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Swarming or bearding?



In my tbh i noticed today that a large fraction of the bees (roughly half) was clumping on the outside near the entrance. I am not sure if this is sign of a swarm or just bearding. It was very hot here today, so I am hoping they were just outside to cool off. In terms of space, the hive was about a third filled with comb, a third open, and a third behind the follower board. There were plenty a bees still inside the hive. I expanded the space by putting the follower board all the way at the end. Only two entrance holes are open, so maybe it just to hot inside.

Any thoughts or help on what is going on and what to do?


Froney Crawford



It is now early the next day, the clump is mostly gone (but a small clump of bees remain on the outside near the entrance). The large clump was still there last night after dark. I suspect that the hive cooled and they went back in early this morning. If it were a swarm, wouldn’t the whole clump have moved off?



What’s the temperature/humidity like there right now? It’s likely just bearding due to heat. I’d not worry too much about it. Is the vent hole open? Sometimes they use them, other times they seal them shut. Just make sure they’ve got at least 3-5 bars of empty space available.




If they swarmed it is likely the clumping would be minimized or gone entirely.



Thanks for the reply. Yes, it is hot here today again (95+ degrees). The clump looks much less like a swarm now, just a bunch of bees hanging out, and there are fewer of them out than yesterday, so I think it is not a swarm after all (which is good!). The vent holes are open near the top and 4 of the 6 entrance holes are now open. I now have the entire hive accessible, whereas before I had only about 5 or so empty bars accessible.