Checking the Hive and Bearding :
Checking the Hive -We have had the bees for a few months now, and it is very important to check the hive every week to two weeks to make sure the hive is healthy. What you are looking for to determine if your bees are happy are frames filled with capped brood, larvae, eggs, honey and pollen. You will also want to check and see if you can find the queen, she is fast so if you don't see her every time don't worry, you can look for her next time. If you see the eggs you know she is in there. Healthy larvae will be a nice white color if you see them yellowed it could be the sign of foul brood. The capped brood are bees that are ready to immerge and be part of the hive. When a bee comes out of it's cell, its first job is to clean the cell and preparing it for the queen to lay a new egg and for the process to start over again.
Bearding - When we first saw this outside of our hive, we thought the bees were swarming. Here in Tennessee, we are already having temperatures in the 90's and in order for the hive to keep a constant temperature, the bees will leave the hive and gather around the entrance leaving just the nurse bees to care for the larvae, a few bees to cool the hive and care for the queen. There are a few options you can do to help your bees stay cool in the hot weather, one is to make sure they have a good water source. Bees will use water on the comb and fan it with their wings as a form of cooling. Another option is to use ventilation. You can buy ventilated super frames or do what we did, which is to put a small piece of wood between the outer cover and the inner cover, don't make to large of an opening so small animals don't get in.
I hope you enjoy our posts and feel free to share your beekeeping stories with us!