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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Lees summit, missouri, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Orientation Flight?

    I am in Missouri and the day was unseasonably warm today, getting up to the mid-50s. I observed what I believe to be an orientation flight this afternoon. Looking for information on an orientation flight. What age bees typically participate in an orientation flight? Am I seeing the first orientation flight for recently hatched bees or do older bees re-orient when they leave the hive after being confined for several weeks? Any information on an orientation flight is appreciated. I was excited to see so much activity this afternoon. This is my first hive overwintering.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Imperial, MO, USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    jrshay, I'm on the other side of the state but have the same weather as KC the last couple of days. Yesterday I too noted the orienting activity around the hives, as it was sunny and finally hit 54 degrees. You are correct in both of your assumptions: (1) Young bees do take orientation flights when they leave the hive, and (2) Bees that have been clustered up inside the hive for an extended period (recall MO has not had a day above freezing in a week or two) will reorient when a warmer "flight" day finally arrives. It is supposed to be just as warm through the weekend (high 50s to low 60's) but you probably won't see any more orientation flights after that first warm day or so - instead you'll see normal foraging flights coming and going. You can also "force" orientation behaviour (for instance when you move a hive to a new location) by blocking the entrance with grass, etc so they have to crawl through the obstacle and realize something has changed before they shoot out the door.
    "Teach your kids to hunt and fish, and you won't have to hunt for your kids"
    Four Ridge Apiaries www.fourridgebees.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Lees summit, missouri, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    Rlsiv,

    Thanks for your reply. I have been nervous about whether the bees will make it thru the winter since it is my first attempt. Perhaps this is a good sign.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Imperial, MO, USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    Well SO far its a good sign... just because they've survived thus far January and February seem to be the toughest part of the winter for our bees though, as thats when they tend to starve out.
    With a warm weekend approaching, you might want to pop the top quickly and check to see what their honey stores at the top look like. If the honey has been depleted, you might want to consider adding some feed. However, if you just heft the back edge of hive manually, raising it just off the stand and feeling the weight, you may be able to tell if their stores are "light" without opening the hive.
    "Teach your kids to hunt and fish, and you won't have to hunt for your kids"
    Four Ridge Apiaries www.fourridgebees.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Lees summit, missouri, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    Ok looks like Friday is my day. The forecast is for 63 degrees. I am using 2 ,10 deeps. I had 5 frames of honey on Nov 22 and put some candy in just in case we have a hard winter. Any other advice is welcome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    740

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    jrshay - why do you think these were orientation flights that you were seeing? Could they have been cleansing flights?
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    Any time bees are cooped up in the hive for more that 3 days they will do an orientation flight the next time they go out. If they go out for a cleansing flight or to stretch they need to know how to get back to the hive that is the purpose of orientation flight. A quick look around so they can find there way back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    740

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    FlowerPlanter - Thanks! Good to know.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Orientation Flight?

    Anytime they've been confined more than 72 hours they will reorient when they come out, but I'll bet that's not WHY they came out... they really have to "go".
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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