Should i be worried?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by JohnT, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. JohnT

    JohnT New Member

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    The past few weeks we have noticed our beehive exhibiting some interesting behavior that is confusing. Specifically, there is a 'normal' activity level for a sunny day where a certain amount of traffic is coming and going and a certain amt of bees hanging out in front. At times however, and we have noticed this several times in the last 2 weeks, the hive becomes VERY active, almost looking like they were getting ready to swarm. It could last an hour, or sometimes the better part of an afternoon, and then it goes very quiet. This last Sunday we had a nice warm afternoon and I looked over at our beehive and it was almost like a cloud of bees hovering above, so I shot this video... about 20 mins later, they went completely quiet... still sunny and warm, plenty of daylight in the day, but just completely quiet. Did they swarm, I was watching the whole time and it seemed like the cloud just slowly disappeared, it didn't seem to head anywhere, but I've never actually seen a swarm leave a hive, so I'm not sure what it would look like anyway.

    I also noticed several workers on the front fanning their wings (see video), which I guess is either practicing flying or spreading phermone / scent? If it was a swarm, is this how they communicate to the others 'hey its time to hit the road?' Since this last incident, they seem especially quiet, but it might just be my imagination. This hive has a young queen (less than 1 yr old), plenty of space for laying in the 2 box brood chamber, and in general, I think a good setup. There are some varroa, but I've been treating w/ powdered sugar and its not a very high level. I have them facing the back fence because I'm trying to force the flight path up and away from my backyard where I have my 1 & 3 yrs old kids. Here is the video from last weekend. My plan is to go in there this weekend and see if I can find any eggs or see the queen. My question is, is this normal for a hive to have these 'waves' of activity or did I just witness half my population leaving?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0o3MqC68Q0
     
  2. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    It's just normal happy busy hive activity. I see even busier stuff at my hives every other day or so, during a certain 'happy hour'. ;)

    It sounds like someone's cooking up some bacon there at the end of the video. mmmm.... lol!
     

  3. JohnT

    JohnT New Member

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    I had to watch the video again to see what that bacon sound was and its the water fountain in our garden! guess its like cooking everything is better with bacon, maybe i should start adding to all my home videos!
     
  4. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Looks like play flights to me. You are probly in a dearth so they dont have much to do right now. The fanning could be spreading pheromonies or it may be a little hotter than normal and they arre trying to cool the hive. I would say they are spreading pheromones since they are doing it on the side of the hive and not only the landing board
     
  5. chiggerbait

    chiggerbait New Member

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    Orientation flights, young bees taking their first flight.
     
  6. hardwood

    hardwood New Member

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    Yepp, orientation flights for sure. You'll notice them start quite close to the entrance and gradually move away up to 10 or so feet in either figure eight patterns or ever widening circles. They will normally face the entrance the entire flight.

    Scott
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    WORRY! why worry?
     
  8. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    Did you notice how the bees sort of fly in a figure 8 pattern around the hive? That usually means you have a whole bunch of bees who have graduated!! They are taking their first flight (orientation flight), exercising their wings, and learning how to identify their hive.
    The bees on the front fanning their wings probably were spreading pheromones since they were also waving their abdomen around.
    I would doubt that they swarmed since you said they didn't appear to all be going anywhere specific.
    When was the last time you got in your hives before this happened?
    Some of the activity you observed could have been cleansing flights too.
    Judging by the movie, it appears that you a have a nice healthy hive just taking advantage of a pretty day!
     
  9. BIGEDDIE

    BIGEDDIE New Member

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    Don't worry,be happy! Thats as normal as can be, i'm surprised you only have so few flying around. Here in Wis. the bees are working goldenrod and I can hear them a hundred yards away and there are thousands of them in the air around my 16 hives by the house.