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Bee behavior -- drying?


We have had some cool, dark, wet days, followed by some warmer sunny mid60s days here in November in Kansas. At least a portion of my bees are still active on the sunshiny warm days and seem to flock to the apple peels from my fall apple butter and cider making in my compost bin and still use the feeding station I have set up outside the hive.

Yesterday when I checked through the window there was a light fog on the window in a few places indicating some moisture in the hive, probably contributed to by these damp days and temperature swings. My bees are propolis making machines so I’ve let them run their own show and not used the entrance reducer, have the one entrance on the end open, and the bees have propolized the majority of the vent holes.

This morning when the sun hit the entrance and my feeding station many bees flocked to the boards around my feeding station in the sunshine and seemed to be waggling their back sides, and rubbing their legs on their sides and after watching them a bit, they would then take off and return directly to the hive. Perhaps it was just the sun shining on them but they looked wet to me. Could they be removing excess moisture from the hive and drying themselves in the sun?

They do not have misshapen wings, I see no mites, they do not seem to be wandering in a confused manner, it seems to be a deliberate activity of some sort.

Any idea what they are doing?


This sounds pretty normal to me. I would, however, check and make sure there are no leaks in the lid adding to the moisture in the hive. After a hard rain if you prop the lid and see any puddles on the bars this could be from a leak.

Condensation is normal in every hive – it’s just more visible in hives with windows. In hives without, it exists without notice. Bees cleaning, rubbing, etc. at the entrance are pretty normal during cold/wet times. I would confirm, though, they aren’t getting wet from a leak issue.




We enjoyed your state in October, by the way!