Bearding

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Honey bees regulate the internal temperature of the hive to keep it in the mid nineties (°F). Bearding is one of their HVAC tools: On hot days, they may congregate outside to help cool the inside. The beard usually dissipates overnight—for these hives, anyway. You can hear a subdued, calm buzzing if you get close enough to the side; they are not especially aggressive. In a gentle breeze, a thick beard like this pleats a bit like fabric. I also witnessed this hive's beard remain largely in place through the windswept squalls of a nasty thunder storm. (Some beekeepers with a penchant for panache also coax bees into bearding on their faces to entertain onlookers. I remain clean shaven.)