For the bees, summer is an excellent time to grow the colony and to make honey! An interesting fact about bees is that during the summer months, the queen will produce what is called a "summer bee." These bees are, without a doubt, the hardest working bees that the queen will produce year-round. Their only jobs are to forage and scavenge for critical hive resources: nectar, pollen, and water. Because they work so hard, these bees typically only live for around 2-3 weeks, but don't worry, because a healthy queen can lay up to 3000 eggs per day!
During the summer, it is essential that beekeepers keep a watchful eye on the size of a bee colony - with the queen laying so many eggs, it's easy for a hive to become too full. In this case, you will need to give them more room, so consider adding a super (box designed for honey making) or if you're feeling ambitious, add another brood box (chamber where the queen lays eggs). The worst thing that can happen if a hive gets too crowded is a swarm. Trust me, you do not want a swarm. Another common occurrence during the hot summer months is bearding. Bearding is a beekeepers' term that describes when the temperature within a hive becomes too hot, so a crowd of bees will migrate to the front of a hive and begin flapping their wings - essentially acting as the hives air conditioning system. It's really cool to be able to see this in action, but what's cooler is being able to listen to this. Even from a distance, you're able to hear the "hum" produced by the rapidly beating wings of the bees fanning the hive. If you see a bearding hive, don't be alarmed and don't assume that it's a swarm. If a hive was actually swarming, you would see thousands of bees swirling in front of the hive colliding into one another.
In the summer, bees have the potential to make loads of honey! By ensuring that your hives are happy and healthy, you can almost guarantee a successful honey harvest. Make sure to give your bees ample space to grow...I discussed the consequences of not doing this in the paragraph above. Always be on the lookout for pests - hive beetles can become especially bad in hot weather. Always check your bees for varroa mites - these pests live on the bees and are a reddish brown color. Having varroa mites in your hive is a quick and easy way to accelerated hive collapse. If you notice that your bees are slow to make wax, consider placing a sugar-water feeder on top...this provides bees with the essential ingredients to make wax. The summer is one of the best seasons to see your bees in action, so don't miss out on seeing the intricacies that your hives have to offer! Don't be afraid to get out and mess with your hives, but always be mindful of their home and their space!