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  • Bee fanning inside the hive

  • General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #8216  by AndrewLD
 13 Jul 2020, 08:11
In the cool evening of a sunny day we will have all noted bees fanning inside the hive but it wasn't until last night that I realised quite how powerful that fanning can be. The OMF's are sitting on top of Vita-Europe Apishields (I know it's not the usual configuration but that's another story).
The only open air space to the hive is at the rear; the gap between the Apishield and the OMF (front entrances are either minimum due to wasps or medium (standard for me).
The first thing I noticed (thanks to a tip from Randy Oliver) was that there was a circulation in process - airflow out on one side was strong and air was clearly being sucked in on the other. I was so intrigued I got a probe thermometer and measured the differential temperatures - out was 25 degC and in was 18 degC, a gain of 7degC ! I think the reason for this fanning is drying out the nectar but what is remarkable about this directional airflow is that the hives are warm way so one would think the frames are obstructing the airflow
This finding begs a number of questions - how do the bees manage on a closed floor or in a tree with only a limited entrance?
Is the Apishield restricting the airflow too much if it is fitted as Vita-Europe recommend (as a replacement floor)? I no longer leave them on over winter and have now adopted the practice of only putting them on when the wasp problem starts.
Thoughts on this gratefully received.......
 #8226  by Steve 1972
 13 Jul 2020, 16:13
I have never witnessed the air flow as you mention but I know when the bees have the air conditioning switched on as they sound like they have a little 2stroke engine inside revving away.
 #8227  by NigelP
 13 Jul 2020, 18:03
Some of the old books talk about using a candle, flame is sucked in at one side of entrance and blown out at the other. These were bees on solid floors with entrance only means of airflow
Tree idea but interesting point.
Me...when it's really hot I take the top blocks out of the abelo supers...seems to do the job judging by the warm air coming out of them late evening during a good flow. If hot weather persists for a few weeks they start using them as extra entrances.
 #8230  by Patrick
 14 Jul 2020, 00:18
Bees cope with temperature and humidity regulation in assorted natural and unnatural abodes in Africa, Australia, Northern Europe, Canada and everywhere in between.

Temperate old UK must be a walk in the park. Yes they occasionally have to go outside to cool down a while - rather like wedding guests at a late reception after the DJ puts on “C’mon Eileen” - but otherwise they keep it remarkably consistent.

People always worry about the perceived inadequacies of traditional hives and their manifest unsuitability based on a selective analysis of feral bees in tree cavities and often a perjorative, selective and generalised description of modern beekeeping.

Which conveniently ignores what bees swarming actually do - if they locate a vacant hive or or one left as a bait hive, it gets nabbed pretty damn sharpish. Not just one type of hive - pretty much any type of hive or nucleus. So based on what bees actually do not what we think they should do, most hives suit them pretty well apparently. Which is just great. :)
 #8242  by AndrewLD
 14 Jul 2020, 17:26
I too have heard the stories of bees living in an oil barrel in Africa (Clive de Bruyn) but that's not quite what I am looking at here.
I hadn't appreciated the powerful airflow generated by the bees, so precisely as to lose 7degC on what was a 21 degC day - and that is what made me wonder just how important airflow is in the hive.
My immediate interest is in the Vita Europe Apishield because it really doesn't have much ventilation at all - the holes on the side are constricted by cones, leaving just 4 holes at the back. I left them on one winter and vowed never to do that again. Now I am wondering if they are a liability during the honey flow and to recommend leaving them off until the honey is removed (i.e. beginning of August).
At the moment, no Asian hornets in sight but they are doing really well against wasps. I had forecast a bumper wasp and hornet year for 2020. I am certainly seeing the wasps out in force early but our local hornets seem to be at normal levels. I was literally eyeball to eyeball with one just the other day - just an early worker nothing to worry about.