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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Julian, NC, USA
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    252

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    I am looking for information on how high bees fly.
    Is there a limit on their ability to access nectar from trees that are extremely tall?
    I would like a height limit as well as a source to corroborate the information.
    Thanks in advance,
    Kurt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    I can give some personal infomation. I live at about 1100 feet in elevation. The mountains and ridge in front of me ranges from 3,000 - 4,000 feet.

    The bloom dates vary by about 4 - 6 weeks from over that 3,000 foot difference. I watch them fly toward the ridge during the blooms. I have seen honey bees working the blooms at all elevations.

    There are a number of people on this site that have worked bees at higher elevations.

    The limiting factor in how high a bee could fly would be the air density and lift they can developed.

    I don't see anu problem as far as tree hieght.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    If you mean elevation, I had a hive at 7,200 feet. [img]smile.gif[/img] If you mean heigth off of the ground, I've seen the cruise straight down the road to the alfalfa field at about four feet off the ground. I'v also seen then head straight up to tree height (50 or 60 feet) and then take off if there were trees between them and their goal.

    As for documeantation, I don't know off the top of my head.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
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    2,277

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    Hi Kurt,

    I've wondered about this too, so last year I took out my binoculars to see if I could see any bees working high up in the tulip poplar trees in my yard. I did! My guess was about they were working in the 50-60 foot range, but I live at or very near sea-level. No references, just personal observation.

    Hope this helps.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,190

    Post

    Most bees fly within 30 feet of ground level or tree level. This is especially true of areas with strong prevailing winds. The wind is moderated by windbreak effects.

    I have seen a report but can't find it right now of bees flying at heights up to 500 feet. This is not normal.

    Brother Adam reported getting heather honey from an apiary located such that bees had to fly uphill about 1200 feet to gather a load then back downhill to the hive.

    Fusion

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    2,072

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    Kurt, Honeybees can fly much higher than they do, but know one knows the upper limit. If you look at the altitude at which bees occur, they get into the Himalayas. So that would suggest that bees can fly thousands of feet above sea level. A limiting factor might be temperature. With thoracic temperature of about 125 F while flying, they may not be able to sustain flight in low temps at high altitudes. One thing interesting, is that bees cannot communicate height, so how honeybees know to go to the top of the 90 foot tulip tree as opposed to the base is something of a mystery.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Julian, NC, USA
    Posts
    252

    Post

    Yes, I am only interested in height from ground level not elevation.
    My understanding is that bees can not access nectar from very tall Tulip Poplar trees and I would like to scientifically verify.
    Thanks for everyones help thus far.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

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    > My understanding is that bees can not access
    > nectar from very tall Tulip Poplar trees and I
    > would like to scientifically verify.

    Tulip Poplar is the first serious nectar source
    here in VA, just like in NC, and I can tell you
    for certain that the bees are happy to visit
    the topmost blossoms in even the giant trees.

    All you need to see it with your own eyes is
    a pair of binoculars (or a kid's telescope)
    and the patience to watch for a while.

    On a windy day, bees will tend to stay low,
    simply because they'd rather not get blown
    into the next county. Perhaps those sort
    of conditions are what prompted the statements
    you heard.

    But there is no tree that a bee cannot fly over
    on a fairly calm day. Bees quickly gain altitude
    to clear the nearest treeline, and can be tracked
    from the hive to verify that they do this in a
    very predictable manner, rather like planes
    taking off from a large airport.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Beverly, Mass
    Posts
    299

    Post

    My bee buddy Tom had a nuc, he would take it with him on business trips (driving of course). He would leave nighttime and check into the highest room possible. He said he stayed on the 42 floor of a hotel and put the nuc on the balcony. The bees would fly up to the nuc bringing in pollen. Tom said he would watch them and they would follow the treeline in then travel upward when the were close. Very few would come in at the same height.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Julian, NC, USA
    Posts
    252

    Post

    Please refer to the following website. http://www.killerplants.com/renfield...n/20020605.asp

