Monday, July 27, 2009

bee bearding

"Bearding," what's next? Why does one hive, Kent, have a greater tendency to beard? Kent is followed for three weeks, where 1) bearding (or lack of), 2) outdoor temperature and 3) outdoor relative humidity are logged at 7AM. In contrast to a normally warm July, a cold front creates record low temperatures, extending the range of measured temperatures for analysis. The compact three week data collection period help exclude other annual population/reproduction cycles that Kent may experience. Lastly, the 7AM (approximately dawn--temperature nadir) measurement time is characterized by slowly varying temperature and an absence of sun light striking Kent.

Web: A quick look on the Internet shows that the beekeeping community speculates that the bearding bees implies:
  • lack of ventilation
  • high temperature
  • high humidity
  • crowding--preparation to swarm
Bearding Score: Sometimes I made entries in the log, other times my spouse (voice of reason) made those entries. As seen below, this is the relaxed language found in the log. The bearding is a somewhat binary phenomena, so traditional area units seemed to strict for the log.

  • 0= none(zero)
  • 1= tiny(very little)
  • 2= small(some)
  • 3= small (some) to medium
  • 4= medium
  • 5= medium to lots
  • 6= lots
Bearding versus Temperature: At Kent, bearding begins at ~61 °F and bearding increases with increasing temperature. A few points are not in agreement with the linear fit. For example, a zero bearding point is seen with a temperature of 70 °F. This point follows a day with a 5 inch rainfall.

Bearding versus Humidity: Surprisingly, no relationship between bearding and humidity is found. In other words, along the humidity axis, there is no bearding (bubble size) trend.

Bearding versus other theories:Lastly, Kent has not swarmed--so far. All hives have the same screened bottom board and the same inner cover to outer cover gap. In other words, Kent likes to beard for reasons I do not completely understand.

1 comment:

Smoothape said...