Hot Weather! What about the bees?
Having received an email from our local #beekeepers association, (the monthly e-mag), there was also a side note which caught my eye!
Yet another change in the weather! If we get the 30°C forecast #bees in hives in full sunlight would almost certainly be struggling to keep a regulated temperature for the colony during the middle of the day. Rigging up temporary shading would be a ‘kindness’.
Bees have survived happily for millions of years in much harsher conditions than that of the British Isles, (British weather and harsh in the same sentence, do not find that often), however on second reading, the phrase ‘regulated temperature’ does resonate somewhat.
Bees regulate the temperature of the hive, to cool it on hot days they excrete water whilst in the hive and fan their wings to distribute the liquid water, as the water evaporates it cools the surrounding air, not the same as air conditioning but the core principle is the same.
This is one of a long list of bee activities that demonstrate how amazing they are, they keep the hive’s core temperature at a constant, irrespective of the outside temperature, (Provided they have enough food, water and bees in the colony of course).
So the question is not one of will the bees survive? Of course they will, the question is, at the end of a month where nectar flow usually dips for a while, do you also want your bees distracted from nectar gathering and also using up greater reserves of honey to fuel cooling activity?
On another note! It is also worth checking that your water sources used by your bees, if needed, are topped up with clean fresh water.
In any case I’ve covered up the hives this week, utilising some spare insulation boards to ensure overhead sun does not directly heat the hives. The cover board does not need to be white to keep the hives a little cooler, in fact I am hoping that the silver reflects the heat to a degree or two.
I’ve also placed two batons on top of each hive roof so their is an air gap between the hive roof and the insulation board, this will ensure I do not inadvertently insulate the roof surface directly causing the heat to build up inside the hive roof cavity.
For those sharp eyed folk! Yes the boards are offset, The hive fronts face East, South, East, so the board was offset a little to ensure the maximum shade as the sun moves across the apiary.