This is my first year as a beekeeper and I really enjoy watching my bees. I just wish I understood what they were doing better...
At the beginning of July I introduced a new queen (russian) to a hive that had become queenless. It's now about two and half months later and I can see a real difference in the color of the bees (the package bees were Italians). The russian bees have broader black stripes and appear darker. I've also noticed a behavioral change and I'm trying to figure out what they are doing.
I am currently feeding this hive because it was weak from being queenless. When I put a new jar of syrup on the hive I often do it in the morning without smoke or protective gear and I generally don't have a problem.
However, I have noticed that when I remove the outer cover, that there are a good number of bees (30 to 50) in the space between the inner and outer covers. I'm guessing they're there to sirculate air through the hive?
They don't seem particularly alarmed by my removing the outer cover, BUT if I "jostle" the hive even a tiny bit, for example when I insert the hive tool between the inner cover and the upper hive body to break the propolis seal, all of these bees point there little rear-ends skyward and buzz their wings in unison. This little move isn't subtle, they REALLY stretch and point their ends up at a steep angle while buzzing their wings. I've wondered if this is an alarm reaction and if they are fanning alarm pheromone, but, this little act which can easily get repeated a few times while I remove the inner cover isn't followed by particularly agressive behavior, and I can't smell anything (banannas?).
Any idea what this little maneuver is?