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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Yellow Backed Bees

    Anyone know what to make of these?

    http://alexanderboyes.com/photos/201...llow_Backs.jpg

    Context:
    First year beekeeper just south of downtown Milwaukee, WI. Got a late start after two dud queens, but thanks to beesource member geebob I now have a healthy colony with a locally mated, first year queen. In early September I started noticing these yellow backed bees coming and going at the entrance. They behave normally, and I found them scattered throughout the hive. The pictured frame had more "marked" bees than most.

    Is someone marking them? Are they marking themselves?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,693

    Default Re: Yellow Backed Bees

    I too have these "marked" worker bees all over in my hives, especially earlier in the summer. I thought it was just pollen. I'd like to hear what others have to say.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: Yellow Backed Bees

    Last Saturday I noticed bees coming and going at the entrance of one hive with yellow backs. When I opened the hive I saw numerous bees with the same phenomenon. I have never seen this before, and it was just in that one hive. I'll try to get a picture next time. I assume they are working a pollen plant and its adhering to them, but its strange in that the bees aren't really dusted yellow as they are sometimes. Its like its painted on their backs in a clump.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Yellow Backed Bees

    That's interesting. Maybe it's some kind of fungal growth or maybe their backs are picking something up when they pop their heads down into cells. Have never heard of that before though.
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Yellow Backed Bees

    A thought: Around the time I started noticing this was when they were filling in a box of foundationless/starter strip frames. They were building sideways and joining frames so I had to do a bit of cutting and trimming on some freshly filled comb. Maybe their backs got sticky while walking the adjacent frames, they went foraging, and pollen stuck and hardened in place? Seems like a difficult place to reach with bee arms.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Whitmell, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Yellow Backed Bees

    Somebody is marking your workers to determine where and how far your hive is from them.

    [edit to add]

    It's likely somebody raising and marking queens too. Since this is the 'yellow' year. Looks like they've been marked like you would a queen although rather sloppy.
    Last edited by ralph3; 10-11-2012 at 02:56 PM.
    Don't laugh it's paid for. -- Manure draws more flies than honey.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    690

    Default Re: Yellow Backed Bees

    It does look like they are painted yellow and I thought of that. However, they wouldn't have to mark my bees to detemine how far they were from them if they already knew where my hives were located now would they.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

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