Summer is creeping ever-closer, which means our beloved honey bees will soon be facing intense heat and humidity. As much as we enjoy the warm sunshine, it can cause a lot of damage to your beehives if you’re not careful. If a honey bee colony gets too hot, it will stop producing honey, and the queen will stop laying eggs. Extreme temperatures can also cause the honey inside your hive to melt and drop from the frames, ruining your potential harvest and putting your bees in danger. Your honey bees know how to fan themselves to cool down the hive’s interior, but they can’t always do it on their own. Lend them a helping hand with this guide on how to keep a beehive cool and comfortable in the summer.
KEEP THEM HYDRATED
All creatures need water to survive. Your honey bees need a reliable water source not only for hydration, but also to cool the hive. Worker bees will collect water and bring it back to the hive, where other workers will fan it with their wings to help it evaporate and cool the air. As always, it’s important to keep a safe water source near your hive. Make sure it’s shallow enough that your honey bees can land safely without risk of drowning. Keep an eye on your water source throughout the summer. If you don’t see your honey bees hanging out there, you might need to find a better source for them.
MAKE ROOM FOR AIR FLOW
One of the best tips for how to keep a beehive cool and comfortable in the summer is to allow plenty of air flow. There are a few ways to create better ventilation in your hive: you can add a screened bottom board to let in air while keeping pests out. You might also add an upper entrance so that heat can rise up and out of the hive. Whatever you do, be sure to keep an eye out for pests, predators, or robbers from other hives.
ENJOY THE SHADE
Direct sunlight causes your hive to heat up fast—faster than your honey bees might be able to handle. Even a little dappled shade from nearby trees can make a huge difference in your hive’s internal temperature. Before summer arrives, consider your hive’s location and look for any natural shade you can provide. If there isn’t any, you can simply install an umbrella or other form of shade whenever the weather calls for extreme temperatures.
Summer is peak honey bee season, full of sunny days and busy bees making honey that you’ll soon get to harvest. Whether you’re gearing up for another great season or stepping into your first summer as a beekeeper, Kelley Beekeeping is here to help. With our beehive starter kits and hive supplies, we have everything you need to make this summer a sweet success.