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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Maple Valley, WA
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    183

    Default Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    I'm not sure how to recognize robbing ... I watched a few youtube videos even and it wasn't entirely clear.

    I have uploaded a video (quality isn't that good unfortunately) to my blog and I'd appreciate it if someone could take a look

    http://billybsbees.blogspot.com/

    The activity, whatever it is, was an anomaly. I watch the bees every day and have never seen this type of activity ... lots of bees (relatively) buzzing about the entrance. This was the day after I had freshened the sugar water. At mark 1:04 you can see a bee on the hive body getting repeatedly checked out. At 1:23 there are a couple of bees that are lifting their tails. As I understand it, this is done to mark "home". So is all of this activity actually just orientation flights and do the bees normally do the tail lift to help direct bees on maiden flights, or do they just do that all the time? Or was this a case of robbing ... I expected robbing to be a bit more dramatic, is it?

    Thanks,

    Brian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    2,870

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Yep, they are orientation flights, here is a big one!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtH9nG929OU&feature=plcp
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
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    Jan 2012
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    Maple Valley, WA
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    183

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Ok, good! That's an incredible video ... thanks for sharing, it definitely helps to see others for comparison.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Thx and NP, lots of folks get concerned the first time they see their hives do this...and rightly so.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    I watched your entire vid Brian, saw hundreds of bees coming & going, all in an "orderly" fashion, and nobody seemed to be in a terrible rush...just "normal" activity/orientation for sure.
    If you have robbing, you'll see dramatically different activity at the entrance, to include (almost always) frenzied "bee fights" where two bees will lock together, spin on the ground/bottom board, and fly around erratically as each tries to kill the other. If I can, I'll try to get a video of a bee fight during one of my next few inspections & post it for you (BTW, one bee-fight is entertaining to watch, and usually can be assumed to be a case of "oops, wrong hive!" ...but if you start seeing 5/10/50 bee fights, THEN it's time to think about panicking).


    P.S. One of my hives did an orientation about 1/4 the size of the one in NS's video the other day...my wife freaked :lol: and my first thought was "great, the stronger hive's robbing them, and now they're BOTH gonna be hotter'n hornets today"...turned out to just be a mass orientation flight though, otherwise, business as usual.
    Last edited by robherc; 05-27-2012 at 02:01 PM. Reason: afterthought

  6. #6
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    Jan 2012
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    Maple Valley, WA
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    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Thanks robherc! It's was a bit alarming to see so much activity ... it seemed frenzied to me, compared to what I am used to seeing anyway, but thinking back on it they were pretty calm really, just flying about in circles ... and weren't bothered by me being around either. I obviously have quite a bit to learn, but boy is it fun!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,572

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    A large number of bees orienting is something to see indeed. Since the bees are exiting, flying in circles, then re-entering the hive, then exiting again and repeating, there appear to be far more bees than there really are. They tend to orient at about the same time each day as new foragers start out, so you get a repeat of the show every afternoon.

    If you really want to see it in full action, relocate a hive or be around on the first morning a swarm has been hived -- half the bees will be in the air at once!

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    This is what it lloks like when robber bees are being fought on the landng board of a hive:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9Ek6TqZRF8&feature=plcp

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
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    548

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    That looks exactly like what I had going on when I posted a similar question a few days ago

    But.....

    At that time my hives where only 18 days old and only 15 days from the first day I saw eggs. And, I had been seeing that almost every sunny day, usually late in the afternoon for the previous two weeks. Sometimes its just one hives, sometimes its all four, sometimes they stagger it during the day.

    So....I'm still confused, unless for some reason my bees think they need to constantly reorient.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    The bees will re-orient if they have not been outside the hive for a couple days. With new packages, the roles the bees play get sort of jumbled up, and some that were foragers will become nurse bees in the new hive, and the reverse.

    Any time a bee becomes a forager after doing something else in the hive, they will re-orient. My swarms had orientation flights for several days in the afternoon after I hived them, and today the older on had quite a few orienting at about 4:15 pm. A great sign that all is well with them, since it means that there is plenty of new brood emerging, allowing the original nurse bees to move on to honey processing and wax making and those bees to start foraging. Not much entrance activity for the last week from that hive, I expect to see much more tomorrow.

    The newer swarm should start having lots of bees doing orientation flights by the end of the week -- they got a head start from some old brood comb I used in the nuc box to collect them, the older swarm was on empty foundation and it took them a few days to get cells ready for the queen to lay.

    Peter

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
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    548

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    The bees will re-orient if they have not been outside the hive for a couple days. With new packages, the roles the bees play get sort of jumbled up, and some that were foragers will become nurse bees in the new hive, and the reverse.
    Thanks! this is the first answer anyone has given me that makes sense. The weather here has been really on and off and there have been a number of cold rainy/snowy days mixed with sunny days in the high 70s

  12. #12
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    Jan 2012
    Location
    media, pennsylvania
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    42

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    They tend to orient at about the same time each day as new foragers start out, so you get a repeat of the show every afternoon. Peter
    well this saves me asking the same question. i've had my bees about three weeks now and every day at 4pm they do this. the first time i saw it i thought it was the hive getting rowdy because my neighbor was running his tractor behind the hedge. then when i saw it a couple more times i noticed it was always around 4pm, so i thought they were getting steamed up about the heat of the day.

    just two days ago, i started to wonder mwhether this might be new bees orienting. so this is indeed a timely thread for me.

    -eric

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Lubbock, Texas, USA
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    4

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Yesterday at about 4:30p we noticed a huge amount of activity on our 7 week old hive. It looked like hundreds of bees marching up the front of the hive in big waves then darting into flight followed by the circling orientation type pattern. It lasted about 45 minutes. Let's see, 1 week to lay, 3 weeks to hatch, 3 weeks to leave the hive. Lookss like new foragers to me!

  14. #14
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    Jan 2012
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    media, pennsylvania
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    42

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezwicky View Post
    every day at 4pm they do this.
    the past three days it has been july-august hot, and the orientation flights are taking place about two hours later (6pm) when it's not so hot.

  15. #15
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    Jan 2012
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    Maple Valley, WA
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    183

    Default Re: Orientation Flights or Robbing?

    Thanks Beregondo, that video definitely helps. Pretty obvious from watching that how the bees respond to an invader ... but that little gal was persistent, and still ducked into the hive!

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