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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    McLeansville NC
    Posts
    448

    Post

    I have a few questions about orientation flights.

    1.
    a. Are the bees that are seen orienting themselves to the hive each afternoon the nurse bees that are starting into the foraging stage of life?
    b. Or are they newly hatched bees?

    2. Is the number of bees seen orienting to the hive representative of the number of bees that hatch during a 24 hour period?

    3. How many orientation flights are taken by a single bee before they are settled and begin work as a foraging bee?
    Ron

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    I'm guessing from what I've watched in my observation hive and the fuzzyness of new bees etc.

    >1.
    a. Are the bees that are seen orienting themselves to the hive each afternoon the nurse bees that are starting into the foraging stage of life?

    No.

    b. Or are they newly hatched bees?

    Sort of. They are more than just hatched but less than foragers.

    >2. Is the number of bees seen orienting to the hive representative of the number of bees that hatch during a 24 hour period?

    I'm guessing more like two or three days worth.

    >3. How many orientation flights are taken by a single bee before they are settled and begin work as a foraging bee?

    I don't know. Judging by queens, which I've paid more attention to and can sort out from the foragers better, they probably do it for two or three days.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,072

    Post

    -- Are the bees that are seen orienting themselves to the hive each afternoon the nurse bees that are starting into the foraging stage of life?

    The bees you see performing orientation flights in front of the hive are non-foraging bees (those younger than 20 days). These are the entrance orientation flights where they learn the smell, and get to know the entrance location of the colony before beginning to forage

    -- Or are they newly hatched bees?

    Non foragers, younger than 20 days.

    -- Is the number of bees seen orienting to the hive representative of the number of bees that hatch during a 24 hour period?

    No, the bees may remain nurse bees longer depending on the colonies needs (division of labor) so the numbers orientating may vary from time to time and on weather conditions.

    -- How many orientation flights are taken by a single bee before they are settled and begin work as a foraging bee?

    Bees may take several flights lasting 5 to 10 minutes flying in an arc in facing the entrance. But these aren’t the only orientation flights bees take. The bees steadily increase the size of the arcs, and then begin circling in ever increasing flights to learn land marks used for navigation out over 100 meters or more. These bees always return a few minutes later, and always without nectar or pollen.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    LV, NV
    Posts
    28

    Post

    --Bees may take several flights lasting 5 to 10 minutes flying in an arc in facing the entrance. But these aren’t the only orientation flights bees take. The bees steadily increase the size of the arcs, and then begin circling in ever increasing flights to learn land marks used for navigation out over 100 meters or more. These bees always return a few minutes later, and always without nectar or pollen.

    how do you know, joe? did somebody put a bee tracker on or dissect the returning bees? bees are fascinating!

    -dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,072

    Post

    Orientation behavior was long known by naturalists, but Becker (1958), was the first to learn about long distance homing, and that bees learn large scale landscape features used for homing. Recently, researchers used harmonic radar to record flight paths of displaced bees. They continued the experiment by capturing bees after only a single orientation ‘first flight‘, and compared them to ‘forager’ bees that knew the terrain.

    All released bees were capable of orientating homewards when in the vicinity of landmarks near the hive. When bees were released out of sight of these landmarks (hence forcing them to rely on a route memory), the 'first-flight' bees were confused and sometimes got lost, but the forager bees were consistently oriented homewards.

    This finding suggests a rich, map-like organization of spatial memory in navigating honey bees learned by large scale orientating flights.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    LV, NV
    Posts
    28

    Post

    that's absolutely amazing. thanks for posting the great info!

    -dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    LV, NV
    Posts
    28

    Post

    that's absolutely amazing. thanks for posting the great info!

    -dave

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