The bees have turned on the air conditioning! Dan went to inspect the hive during our recent heat wave, and found the honey bees were mostly on the outside of the hive. This is known as "bearding" as they are often in the shape of a beard at the entrance. Our bees stayed away from the entrance because it was in direct hot sunlight, and hung out in the shade.
In hot weather, the bees foraging for pollen and nectar will redirect their efforts and collect water to cool the hive. It is estimated that up to one gallon of water can be collected. Bees inside the hive fan their wings across droplets of water. The evaporating water cools the hive. In addition, honey bees will align themselves to fan the air out the entrance. When there are too many bees inside the hive, many will move to the outside and form a "beard". This allows the bees that remain inside to most efficiently cool the brood.
Dan decided that it would be best not to disturb this cooling process by opening up the hive. The good news is that after seeing all of the bees on the outside of the hive, the population is obviously booming!