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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Monroe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Strange beehavior at entrance

    Two new hives as of package installation May 2, 2014. Lost queen early on in one hive. It reared new queen. Inspected last week and different stages of larva and capped brood covering about 50% of previously established brood foundation. Just moments ago I walked out to inspect both of our hives. Our other (healthiest) hive with 2nd deep box added this past Saturday had bees going in and out as usual. The other weaker hive that had reared a new queen (oh, and we could not find the queen during inspection this past Saturday) was also busy with bees going in and out at a slightly slower pace.
    So, here's the weird thing....there were about twenty bees at the entrance of the weaker hive. They were lined up all around the reduced opening. They were doing some kind of dance where they would take three steps forward and three steps back...over and over endlessly. What are they doing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,574

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    Washboarding. I don't know why they do it. I don't know of a good explanation of why they do it. Enjoy the mystery. They aren't doing anything wrong or harmful or indicative of anything, as far as I know.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    I always get the sense that the bees are happy and all is good in the world when they are washboarding. I don't know if they are - but I like to think they are.
    Don't Warre, Bee Happy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Bristol,RI
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    I want to know why even though the entrance is fully opened 8 frame wide today they are aiming for the left hand corner and running over the poor lady on propolis duty at the door. i sat there for like 5 mins watching everyone bash into her haha.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Monroe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    Thanks for the replies. Whew...what a relief!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,574

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    When you see 40 of them on the face of the hive above the entrance doing this take a picture and Post it on beesource.

    I have always heard it called wash boarding, but I also think of line dancing when I see the bees doing it. There are probably a lot of people who don't know what a wash board is.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,270

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    There is actually a very simple explanation. It is called the happy dance, bees do it to rejoice over the great beekeeper who provides a great home for them. Enjoy the parse.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    McCleary, WA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    I thought they were signaling to our future alien overlords "we've conquered them, they're building homes for us, and we've got them hypnotized with honey, now is the time to take over"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    I've been trying to figure out what my bees are doing. I'm a new beekeeper, have only had a hive for about a month and a half and for about a week I've been increasingly concerned that they're being robbed. I bought a screen for the entrance but it hasn't arrived yet. But I did notice that so many bees were just padding around the front. I just looked at them after sundown and a lot of them are still on the front landing.

    Here's a video from earlier today.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    903

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    This is called "washboarding" -- rhythmic forward and back motion with the head down. Its a inexplicable bee behavior, perhaps stimulated by the cedar hive. Other bees are fanning, drawing air through the hive with their wings.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    This is called "washboarding" -- rhythmic forward and back motion with the head down. Its a inexplicable bee behavior, perhaps stimulated by the cedar hive. Other bees are fanning, drawing air through the hive with their wings.
    Thank you, JW! Is it normal for a bunch of bees to sleep outside? Sorry to have so many questions. I appreciate all your help!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    Washboarding is done to clean their mandibles. (Hypothesis...) Like sharpening your knife.

    Bearding can be a sign that they soon swarm. It is a humidity thing I guess. Once it is too hot and humid inside, they hang out in the front. Once you ventilate the hive, they go back in. Also I reckon a humid stale air inside the hive can push swarming, so have an eye on that.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,574

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Thank you, JW! Is it normal for a bunch of bees to sleep outside? Sorry to have so many questions. I appreciate all your help!
    Yes, it's normal.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lake County Ill
    Posts
    431

    Default Re: Strange beehavior at entrance

    This is washboarding and I just had the same thing. You did mention a weak hive and I also have a weak hive. I have no evidence of washboarding and hive problems but in my case I expect there is an issue..... probably they are re-queening. I will check today and let you know what I find but unless there is some disease I will leave the hive alone. Your photo looks very similar to my hive.

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