How does weather affect a honey bee colony?

June 22, 2022

How does weather affect a honey bee colony?

During the spring time in the prairies and BC the weather can fluctuate a lot. One day you can feel the summer heat coming and then you get stretches of wet and cool weather. The fluctuating temperatures can affect a honey bee colony in many different ways. 

Rainy and cool weather

In the spring we can get a lot of rain. Rain keeps honey bees inside the hive so they do less foraging. Although, bees can still fly during light showers, but not in heavy rain. Spring feeding is important during the spring because of times of dearth and when the weather doesn't permit the honey bees to forage.

  • It can slow down the tree and shrub development which means later blooms for most flowering shrubs and fruit bearing trees. This means less nectar and pollen sources for the bees to bring in.
  • Continuous showers and heavy rain wash away pollen and flowers need different amounts of heat to produce nectar. This can mean there is little for the bees to forage until it replenishes.
  • Increased humidity and dampness, can increase the chance of mold developing inside the hive if there isn't proper ventilation.
Tip: If stormy, windy weather is in the forecast, your hives should be secured so they don't topple over. Heavy rocks can be used on top of a hive cover to provide weight. If there are high winds, you can use straps to secure boxes together. 


Hot and dry weather

We all love hot summers, but too much heat can mean different things for our bees. Heat affects crops, water sources and so much more that affect honey bee colonies. Hot weather can affect colonies by:

  • reducing the amount of  water sources during periods of extreme heat. This is when beekeepers need to make sure there’s plenty of water sources nearby for the hive for the bees to access.
  • You might see bearding on the hive! And this is okay. It's not to be confused with swarming. The bees collect on the outside of the hive to increase air flow and control the temperature inside the hive to make sure they do not overheat the brood.
  • Heat can make your bees a bit cranky and they may become more aggressive.
  • This can also attract unwanted pests that are also hungry looking to either eat the bees or the nectar the bees are working so hard to produce

Tip: Screened bottom boards can be helpful to make sure there is enough airflow going through the hive



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