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Keeping Bees Cool During the Summer

You’ve done a fantastic job of keeping your bees healthy and growing this year and for that you have hive boxes bursting with bees! Not a bad problem to have, right?

We know bees are incredible creatures that adapt to various temperature conditions with great skill, but how do they actually do that?

Honey bees have 4 wings and the ability to “uncouple” these wings from their bodies, allowing them to move their wings nearly at flight speed 11,400 times per minute while inside the hive!

When a colony needs to “relieve some heat” from inside their box, a number of bees will exit and reside outside on the face of the box. In this group you’ll often see the bees in unison uncouple their wings and begin a concerted effort forcing wind through the entrance by creating a “vortex.” Incredible isn’t it?!

Add a vent for your bees –

As the temperatures rise outside, we will often add a vent for our hives to give them a little help. This isn’t high tech – a popsicle stick, penny or toothpick inserted up under the corners of the lid will do a great job of venting the hive. Just that little amount of space allows heat to escape as well as providing cross ventilation. It is also recommended to take out the tray from under a screened bottom board and remove entrance reducers if you have them. This will really help your bees from having to work so hard to keep their hive cooler.

Water Sources –

As July heats up, it seems like the rain slows down, making the term “dearth” the word of the day.

Water is THE MOST important resource you can ensure for your bees right now! Not only will they use it to cool the hive, but also to thin honey so they can continue to feed the babies after nectar sources have dried up. Watering your bees doesn’t have to be a project. Keeping a water source such as a small stock tank or a smaller vessel with floating objects in it, will stop the bees from having to travel too far to gather this resource.

Remember – The longevity of bees is directly related to the amount of work they do. The harder they work, the quicker they wear out! Keeping resources close by will be your gift to them and they will thank you for it in healthy productivity!

By: Chari Elam

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