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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Vonore, Tennessee
    Posts
    5

    Default Identify these bees

    I am new to keeping honeybees and even newer to this forum. I had a swarm yesterday and I watched the swarm fly away (maybe 20 minutes after noticing it) as my mentors were coming to help catch it. Anyway, I went to a neighbors house to have them be on the lookout for them, just in case, and noticed a big group of bees buzzing around in their yard (where my neighbor said they have found other honeybee swarms before.... weird!) just above the ground. I was thinking I found my bees!! Now, I'm thinking not so much. Ok, so I have pictures of the bees. There is a wad of bees rolling around with, what I am thinking is, the queen.... and the rest of the bees are buzzing around. This was the same day I saw my swarm leave, which was yesterday. And these bees in the pictures left around sun down and came back today... oh and the "queen" would fly up in the air with another bee attached to her several different times. Thanks for any info.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    2,578

    Default Re: Identify these bees

    Those do not appear to be honey bees, alas. Their wing length relative to their body is too long from what I can see.

    A honey bee swarm will usually have thousands, if not tens, of thousands of bees in it.

    Honeybees are reportedly drawn to the swarm landing spots, and other species of bees may be as well. I don't live near you so I really have no idea what those could be. They look like nothing I have ever seen up here in northern NY, or even when I lived in northern VA. Some states have pretty good atlases of their insects online. You might even have a State Entomologist who could look at your emailed pics and tell you what they were.

    The repeated, joined aerial flights were probably mating flights of a queen (or queens) but that is not quite how it works for honey bee queen mating.

    I hope you get lucky with the next swarm opportunity. All my bees have come from swarms and I think they are grand bees to have. Such an exciting way to become a beekeeper; just ordering up a package seems too mundane. My bees all chose to live here, not the other way around.

    And welcome to BeeSource!

    Enj.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Vonore, Tennessee
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Identify these bees

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Those do not appear to be honey bees, alas. Their wing length relative to their body is too long from what I can see.

    A honey bee swarm will usually have thousands, if not tens, of thousands of bees in it.

    Honeybees are reportedly drawn to the swarm landing spots, and other species of bees may be as well. I don't live near you so I really have no idea what those could be. They look like nothing I have ever seen up here in northern NY, or even when I lived in northern VA. Some states have pretty good atlases of their insects online. You might even have a State Entomologist who could look at your emailed pics and tell you what they were.

    The repeated, joined aerial flights were probably mating flights of a queen (or queens) but that is not quite how it works for honey bee queen mating.

    I hope you get lucky with the next swarm opportunity. All my bees have come from swarms and I think they are grand bees to have. Such an exciting way to become a beekeeper; just ordering up a package seems too mundane. My bees all chose to live here, not the other way around.

    And welcome to BeeSource!

    Enj.
    Thank you so much for replying and for the welcome!
    I was thinking their behavior was off from that of honeybees. I could only really see the bees that were rolling around with the queen and I thought those had to be drones and maybe I haven't seen them up close enough to know what they looked like. And all pictures of them on the Internet look different.

    The bees I found were confusing me because I thought they were my honeybees but we're not right in these ways:

    1) Very docile, even though I've heard that honeybees are not as aggressive when trying to find a new home, I could walk right in the middle of these bees with not a single bump of a warning. I'm pretty sure I could have picked these bees up without them caring.
    2) Why is the queen mating like this? And with the rest of the swarm just flying around right above the ground ....
    3) Where are they going at night that I couldn't find them clustered together somewhere nearby... they must be going underground... not a honeybee thing to do.

    Sooo.... I should probably go pick up my hive body out of my neighbors yard that I was hoping they would find a home in and bring it back home. Hahaha.... at least I still have the rest of my hive left here and they are working away.
    ****feeling like a giant newb****

    I'm definitely going to be trying to figure out what these are. Thanks again for replying!
    Last edited by Terig15; 04-26-2016 at 02:26 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Bremen, GA
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Identify these bees

    I had a "swarm" call the other day that was this exact thing. An old timer told me he calls them dirt bees, I'm not sure the actual name. He told me Each bee is its own queen and they lay as many as 30 brood sometimes as deep as 3' in the ground. They make or steel only enough honey for their young to live on. There will be upwards of several hundred swarming around the ground this time of year. They will disappear into the leaves. They are also good pollinators but not as good as honeybees. Good to have and pretty much harmless

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,241

    Default Re: Identify these bees

    They are Andrena which are mining bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Vonore, Tennessee
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Identify these bees

    Quote Originally Posted by awm View Post
    I had a "swarm" call the other day that was this exact thing. An old timer told me he calls them dirt bees, I'm not sure the actual name. He told me Each bee is its own queen and they lay as many as 30 brood sometimes as deep as 3' in the ground. They make or steel only enough honey for their young to live on. There will be upwards of several hundred swarming around the ground this time of year. They will disappear into the leaves. They are also good pollinators but not as good as honeybees. Good to have and pretty much harmless
    Thanks for the reply. Sadly, I did have some honeybees swarm and then take off right before finding these guys. These guys were really fun to watch anyways and didn't have a care in the world that I was around.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Vonore, Tennessee
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Identify these bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Drone View Post
    They are Andrena which are mining bees.

    Oh, wow! I just looked those up. That is what they are, for sure. Thanks so much for replying!

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