Bees are quite remarkable creatures. A typical bee colony can have up to 60,000 members. That means that during sweltering summer days, things can burn up inside a hive. However, even then, we do not see melted honeycombs or unconscious bees. This is because bees have some incredible ways of keeping themselves cool.
Surviving in the Summer
First, the location of the hive serves as the primary mode of protection from heat. Naturally, when left to nature, bees make their nest in rock crevices or hollow trees. This is because thick stone or wood layer around the nest double up as a good layer of insulation against rising temperatures.
This works for bee colonies in thick wild forests. However, when we talk about hives in our backyard, the situation is not entirely the same. The trees are not as thick in our yards and do not do much at getting rid of the heat.
Natural Air Conditioning
Bees are so clever that they develop their own air conditioning system in high heat. Bees need a lot of water to dilute the honey, to feed the developing larva, and to maintain optimal humidity.
So, during hot weather, the entire colony dedicates themselves to the collection of water. Every bee goes hunting for water instead of collecting nectar. Small droplets are placed on the honeycomb surface by the bees. These surfaces are typically made of tiny depressions in the wax or empty cells. After that, they simply cool down the surrounding air by evaporating the water by fanning their wings.
Bees have an incredible optimum temperature maintaining system. However, for this, they must do a lot of work. For instance, to get rid of the cold during the winter, the bees huddle together. They keep the hive warm by staying together and vibrating their wings to generate heat.
When it comes to getting rid of the heat, they do the exact opposite. This leads us to a phenomenon called “bearding”. The term bearding gets its name from the shape that is formed by the bees.
Another simple yet effective trick bees adapt to cool off their colonies is by leaving the hive; well, at least some of them. Any bee which is not taking care of the queen or air conditioning the hive leaves it. It merely hangs outside the hive to make it less crowded and eventually helping in cooling it. The shape that this gathering of bees takes on is the shape of a beard. Therefore, the entire phenomenon is called bearding.
Other essential bee workers stay back to attend to the queen, work at the hive, and take care of the young ones.
Although bees have unusual ways of taking care of the heat, you can help them cool off too. You can put water in a feeder jar nearby so that when the bees go looking for water, they do not have to go far.
AB’s Honey is a one-stop-shop for pure and quality honey produced by Australian beekeepers. Feel free to visit our online honey shop and call us at +61 7 3823 4576 to know more about our honey jars and honey products.