Ever seen this?

Discussion in 'Raising Queens' started by Tyro, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    I have a hive that hatched a queen no later than last Wednesday (I saw the virgin during the inspection on Wednesday). So - I know that a mating flight or flights is going to happen sometime in the next week or so.

    Today (Saturday), my wife is outside and notices a cloud of bees around the hive. It wasn't that there were so many bees in the cloud - it was more that the cloud was so spread out. Bees were just sort of lazily flying around the hive - almost like they were out for a Sunday drive. The cloud drifted away from the hive and got larger and larger until it was gone (the bees were so spread out - they didn't compose a 'cloud' anymore).

    I don't know that the bees came from the hive - we only noticed the cloud around and mostly above the hive initially.

    Has anyone ever seen anything like this - does it have anything to do with the mating flight that should be taking place? I thought that it might be the queen returning and bringing the drones - or perhaps the queen leaving for the flight (this occurred around 5pm).

    Thanks for any insights.

    Mike
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Possibly the mating flight, but I would be more apt to think it was orientation flights by young bees learning the neighborhood. They do that normally between 2 and 6 in the afternoon.
     

  3. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    I am fairly certain it wasn't orientation flying. I have seen a lot of orientation flying and when my wife called me out to see it - I expected to see orientation flights. This was very different in at least two ways:

    The speed of the flying and the size/position of the cloud. Every orientation flight I have ever seen, the bees are moving fairly quickly in loops in front of an around the hive, covering an area of maybe 5-10 feet mostly in front of the hive. In this case, bees were making HUGE lazy circles and figure '8's about 10-20 feet over the hive and covering maybe a loop 30 feet in diameter (that got larger as time passed). I have never seen an orientation flight like that.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    yep sounds like the preparation for a mating flight to me. you should have noted whether the flyer were workers or drones? often time a bit 'after' I will notice bees clustering at the front door when the new queen returns. sometime you can even spot her in the crowd.
     
  5. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    tec,

    I did notice some - it was a mix of both. At first, I noticed many drones in the cloud. But after I stood there a bit - there were also some workers. Though - I can't say whether the cloud was more workers or drones.

    Mike
     
  6. larry tate

    larry tate New Member

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    Mating party I bet. We have seen a few. Sometimes she breaks away and flies to the mating area and sometimes comes back to the box either mated or to mate later.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    beyond orientation flights drones generally only leave a hive in numbers for one reason.
     
  8. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    I took a peek into the hive yesterday. There were no eggs (I didn't really expect to see any), but I saw the queen - she still looked like a virgin, but she behaved like a mated queen. Instead of running over the comb as virgins do, she was slowly moving around, checking out cells - she had a court attending her, etc.

    I take that as a good sign that she mated.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I would say definitely yes.
     
  10. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Sounds like it, most virgins are a little runny on the comb.
     
  11. Tyro

    Tyro Member

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    Checked on the 14th - Eggs and a queen were seen - so it all worked out!