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Thread: New to Bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

    Default New to Bees

    Hello everyone, Iam new to Beekeeping and have a few questions. First let me preface my interest. My neighbor has two bee hives. I sit and watch them and find them quite fascinating. I want to learn more and perhaps have a hive someday. My neighbor isnt there much as this is a seasonal home therefore it is difficult at times to communicate.

    A normal day would consist of bees leaving and entering the two hives he has. A few weeks ago I noticed the hive on the left had hundreds of bees on the outside and lots flying around. Possibly swarming?? The next few days there was a large patch of bees on the bottom drawer above the opening. When i came back at 1 am on Friday it was sprinkling rain and there was a huge patch of bees on that same hive. No bees noticed on the one on the right. About 10 am the patch of bees was much smaller. The bees at the hive on the right were back to their normal activity (in and out).

    Could someone please tell me what they think is going on withthe hive on the left? I have a picture but could not post it or cant find a way to post it.

    Any repsonse will be appreciated. Thanks JJ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Brown County, IN

    Default Re: New to Bees

    Hello JJ,

    Sounds like you're already hooked... welcome to a great hobby. Besides reading here, head off to the library and check for beekeeping books and videos. Hook up with a beekeeping club to find mentors and get connected with other nearby beeks:

    What you're seeing on your neighbor's hives sounds normal. Bees congregating on the outside of the hives is called 'bearding', and they often do that when it's hot. Why on one hive and not the other? Could be any number of reasons such as one hive being stronger (more bees) or one having better ventilation.

    One last suggestion, many of us here on this forum find Michael Bush's site to be a great source of beekeeping info - check it out:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Default Re: New to Bees

    Hi JJ,
    The "hundreds" of bees flying you saw could also be normal hive activity and not swarming. New bees spend the first few days/weeks of their life inside the hive. When they finially grow old enough to go out and forage for food/water they take orientation flights in front of the hive so that they can learn what their hive looks like and where it is in relation to the trees and bushes and other hives around it. It's really quite interesting. If you look at them closely, they will generally fly facing the hive and will, with each attempt, fly just a little higher and further away. This is perfectly natural.
    When a hive swarms, which is also perfectly natural, they are often described as "a tornado of bees" and they will look and sound just like that. It is a clear roar with the bees spiriling out of the hive generally up into a tree.
    As Indypartridge says, joining a club and taking a begining beekeeping class would help a lot!


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