One of my hives had been showing signs of overcrowding. There were always bees hanging out on the front of the hive, even on cool mornings.. Since I paid good money for them I want them to hang around.
Hoping to score some honey this year I had added a medium super (bee box) and a queen excluder to the hives.
The apparent overcrowding caused me concern that the ladies might swarm, taking Her Majesty with them.
My mentor Jerry told me to take the excluders off and give her room to make more bees. That would give the hive something to do besides get ready to move out (swarm). The other morning I did just that.
Next day there was still the apparent overcrowding as there were still bees hanging out outside the hive in the morning.
Looking again at the hive I remembered that this hive has a solid base board where the other hive has a screened base which allows for ventilation.
I had thought about ventilation for this hive and had built a ventilation box. With nothing to lose except almost $200 worth of bees I put the ventilation box on the other night.They were unhappy about me pulling the roof off and several ladies came and told me so. I didn’t get sting but the message was clear.
Next day I went into the hive to make sure that there were no queen cells being made. There were not so my fear that they were getting ready to swarm turned out to be unfounded. Her Majesty popped up while I was looking around which is always a pleasure to see.
The ventilation box and the removal of the queen excluder was the answer. There are no longer big clusters of bees hanging out.
Here is what the ventilation box looks like on the hive.