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    Yes, I have been aware of this article for some time now. I believe Dee is refering to the weather factor as related to bee size here. Here in PA during the time of the Tulip Popular bloom, the weather can be chilly and breezy. In elevations where tulip is abundant and at the tops of the trees, the conditions for flight are generally not good. From what I have observed in my small cell bees is that they certainly are powerful flyers, better able to sustain flight windier conditions. I have seen on average small cell bees foraging more than large during cooler and wetter conditions. Large and small bees can easily reach the tulip bloom, but the stronger flight abilities of the smaller bees allow them to out compete the large because they can forage more in less than desirable weather conditions.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Round Top, New York - Northern Catskill Mtns.
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    1,895

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    I keep bees; I have never measured cell size, or bee size. I have bees of different sizes, colors, and races: Italian, NWC, Russian, and Feral mutes. Some bees fly at colder temps than others, on windier days they fly closer to the ground level / tree tops than on calm days, but they ALL FLY.

    How high a bee can fly has nothing to do with the ground under them. It has to do with air density (elevation & air temperature), air temperature, wind strength, and the lift that the wings can develop based on that air density. Larger wings create greater lift than smaller wings at the same rate of movement.

    I live in a mountainous / hilly area, there is no flat ground. I live on top of a ridge / knoll that is windy, very windy year round. Elevations within 2 miles radius of my home yard vary from about 400 feet to 4,000 feet.

    If bees could not fly to the height of a tall tree, I would be out of keeping bees.

    The article given as the source does not state anything about the other floral sources that are blooming at the same time as these old Tulip Popular or even if there are other Tulip Popular that are smaller that are blooming as well.

    A very simple explanation could be that there are enough blossoms at lower heights for the bees to work and they do not need to expend the extra energy to hit the highest blossoms.

  13. #13
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    Western Pennsylvania
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  14. #14
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    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    >>They act kinda like a separate breed once regressed. Better health, no dopes needed to keep them alive, flying at cooler temps and better wintering and foraging just to name a few.


    The regressed bee sounds like a superiour bee to all others. I have heard of its mite tolerances, but nothing like this. I kind of wounder if there is really any difference though b/w regressed and your typical current sized bee, not related to bee type, but I mean just the regressed bee. I kind of doubt it.
    Just to note, I notice my bees preforming and acting in different way throughout the year. For instance, my Carnilian type bees, winter bees tend to be smaller sized than my summer foraging bees. Just my observation. Perhaps it is a wintering statagy of that type of bee? Who knows. My Italians dont act that way.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
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    2,838

    Post

    MountainCamp:

    >I live in a mountainous / hilly area, there is no flat ground. I live on top of a ridge . . . Elevations within 2 miles radius of my home yard vary from about 400 feet to 4,000 feet.

    How can some be soooo lucky? [img]smile.gif[/img]

  16. #16
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    Dec 2004
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    Western Pennsylvania
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  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    >>My wintering record before I regressed averaged 50%

    Wow, that is high. How many winters have you been keeping bees to average 50%? I have been keeping the "standard" bee at a wintering loss of averaging 15%. My highest year was 22% and my best was last year at 9%. Hope this year reflects the same as last.

    Are your regressed bee Carniolian or Italian, or what?

    >>no wrapping, medications or treatments of any kind

    I respect your princaples. Maybe someday the superiour bee will emerge from outfits as yours. I just cant take that chance with my bees. I have too much riding on next years crop to risk a heavey loss, which could be prevented. I farm for a living.

    >>bees become healthier, this results in better foraging, wintering, mite resistance etc.

    What are your honey yeild comparisons?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    waco, tx
    Posts
    528

    Post

    naturebee I sent you a private message.

    Lew

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Post

    I personaly have no experience with regressed bees, so I dont have an educated opinion here. But somehow these extrodinary claims seem a little far fetched to me.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,402

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    I think it's back to Jim's observation that they don't work the top in the wind. The small cell bees seem less affected by the wind and seem to fly in windier weather, so I would assume they would also be less disinclined to fly higher on a tree in windy weather. But I've seen both small cell and large cell bees fly over the trees to get where they were going when it suited them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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