torch and they are still there. I counted seven individual clusters of bees, now hardly moving in tight bearded clumps with the exception of those outside the entrance of one hive with a clear way in but preferring to camp out in the chilly night, now 9 degrees. I got the feeling that they were all from the same hive as no other entrance showed any activity……..surely not a swarm?? Have you ever seen anything like it…in October!
I share your amazement. Have you been able to check on how much honey they have already stored? Do you need to give them another super?
 

Ian123 

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Have you got maqs or thymol treatments on atm?
 

Hiveanidea 

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They all have good store weight and no current/feeding/additive or treatment. In the light of day it can only be temperature regulation l think, despite being ‘Autumn’. It was a vertical split with a lovely queen and has become a strong colony - but unlike my other vertical splits that were mostly united to lower boxes, except for the double nuc, this one is still in the penthouse and therefore has no OMF ventilation. The strange thing is, they haven’t done anything like this before, especially now when the night temperatures are much lower. It’s been a misty night, now down to 7 degrees at dawn and the sun will soon be up. I’m going to check on them now.
 

Erichalfbee 

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They are warm and processing nectar so some bees are out to make room.
 

Patrick1 

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Can’t work that one out for this time of year, two observation come to mind if you ignore the time of year, overcrowding probably the most common one, the other could be poor fitting kit, one of the photos shows a lot of bees around the joint top of brood box between kit. The ones under the floor are behaving like they have been separated from the queen ?
 

Newbeeneil 

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There seems to have been so very strange clustering on hives this year. I saw a similar situation to yours posted on my BKA whatsapp.
I maintain hives on a balcony of a 3 storey building and bees were seen in large clusters on plate glass windows about 6' below the hive entrances during the day and small clusters were still there the next morning when I arrived to inspect.
 

Hiveanidea 

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I think you may be right IndiBee. A combination of all of those things. The bees are still in tight clusters outside the hive in the same positions and have been there all through a chilly night…..apparently no worse for wear, no dead bees and just waiting for it to warm up a bit more.ABDA22DE-0B79-4578-B24A-24AC366E2546.jpeg
From the photos, it may look as though at least three or four of my colonies have bearded outside for the night, but l still think it was only the vertical split that took this action. The clusters in general may have chosen areas of ‘warmth’ on the closest hives to pitch up. Though why they didn’t just snuggle up together is a bit of a mystery. But what to do now it may get even colder at night soon?!

D940882B-574B-48F0-9E77-184FC7F8EEE4.jpeg534FCAA5-6EDC-41F6-8043-76A11171DA2E.jpeg
 

drdrday 

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I had the same thing with a hive last week. When I went up to vape at dusk, almost 7pm, there was a large cluster of bees hanging around the entrance of one hive. I put it down to them processing nectar, and after a couple of days their clustering had stopped. No thymol products on the hive.
 

hemo 

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If as you think the bees are all from one colony, then then there are a lot of them and for now give them extra space if concerned about the overnight temps. One then may need to think later about removing that space if it goes above the BB.
One would expect the eke now to be filled with wild comb and stores.
 

Swarm 

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What's between the upper brood and super?
 

Boston Bees 

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An early evening visit to my apiary today thinking ‘they’ll have had a good day on the ivy’. As l approached closer across the field l could hear fanning and thought ‘blimey that’s loud’, it must have been really good! What l saw next took my breath away. There were several large clumps of bees outside of the hives, some on the sides and some under floors forming beards. It was dusk with the moon up, no wind and about 10 degrees - what were they thinking about! Can you shed some light on this behaviour?
I’ve just been back in the dark with a red torch and they are still there. I counted seven individual clusters of bees, now hardly moving in tight bearded clumps with the exception of those outside the entrance of one hive with a clear way in but preferring to camp out in the chilly night, now 9 degrees. I got the feeling that they were all from the same hive as no other entrance showed any activity……..surely not a swarm?? Have you ever seen anything like it…in October!View attachment 28701View attachment 28702View attachment 28703View attachment 28704View attachment 28705
Now it's daytime have you checked under each hive to see if there is a stranded cluster of bees there? Can happen if a queen goes astray
 

Hiveanidea 

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What's between the upper brood and super?
It’s a crown board. I was using the super to accommodate a feeder and planned to remove both last night. Do you think l need more room or more ventilation or both?
 

Hiveanidea 

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Now it's daytime have you checked under each hive to see if there is a stranded cluster of bees there? Can happen if a queen goes astray
Temperature should peak early afternoon, it’s almost calm here and showing 16 degrees C already but forecast to cloud over later. I’ll look again after lunch to see where they are. If they are stranded, as you say, what’s the best way to get them back in?
 

hemo 

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Heat (ambient) generally won't be an issue this time of year but if the volume is too little for the number of bees then space is needed to dissipate the extra bees and heat. They were fine one assumes for some time before you posted so some dynamic within has changed, an explosion or influx of bees and simply not enough space for them to occupy or as also been mentioned forage income has increased and the need for room.

I noticed yesterday when removing my feeders all colonies are well stocked numbers wise and the seams were all covered, it has been mild of late and with winter bee production might be a few weeks before the summer bees decline.
 

fizzle 

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I'm thinking to add supers back onto the hives. Inspection yesterday found they have built comb and filled with syrup in the eke. The brood box is packed out with stores and a lot of bees hanging around outside and under the open mesh floor.

I have quiet a few super frames still half full of set honey after extraction along with other frames that were not properly finished off (high water content). Would it be ok to add back on the hives even if fermented?

IMG_20211012_160553.jpg IMG_20211012_162015.jpg
 

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