There are some ways you can help to support your bees during the extreme heat of the summer months. This is especially important because the summer is critical to the bee’s success during the fall, winter, and early spring. They are hard at work finding nectar to store and turn into honey.
Honeybees work best with a warm hive, but you don’t want your colony to overheat. Proper ventilation is a great way to protect your hives from the summer heat and the overwhelming humidity and condensation it might bring.
Bees have incredible wings that can beat at a rate of over 12,000 beats per minute. When hundreds of worker bees start beating their wings altogether, they create a pretty significant breeze. That is how they encourage fresh, cool air to come.
Here are 3 easy tips for protecting your bees from the extreme heat this summer:
1. Use screen doors
We use screen doors in our houses to let in the comfortable summer breeze without welcoming unwanted insects. You can do the same thing with your beehives by installing screened boards. These boards let the air rise and go through your beehive. It provides much-needed ventilation as the air gets warmer and more humid in summer.
2. Let air flow through the top
You have to provide an escape for all that hot air at the top. Add upper entrances or use a notched inner cover to let the air rise up and through the hive. This will help your bees enter and exit the beehive
3. Fill a water dish, just like you would do for your pet
Like all animals, bees need food, water, and shelter.
Grab a dish and put it outside on a table with corks or stones in it. It’s a simple way to fill it up every time you walk past it. Honeybees are good learners, and once they find a water supply, they will return regularly.
Remember: bees cannot swim! They must be able to stand where it is dry and drink.
But how could you understand that your bees are struggling during the heat?
The answer is simple: your bees may become aggressive.
In the hot months, bees become more aggressive because they are working harder. When the hive’s internal temperatures can rise to excessive levels and the hive population is so great, bees make their way out and cluster in huge numbers outside the hive where they can try to escape from the heat and remain cool. You might be in their way or they may think you’re a threat.
One of the best tips for giving hives adequate ventilation this summer is to trust your bees. Honeybees are wonderful creatures that know how to take care of themselves. They are experts at managing their temperature, and they don't always need your help. Don't check the hive too much to ruin the honeybee's productivity. Instead, try to give them the resources they need - like a clean, safe water source and some shade on particularly sunny days - and let them do what they do best.
A portion of every purchase at Bee Kind Shop is donated to Pollinator Partnership and other non-profit organizations that help save bee colonies around the globe.