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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    York, ME
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    68

    Default symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Right now our two hives look alike because they are wrapped in black tar paper - a few days ago, while those of you south of here were shoveling snow, our bees were flying. I read somewhere and have looked in all my bee books but can't find the reference - that it is helpful to the bees to either provide different colors near the entrance or different symbols - a circle or triangle - so the bees can find their proper hive and not drift.

    Anyone have experience with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    45,802

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Yes bees drift. Yes looking different helps them sort this out. But no matter they will still drift, just less. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    276

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Yes it is helpful for the bees to have variously identifiable hives to minimize drifting. That's because bees use landmarks to navigate. I use different colored boxes as well as bricks or objects in varying positions on their landing board. I also angle them a little differently so the approach is different for each hive. When they come out, they note their surroundings and I think it helps them to find the hive again. But if you only have 2 hives the exercise is sort of moot. The bees will differentiate the hives themselves by their placement in relation to each other ("my hive is to the left or to the right").
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    A speaker in Orlando at the ABF mtng said that he staples playing cards on the fronts of his mating nucs. I don't think he uses the face cards, for some reason. Maybe they don't look different enuf from each other.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Bend, WA
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    504

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I don't think he uses the face cards, for some reason.
    A queen on the outside of the hive might be a bit confusing

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    6,849

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Studies have shown the shapes to be more discernable than colors. Forget about red too. Bees see red as well as we see ultraviolet. Open shapes received stronger results than shapes that are filled in.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    26,601

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Check out The Beekeeping Encyclopedia by Roger Morse and friend. There is an illustration showing some symbols that bees can see. It says that they can tell the difference between symbols in each row, but not between rows. Or something like that.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
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    2,479

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    The Italian race is highly prone to drift. If Italians are all you have ever used you may be surprised at Carniolans ability to orient.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Belfield, North Dakota, USA
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    606

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    My wife bought some really inexpensive stencils at WalMart in the crafts section. I let my 5 year old daughter stencil all the landing boards. Not one is the same - can't hurt, and she loves to paint.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Catawba, Wisconsin
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    291

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    I think its a total waste of time. That said ,if it makes you feel good, do it, the bees don't care one way or the other.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Vincent, Alabama, USA
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    238

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Quote Originally Posted by bigeddie View Post
    I think its a total waste of time. That said ,if it makes you feel good, do it, the bees don't care one way or the other.


    I recently heard a speaker say that "if the bees don't act they way you expect -- it may be because they don't read the same books you do."

    I may try this idea, though.... it will help me sort out the hives, even if the bees don't benefit.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Catawba, Wisconsin
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    291

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Quote Originally Posted by markmaster View Post


    I recently heard a speaker say that "if the bees don't act they way you expect -- it may be because they don't read the same books you do."

    I may try this idea, though.... it will help me sort out the hives, even if the bees don't benefit.
    Just as I suspected, it makes some folks feel GOOOOD! A happy beekeeper probobly has happier bees,so I guess the bees will benefit. Go for it!!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Quote Originally Posted by markmaster View Post


    I recently heard a speaker say that "if the bees don't act they way you expect -- it may be because they don't read the same books you do."

    I may try this idea, though.... it will help me sort out the hives, even if the bees don't benefit.
    So where did you see Dr. Tew? He often said that when I was in school in OH. Did ya know that he is from Alabama? Dothan.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Cass County, MO
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    448

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Now I don't know if it helps the bees but I have a "purple" hive and a "yellow" hive. The landing boards are colored as noted.
    It does help my wife and I talk about the hives and what we have done and need to do; i.e "The Yellow hive needs syrup in the feeder."
    I use the color code to do an "after action report" in my notes section for record keeping. I have an Excel spreadsheet form the I made with useful info, observations, my plans for and a projected date of the next inspection.
    I will continue to do this with the bottom boards because it helps me, and possibly the bees as well.

    RKR
    4 seasons 19 Hives-Camp Branch Bee Ranch. Est 2009
    "I am a nobody; nobody is perfect, and therefore I am perfect."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Vincent, Alabama, USA
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    238

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    So where did you see Dr. Tew? He often said that when I was in school in OH. Did ya know that he is from Alabama? Dothan.
    He was at this year's Alabama Beekeeper's symposium -- didn't know he was famous for the saying! Good speaker, though....glad to hear he's a Bama native!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    He probably stole it from someone else. All good speakers do. I stole it from him. Not that i am a good speaker, just a good thief.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Vincent, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Like most good - and all great - authors! Swipe it, improve it, and publish it!!
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 02-19-2010 at 02:35 PM. Reason: unnessary quote

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lawrence, Kansas, USA
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    44

    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Quote Originally Posted by NDnewbeek View Post
    My wife bought some really inexpensive stencils at WalMart in the crafts section. I let my 5 year old daughter stencil all the landing boards. Not one is the same - can't hurt, and she loves to paint.
    I might let my 5-year-old daughters decorate mine. One hive each !

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: symbols and colors to differentiate hives

    Make sure they do it before you put bees in them.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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