NZBF: Clump of bees outside hive on rainy day

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10
5
Auckland, New Zealand
Experience
Beginner
Hi there,

Can anyone tell me what is going on here please?

We are in Auckland and it has been pretty humid - I thought it had been the heat - but it hasn't been as hot as some of our sunny days.


Thanks,

Georgia
 

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10
5
Auckland, New Zealand
Experience
Beginner
Hi Trevor,

The hive has 3 boxes (2 x brood boxes, 1 x honey super), and there are PLENTY of bees when I have been checking, but also frames with space for the queen to lay. The entrance is fully open.

The bees that are in the clump below the entrance to the hive don't look super flash, but it is a little hard to tell if that is just because they are wet (it's raining today) or are unhappy/sick.

Thanks,

Georgia
 

Bron

Staff member
Platinum
2,924
3,108
Gisborne
Experience
Commercial
Georgia, hi, next fine day have a wee look at the honey super, if they’re waxing the top you might need another honey super on top. All good, sorted!

If when you look at the super and there still seems to have space, then you might need to have a wee look into your brood boxes.
  1. Do you have eggs? Yay! A Queen.
  2. If you don’t have eggs, do you have cells? Has one of them hatched?
  3. Does the bees have the usual number of bees? Great, its not swarmed. Hopefully you’ve got a new Queen. Check for eggs in a week to ten days.
  4. Does the hive have empty cells? If yes, then shut it up and leave them to it, they’re just hot. If no, then are they honey or pollen clogged? See if there’s any frames you can shake, check for the queen and lift into the super, replacing with an empty frame.
This is bees do crazy things time. Mostly they sort themselves out with or without our help. As long as you have eggs and space for the Queen to lay then they pretty well don’t need us 🐝 bothering.

This is pretty simplistic, but as long as you check for eggs or act if you don’t have any then at this time of the year the girls will sort it for you.
 
3,394
6,305
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
High humidity definitely plays a part in bees hanging out the front.
From now on is not that uncommon to find bees hanging out the front, sometimes as a whole apiary and I generally find it means one of two things.
They are either too full or empty.
Full hives hanging out because there are just too many bees to fit inside on a warm day and empty hives hanging out because there are just too many bees doing nothing.
 
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Alastair

Founder Member
8,171
9,408
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
We are in Auckland and it has been pretty humid

Bees use evaporation to cool the hive. High humidity like we've had greatly effects their ability to reduce temperature. It will be pretty common to find bees out the front of well populated hives at this time.

IE if things are hot and crowded, bees have little option but reduce density by having some bees go outside.

If your entrance is not fully open then open it to max will help
 
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Grant

Staff member
Founder Member
Platinum
10,304
4,819
Can anyone tell me what is going on here please?
You have some good answers here but please consider writing regular inspection logs to help with future diagnosis.
 
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10
5
Auckland, New Zealand
Experience
Beginner
Thanks everyone for your helpful responses! I have just opened up the hive & I think that it must just bee humidity related. The hive is absolutely bursting with bees, it looks healthy with plenty of brood & eggs. Honey super is almost full, so have added another super on top.

A few frames in the brood boxes are loaded with pollen - am I able to take these frames out now & replace them? I imagine the bees don't need quite as much pollen in spring/summer...?

I will definitely start to keep a log of my inspections in the future.

Thanks again,

Georgia
 

Alastair

Founder Member
8,171
9,408
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
A few frames in the brood boxes are loaded with pollen - am I able to take these frames out now & replace them?

Yes, but don't be in too much of a rush to do so, more pollen than needed is a rare blessing, and pollen supplies will often start being depleted from now. It can be surprising how fast a pollen clogged brood box can go to one with hardly any pollen, as the season changes.
 
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