And the brutal heat has returned along with bearding. Blue-clad Annabelle began yesterday morning seeming to audition for ZZ Top and as the temperature climbed to one hundred degrees Fahrenheit the cluster of bees only grew ever larger. Meanwhile Beatrix, au naturel except for the aluminum foil covering her roof, had at most only a few bees around each entrance during the worst of the day. This is quite the opposite of last Monday when she bearded much more heavily than Annabelle. Taking it as a testimony to the efficacy of a shiny roof, we covered Annabelle’s this morning (and evicted some paper wasps from her attic) and now at ninety-one Fahrenheit she displays the merest goatee and Beatrix no bearding at all.

We have seen recommendations for black hive roofs in areas with severely cold winters and white hive roofs for areas with extremely hot summers. With Michigan’s "temperate" climate providing us some days of both it does not seem as if a single color will do year-round.