Why are my bees clustering in the rain

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Heath

Gold
9
1
Coromandel
Experience
Beginner
I am a new beekeeper, 3 years, 5 hives.
This morning in Coromandel after a lot of rain overnight one hive had a big cluster of drenched bees over the front of the hive and hanging down in a clump.
I have been into these hives in the last week checking for queen cells. This hive consists of a full brood box, 5 frames of brood, a 3/4 box half full off honey and a 3/4 box of undrawn frames.
There was a break in the rain this evening so I went and swept the cluster into a box and dropped back into the top of the hive.
I guess there was three cups of bees sitting out in the weather.
What does this mean?
 

Mark Lawrence

Founder Member
Gold
47
67
Christchurch
Experience
Breeder
I am a new beekeeper, 3 years, 5 hives.
This morning in Coromandel after a lot of rain overnight one hive had a big cluster of drenched bees over the front of the hive and hanging down in a clump.
I have been into these hives in the last week checking for queen cells. This hive consists of a full brood box, 5 frames of brood, a 3/4 box half full off honey and a 3/4 box of undrawn frames.
There was a break in the rain this evening so I went and swept the cluster into a box and dropped back into the top of the hive.
I guess there was three cups of bees sitting out in the weather.
What does this mean?
Is it warm up where you are? They may just be cooling off by "bearding" at the entrance.
 

frazzledfozzle

Founder Member
9,073
7,915
Nelson/Tasman District
Experience
Commercial
Intersperse the indrawn frames with the drawn and filled frames they will be much more inclined to start drawing them out.
if they are plastic frames have you made sure there’s plenty of wax on them ?

The Hive will be full of bees and honey if you can’t split them or get them busy drawing frames they will probably start preparing to swarm
 
3,519
6,587
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Why hives hang out can be a bit of a mystery. If they are to full then they will definitely hang out but they will also do so when they are empty. High-temperature and especially high humidity the main cause. In your area the honey flow comes on a lot earlier than most of the country and it can be full on at this time of year but will be completely finished by about Christmas. If the flow is on at the moment then I would just swap the un-drawnbox with the drawn box which will force the issue. Inter spacing the combs as Frazz suggested will also work . Bees hanging out is usually a good sign , I would be a lot happier with mine at the moment if they were strong enough to do so but they are getting close to it and our main flow is a lot later down here.
Without seeing your hive it's really impossible to tell why they are hanging out but bees only control the climate in the part of the hive they are using and sometimes when you put a new box on they can act like it's not even there. Undersupering solves this problem and does no harm as long as the hive is strong enough.
 
8,670
5,141
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
seen pics of a few hives hanging out at the moment. we have this high humidity weather roll in lately, and with fresh nectar in the hive the hives humidity may be getting to high.
yes, undrawn frames act as a block, so they can cause overcrowding lower down. as mentioned either alternating with existing frames can help, but also laddering (put drawn comb up the centre) can help draw them up.
 


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