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  1. #1
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    Jul 2008
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    Default can you tell me what they are doing?

    i saw this in front of one of my bee hives and took video. its not very clear but can see it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yymQSEfBPgs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wltOU1aNeLs

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    Gaston, OR
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Getting some fresh air maybe... Mine do this when it warms up about 50-60

  3. #3
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    It is called washboarding and although there are theories about what and why they do it I think it is still a mystery.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  4. #4
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    roswell, georgia, USA
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    They're hot and want more ventillation. Because of your location, can't recommend what you might do because of pests, etc. I would start with a SBB if nothing else. Here in the Southeast (US) we have high temps + high humidity (in the summer) and all the bugs that you can imagine infesting the hive. I have to vent my hives a lot during that period, but keep the vents tight (screens) or I have a big pest issue.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    When you look at bees washboarding really close up, you can see they are shuffling their two front feet forward and back at lightning speed on the hive surface. Somehow their two front feet are doing something.
    Perhaps someone could get a really clear closeup side shot of this and slow it down so we could see if they are also doing anything with their mouth, like maybe 'licking' their shuffling feet, applying some substance from their body, etc.

    I can't believe after so many decades that no one has solved this mystery yet of what/why they are doing this.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  6. #6
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    Chippew County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Ive seen this wash boarding behavior posted once.

    How warm was it there?

    Does anyone have a link to any studies on this? Do they know what they are doing? Are they spreading water to cool and create a draft or something?

    Sure is weird.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Good video of washboarding

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-poz-8oisk


    Understanding “washboarding” behavior in the honey bee

    Katie Bohrer and Jeffery S. Pettis. USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory, Bldg. 476 BARC-E, Beltsville, MD 20705

    > Worker honey bees exhibit a “group” activity known as rocking or washboarding on the internal and external surfaces of the hive. This behavior is believed to be associated with general cleaning activities but virtually nothing is known as to the age of worker engaged in the behavior, under what circumstances workers washboard and the function of the behavior. We investigated the frequency of washboarding behavior in relation to worker age, time of day and surface texture. Marked worker bees began washboarding when 13 days of age, with a peak in washboarding occurring when workers were 15-25 days of age. Washboarding behavior increased from 8:00am to 2:00pm and remained elevated until 8:00pm and was even noted to continue past dark at 9:00pm. We presented workers with a panel containing three textures, unpainted wood, slate and glass on hives that were washboarding. Comparisons of washboarding behavior on the three textures revealed that washboarding increased from glass to wood to slate but these differences were not significant. Washboarding behavior appears to be age dependant with bees most likely to washboard between 15-25 days of age. Washboarding increases during the day and peaks through the afternoon. Workers may respond to rough texture and washboard more on those surfaces as we found an increase in the behavior from bees on glass, wood, and slate but further testing is needed to confirm this. The function of this behavior remains to be elucidated.

    I go with this older explanation:

    > I have a little comment to make on the article by Allen Latham (page 152, March, 1921, Gleanings) entitled "Washboard Actions of Bees." I do not believe that he is right in his theory that they are simply working off excess energy. After giving this peculiar action a careful study, I have come to the conclusion that the bees are simply performing necessary work of which I will speak later. As far as comparing the movements of the bees to the activity of a wild caged animal, I think he is surely mistaken. We have long recognized the fact that bees relax into semi-inactivity when the occasion requires except in the case of o!d beea when they need a cleansing flight. Then what does this washboard action of bees really signify? Simply that varnishing is being done, cracks filled, and things made slick and clean. I agree with Mr. Latham that this action is more prevalent after the honey flow. I also agree with him as to the age of the bees in question, namely, those of the wax-working age. That the wax-workers are also the varnishers is a recognized fact. We find much more varnish or propolis on our sections of honey at the close of the honey flow than at a time when nectar is flowing abundantly, because at that time the wax scales are plentiful, and the builders need not resort to other substances to finish their work. At this time when comb-building should cease and varnishing begin, the bees seem to blend the two and make yellow bitter combs. I call this peculiar washboard action a necessity, since it is their way of putting the hive into a sanitary condition, and of preparing for winter by sealing cracks and covering objectionable matter. I once laid a new piece of section near the entrance of a beehive, and before night it was covered with a thin coat of the so-called varnish.

    C. F. Wieneke in Gleanings in Bee Culture, September 1921
    Last edited by peterloringborst; 02-10-2010 at 06:36 PM. Reason: more stuff to add

  8. #8
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Peter - of course temperature and humidity were also monitored as well as age of bees, time of day and surface texture in this study?
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    the temperature when i took the video was between 22 to 26 degree celcious.

  10. #10

    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    My two hives did this every evening last summer. Washboarding is what it was described to me then as well.
    Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
    Thomas A. Edison

  11. #11
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    so it doesn't appear to be associated with high temps - go for other recommendations.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  12. #12
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    May 2009
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    nelsonville, ohio
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    is it just me or are those bees HUGE

  13. #13
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    Chippew County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    I would like to see a infrared video of this to see if they are cooling the hive. If not it must be sanitation or some kind of practice behavior.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-beek View Post
    ... some kind of practice behavior.
    And what do you suppose they are practicing?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    And what do you suppose they are practicing?
    Yeah....shuffleboard?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  16. #16
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    The best profile closeups show me that they seem to be swiping their mouths on the surface and then immediately shuffling their front feet over the spot, then they repeat this action in an arc before moving to the next area.
    If I had to guess i too would say they were 'varnishing' the surface with some substance they are producing. They don't seem to be trying to remove debris or dirt, it's more like they seem to be applying some substance, perhaps even a scent.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  17. #17
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Peter,

    Your recent posts on the BS forum have been quite informative and scientific, albiet sometimes controversial (what isn't, re bees?). Where have you been, what are you doing, what is your bee experience, other than in a Cornell laboratory? There are people that have been contributing here for years (with the associated experienced), but your join date is so recent.

    Bees are not a digital entity, more like a neural network, otherwise we would have figured them out years ago. What are the processes and methods that you apply within these circumstances to arive at your conclusions? As a new keeper, I am constantly monitoring methods and conditions (both traditional as well as cutting edge), that might help me propogate their species. I know that I am interested in your studies.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  18. #18
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    Pigeon Falls, WI
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoodswoods View Post
    recent posts on the BS forum.
    Some words are meant to be abbreviated but I don't think Bee Source is one of them.

  19. #19
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    Jul 2008
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    Limestone Co, Alabama
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    Quote Originally Posted by josethayil View Post
    i saw this in front of one of my bee hives and took [this] video....
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yymQSEfBPgs
    Quote Originally Posted by Omie View Post
    ...closeups show... they seem to be swiping ...the surface and ...shuffling their feet over the [same] spot, then they repeat this action in an arc ...
    If you look carefully at the first video you’ll see a couple of drones watching the action and just hanging out. Remember, worker bees are female, right?

    Well mine displayed the same behavior last summer so I got down on my hands and knees for a better view, guess what? I heard Salsa Music.

    Those girls were dancing the Macarena. Don’t beleave me? Well look closely, I bet the drones got little bitty long neck beers in their hand.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN62PAKoBfE&NR=1

    There are even two dance challenged drones in this vid. Check it out dude. Hey Macarena! Have a good day.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  20. #20
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    May 2009
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    roswell, georgia, USA
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    Default Re: can you tell me what they are doing?

    fortunately, I'm not the first beesource abreviator
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

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