Ah, air conditioning

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Curious Fact: Although bees like the interior of their hive warm, here in the Southern U.S. they still turn on the air conditioning from time to time. In lieu of electric window units, they fill empty honeycomb with water, then stand at the bottom entrance to the hive and fan their wings to bring cooler air up through the hive and across the water-filled cells for its evaporative cooling effect. Check out those bee-hinds at the entrance to the hive as they turn up that A/C (the camera caught the wings in an up-stroke; to the naked eye, fanning wings look pretty much like a blur).

Adventure Update: We’re planning to fix the hive stands tomorrow, so I went out after dark tonight and closed up the hive to move it to a temporary location a short distance away. Even well after dark, there were many bees standing at the entrance fanning away–apparently, North Carolina is a bit warm for these Russian-blooded gals. It was in the upper 70s today and currently (after 11 pm) around 60 degrees F. I’m sure they didn’t appreciate my closing up all the entrances (and therefore shutting down the A/C) for their move, but I kept it brief, and they went straight back to fanning as soon as they were opened up again.

Here’s the temporary set-up, for one night only (my camera takes decent night photos, eh?):

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That’s the old, way-too-low, stand in the bottom left, and the hive on cinder blocks in upper right. Did you know that cinder blocks are VERY heavy? I found this out trying to bring eight of them home from Lowe’s. Wow.

 

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