This is called 'bearding.'

On hot summer nights with little or no wind, the bugs will hang out on the porch. And on their hive, and on the cinder block that holds the porch and hive up. 

They do it to keep air flowing through the hive. When honey is ripening, it needs to be stored and dried at the correct temperature. The bees know this and will hang out on the front of the hive which helps keep the temperature down inside the hive. If you observe this on a hive, have a closer look. You may see some bees fanning their wings to keep the air moving.

This is totally normal behavior. Some hives show heavy bearding and some show all depends on the strength of the hive.


I got a call for a swarm removal from the city of Itasca. In November of 2014. In 40 degree temperatures.

I met the man from the city onsite and this is what we found! It is a swarm that decided to build an exposed hive underneath the footbridge over Lake Street. I'd never seen one that looked so perfect. It was obvious that with the exposure to the elements, the plummeting winter temperatures coming the very next week, and the fact that when I looked closely at the comb it appeared as though no pollen or honey ('stores') were put away for winter. 

​I left them alone and this colony was gone in a month. 
Early Spring Pollen

I grabbed the camera this spring to take some macro images of the girls bringing in pollen. This is a pretty cool shot of an Italian worker bee who looks like she found some tasty gold pollen.

Pollen is the protein that honey bees need and nectar is the carbohydrates they need.
Rush hour at the entrance to the hive! 

Some bees are coming, some are going and if you look carefully, there is a big drone wandering around in the middle of all the pandemonium. 

This is pretty typical July afternoon action and the kind of thing we beekeepers who get snow dream about in January and February.