Not only do the bees do this to cool themselves off, they do it to help maintain the proper temperature inside the hive. Sometimes the best way to regulate the temp in the hive is to shoo warm bodies out. That's why large theaters and opera houses turn the air conditioning on full blast before a performance, they have calculated in advance the rise in air temp caused by a hundred (or thousands) of 98 degree humans.
I think they also can buzz outside the hive, creating air currents through the boxes, to cool the hive and cure nectar.
"Whoa man poor Suzy didn't make it past that windshield but I did! You shoulda see that patch of Clover I told you to follow me...the flowers were HUGE! Yeah well I found a field of Buckwheat and the Queen likes the dark stuff better I'll be her favorite! Hey were all gonna follow you to that Buckwheat Tomorrow so we're all her favorites!"
what you might not see is that inside the hive, many bees align themselves facing in one direction either up or down and fan thier wings, to draw air inside and up to the honey supers, and back down and outside bringing with it the humidity from green nectar being condensed into honey thats their air conditioner system.
many bees align themselves facing in one direction either up or down and fan thier wings, to draw air inside and up to the honey supers, and back down and outside bringing with it the humidity
a story evidently lost on some bee keeping authorities??? they (being my beekeeping mentors) use to do this cool trick with a smoking match and by moving the match along the width of the entrance demonstrate how the bee hive's ventilation system worked.
A interesting story about a lumber mill that caught on fire, and during the course of the fire, flames approach a colony of bees that were within 5 ft of a then flaming wharehouse. The side of the hive closest to the wharehouse cought on fire. A fireman seeing this tossed a bucket of water on the hive and hosed down the side of the wharehouse, knocking down the fire. The Bees were busily fanning, and more importantly were taking water from the puddles created by fire hoses, into the hive, again while some were fanning in others were fanning out. The side of the hive closest to the fire was charred, and fire checked, only the outside of the frame closest to the wall closest to the fire was melted down a bit, the rest was fine. Rather amazing for a insect ehh!