If you are an amateur beekeeper, you have undoubtedly faced some interesting challenges this season. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that many hives were left to fend for themselves this spring, a time when they still often rely on their beekeepers to provide nourishment. Oddly enough, what many thought would be a challenge ended up benefitting the honey bees, as they had more food available in nature and far fewer humans to deal with during that time.
Now that people are getting back outside, the honey bees are in full work mode, pollinating crops, plants, and flowers to produce the golden nectar we all love so much. As a beekeeper, though, you are far from being on autopilot, quite the contrary, actually. With your bees working harder than ever, it is of the utmost importance you ensure the hive continues to stay healthy so it can continue to produce honey for the rest of the season. To do that, we want to make two quick suggestions to ensure those honey bees stay safe, happy, and productive throughout the summer.
First, make sure you have plenty of ventilation for the hive. If the inside of the hive gets too hot, everything inside could melt, including the honey. This would not only ruin your harvest but also a food supply for the bees to get through the winter. Your hive should allow for a constant flow of air from top to bottom and side to side. This can be accomplished by using screen boards as well as a top entrance for the honey bees. Just be careful, though, as you do not want to create too many openings or openings that are large enough for their natural enemies to enter the hive.
In addition to proper ventilation, you need to make sure there is an ample water supply close by for the honey bees. Bees, just like humans, need fresh water, so placing a birdbath close by that will offer the bees plenty of space for a safe landing is recommended. You can even add objects to the birdbath, such as rocks, so the bees will have more safe spaces to land. Just remember to refresh the water daily so the bees will use it.
Another reason the water is important is that bees will sometimes use this to cool the hive. The bees will take the water to the hive, then hover over the water to create a cool breeze throughout the hive. This is another reason why ventilation is so important to the hive.
Source: Dixon Pilot