We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Beard of Bees?

M.C. Huguelet
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term beard of bees has two possible meanings. In its first sense, it refers to a phenomenon in which bees hang from the side of a hive in a beard-like formation. It is believed that this behavior is caused by the buildup of excess heat within a hive. A beard of bees can also refer to the practice, most common among bee experts and thrill-seekers, of allowing a very large number of bees to sit on the body, sometimes as part of a competition.

For many beekeepers and biologists, the term beard of bees usually refers to a behavior in which bees emerge from a hive and then drape down from its side by clinging to one another. This hanging buildup of bees gives the hive the appearance of having a beard. Bee experts believe that this kind of bee beard is a natural behavior that occurs when the inside of a hive has become too hot. By hanging outside of the hive, the bees allow themselves and their hive to cool down. They generally return to the inside of their hive once their temperature has dropped.

To some people, a beard of bees is a kind of extreme sport or stunt in which an individual allows a large number of bees to rest on his body. Creating this kind of beard involves placing a queen bee in a cage and then attaching the cage below one’s chin. When bees smell hormones given off by their queen, they instinctively gather around her. Therefore, when a queen is placed near a person’s chin, the bees of that queen’s hive gather on and around that individual’s chin to protect the queen. When the caged queen is removed, the bees follow her and the beard disperses.

Often, this type of beard of bees is formed as part of a competition. Contestants in such competitions are usually judged by the total weight of the bees that come to rest on their bodies. Competitors may attract bees to the chin, neck, and face areas only, or may allow their entire bodies to be covered by the insects. Bee “beards” which cover the entire body can weigh more than 50 pounds (22 kg). While many people find the notion of bee bearding frightening, bearding enthusiasts hold that as long as bees are kept calm during the process, they tend not to sting.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
M.C. Huguelet
By M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide range of publications, including WiseGeek. With degrees in Writing and English, she brings a unique perspective and a commitment to clean, precise copy that resonates with readers. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By fify — On Sep 09, 2013

I was in the audience of a beard of bees contest a few weeks ago. It was the craziest thing I've ever seen.

There were two contestants, both of whom were professional beekeeper. They each hung the queen bee on their head and let the bees swarm them. Whoever got the most bees and could keep them on their body the longest won the contest.

The contestants didn't seem scared, the audience was more scared than they were. There were a lot of bees, several hundreds for sure.

By SarahGen — On Sep 08, 2013

@ddljohn-- When the beards start getting very long and occur more and more frequently, I believe it means that the hive is getting too overcrowded. That's why they're so hot and need to go out to cool down.

You can help them out by ventilating the hive. I put holes in the hive for this purpose. If you can pull the hive lid back and let more air inside, do that as well.

By ddljohn — On Sep 08, 2013

I understand that it's normal for bees to hang from the side of the hide, but is it also normal for the "beards" to get very big? The beards I've been seeing on our hives are at least seven inches. My wife and I started bee hives last year and are fairly new at this. Do we need to do anything about the bee beards?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet
Cate Huguelet, a Chicago-based freelance writer with a passion for storytelling, crafts engaging content for a wide...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.