Questions with Mike Palmer
Mike Palmer Answers Your Questions
Mike Palmer keeps bees at French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans. We are grateful that he has agreed to answer questions on beekeeping in Vermont, his workload permitting.
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Catherine Hughes writes:
It's 57 degrees, grey, 5 pm and quite a few bees are clustered all along the entrance, one clump moving very deliberately around a small mass. (containing what I do know know). They were still there at 7pm when they should be in the hive. I am rather worried. Is this how they expel drones? Seems quite odd. Also, I have 2 honey suppers that I put an escape board under a week ago and bees were still in there 2 days ago and tonight as well. (I peeked). It worked great before. Two mysteries.
Well, I couldn't say what exactly is within the small mass, but you could find out if you would poke it apart with your finger...err...hive tool. Probably nothing. As far as the bearding is concerned, probably quite normal for a strong colony just after the 90 degree day we had two days ago. Today we were feeding mating nuclei, and some had monster beards at 50 degrees and drizzle.
If the escape board doesn't clear the supers in a couple day, I would suspect one of two things. The escape routes are plugged with debris or dead bees, or there is brood in the supers.