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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,539

    Default Orientation and forage question

    Do bees do more orientation flights when there is more forage? Been rather quiet around my hives the last couple weeks (very hot and dry here, severe drought). This evening I was chatting with my neighbor and watching my bees when they preformed a big orientation flight demonstration for us. More bees than I've seen out of both hives in weeks.

    I walked down to the nearest soybean field, and sure enough, they are in full bloom.

    Does anyone know if the appearance of significant forage will result in an increase in orientation flights? I sure hope so!

    If these beans make nectar, I've got about a thousand acres of full season beans around me, and probably another thousand of late beans following wheat (if we ever get any rain, that is). Last year a weak hive gave me a full super of soybean honey (which they later ate) off about 5 acres, hopefully this year will be better.

    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Hey, What is the difference between full season and late season beans? I have bees near soy beans in NY and never have seen any activity in them. I wonder what varieties produce nectar?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,710

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    New bee orientation flights perhaps? I'm guessing once the bees orient themselves to the hive they don't need to perform another unless the hive is moved.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    3,165

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    I have noticed two types of orientation flights. one could also be a combination orientation and cleansing. the other is orientation and foraging. Bees can communicate not only what and where food is but how much. When a bees comes home saying "I found a bunch of good stuff" more bees leave the hive. Many of these bees seem to me to have to orient before they leave to find the food. And at least in one case these orientation flights can get huge. 10 foot in radius in one case from my hive. But many if not most of the bees where leaving after there orientation circling.

    The other type of orientation flight is the non stop parade of bees coming out flying for a bit and returning to the hive. these are much smaller clusters of bees.

    I also noticed int eh first type of flight the bees will tend to make false starts to leave. they fly about 20 feet away and make several false returns to the hive even. Then they are off to wherever and must return eventually because my hive is not empty yet and I have had several huge flights of this type over the past couple of weeks. My bees are also foraging so much I don't hink one full entrance is enough room to gt in and out of the hive.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,567

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    If you are interest in soybeans for honey, you may find this link interesting:
    http://www.rirdc.gov.au/programs/est...on/soybean.cfm
    Soybean flowers, however, are not always attractive to honey bees, leading to the hypothesis that environmental conditions during growth and flowering of plants affect the development of flower characteristics (Robacker et al. 1983). In general, plants that grow in higher temperatures produce more nectar and are more attractive than those grown in cooler climates up to a maximum of 29C. Erickson et al (1978) also observed that it was necessary to consider that the attraction of the soybean to honey bees was not the same for all varieties.
    While the paper is primarily written from a pollination perspective, honey is also discussed.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,006

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Beeman View Post
    I'm guessing once the bees orient themselves to the hive they don't need to perform another unless the hive is moved.
    I am not too sure. If the bees memory lasts for 3 days then if they haven't foraged for thee days they might need a reminder. Usually blocking up an entrance for a couple of days triggers re-orientation. Some people use that trick for moving hives short distances.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westmoorings Port of Spain Trinidad
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    So question if you set up your apiary and then a week or more later you need to move around some hives what's the proper method?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,539

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Full season beans are planted in April or May and harvested in August. They have a longer bloom period and require long days to bloom.

    Late beans are planted over wheat stubble from winter wheat in June, and mature in September. They require short days to bloom (long nights) and will often fail to bloom at intersections where auto headlights sweep over them. They typically do not produce much nectar of interest to bees, and in many cases have been bred to be nectarless to prevent infestations of velvet leaf worms -- the adult moths live off the nectar. No nectar means far fewer moths in the fields, hence fewer worms eating the leaves. Also no soybean honey.

    Honey production from soybeans is highly variable in most places, although beeks in central and northern Illinois seem to do well with it, probably due to a larger amount of the crop being full season beans than down in the sunny southland here.

    Last year was a bad year here, with corn going in very late due to heavy rains in the spring, so it was too late to plant wheat in many fields. These were then planted with either corn or full season beans this spring, which is not typical. Usually it's winter wheat followed by late beans with corn the next year.

    We've had no rain for almost 8 weeks now, so it may all be a moot point anyway. The early beans are getting wilty and the late ones aren't coming up.

    Peter

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,006

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Boss View Post
    So question if you set up your apiary and then a week or more later you need to move around some hives what's the proper method?
    Put a deliberate obstacle (leafy branch) in front of their entrance so then know something has changed and they will reorient.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Westmoorings Port of Spain Trinidad
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Put a deliberate obstacle (leafy branch) in front of their entrance so then know something has changed and they will reorient.
    Thanks, what about the foragers that might be out already?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Boss View Post
    Thanks, what about the foragers that might be out already?
    Do it at night.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,006

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Boss View Post
    Thanks, what about the foragers that might be out already?
    They will try to find their hive but if they don't they are loaded down with presents to join another hive.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Andover, Ohio
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Acebird that leads me to a question. Do foragers that are loaded down with pollen or nectar have a better chance of entering another hive than a plain old "robber" bee?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,006

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    I would say yes but only as an offering to join the hive not as a Trojan horse to raid the hive.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I am not too sure. If the bees memory lasts for 3 days then if they haven't foraged for thee days they might need a reminder. Usually blocking up an entrance for a couple of days triggers re-orientation. Some people use that trick for moving hives short distances.
    Ah, is that how it's done. I captured a swarm that came off a hive in my own back yard. Currently it's sitting in a 2x10 frame deep setup on the lawn about a 100 feet from the donor hive. If I block the entrance after dark with a some 8mesh screen and strap it up, I could move it back to the bee stand next to the donor hive with no issues so long as I keep the entrance blocked for a couple of days after I move it? maybe add a few pine branches etc. when I finally unblock it?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,567

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    If I block the entrance after dark with a some 8mesh screen and strap it up, I could move it back to the bee stand next to the donor hive with no issues so long as I keep the entrance blocked for a couple of days after I move it? maybe add a few pine branches etc. when I finally unblock it?
    Generally its not necessary to keep them totally within the hive for multiple days after a move. You risk them getting overheated if the weather is hot. If you move them at night, just put the branches partially blocking the entrance the next morning, so they realize that things have changed, and reorient.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,006

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    Yeah, follow Rader's suggestion. Ventilation is a must in the summer time especially if you coop them up. That might make them a litter nervy which would generate more heat.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,165

    Default Re: Orientation and forage question

    I recently captured a swarm. Originally I thought I was going to place the hive for them next to my first hive. So we left the box the bees where in in that location over night and during the next day. The bees wasted no time in orienting and foraging the next morning and throughout the day. That afternoon we decided to place the new hive in a location almost 60 feet away. We waited until dark and installed the swarm in the new hive. The following morning many of the foragers returned to the original location of their box. By noon all the lost foragers had found their new hive even though it was completely unrecognizable to them. I assume they followed a combination of there searching and scent. I believe a few successfully made their way into the nearby first hive and a few attempted to unsuccessfully to do so. Very few bees maybe a half dozen where found outside the first hive. In any case I am confident that only a few foragers where even lost and that nearly all of them found their way to one hive or another.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

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