Why do bees fly into the snow?
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  1. #1
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    Default Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Do they send a few sacrificial scouts out every morning to check the conditions?

    I also found bees on the snow where I fed a few days ago when it was 70.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Bees need to fly. It's their nature to do so. Plus, they need to deficate outside of the hive. So, they fly. And when they fly in really cold temperatures their body temp drops and they loose muscle control and fall to the ground or onto the snow.
    Mark Berninghausen

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    From reading other posts, I get the impression that some hives (queens) do this less, and the some configurations of hives do it less also. Is this a factor?

    And please no "bees need to fly" answers. They don't need to fly when it's freezing.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Well then I guess you have all the answers.. trust me you will get many answers to your questions on this site, as in all beekeeping ask one question get ten answers
    Honeydew

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    On a sunny day when the sun hits the entrance some bees think it's warm enough and take off,
    but then chilling fast mid air and drop. You can help by shading the entrance.

    Konrad

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Check "nature's nectar blogspot" Jim wrote an interesting post on this recently.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Quote Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
    ... some hives (queens) do this less, and the some configurations of hives do it less also. Is this a factor? ... They don't need to fly when it's freezing.
    I have hives sitting side by side where one has lots of bees flying on any sunny day - 5F or 35F - and an another has none flying.

    I've never figured out why one wants to fly when the other does not. In the snow and cold, flying is never a good idea if you're a bee.

    JRH

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    I've wondered why bees fly out of the entrance, flit upside down, and dive head first into the snow. You don't see them do that in the summer time...flipping upside down and hitting the dirt. It's not always the cold that does it. I've seen bees fly on a cold day and get far away. This happens just after leaving the hive.

    A friend and I think it might be this...bees fly toward light. They have two compound eyes, but also three small simple eyes called ocelli.

    "It is now believed that these ocelli function to keep the insect continually in a state of stimulation to light, and thus, make the compound eyes more quickly responsive. Hive and the Honeybee" 2000, p. 164

    So it just could be that the bees see the white snow, mistake it for the light of the sky, and crash.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Quote Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
    And please no "bees need to fly" answers. They don't need to fly when it's freezing.
    Is that as far as you read? I'm sorry if my Reply wasn't satifactory to you. Why did you ask the question to begin w/? Did you need to?
    Mark Berninghausen

  11. #10

    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Mites dont help

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    It is natural for the old and diseased bees to fly out in less than ideal conditions and die. In a bee yard and one hive flys when conditions seem odd, sometimes they are light of honey and act restless. If you only have one hive you have nothing to compare against. some loss is just normal.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Why do bees fly into the snow?

    A waggle dance gone bad!
    Regards, Barry

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Why did you ask the question to begin w/? Did you need to?


    "Did you need to?"





    BTW, MP's theory seems pretty good to me.

    Someone could do a little experiment by perhaps spreading some ashes over the snow in front of some hives.


    Barry

    Why do bees fly into the snow?

    A waggle dance gone bad!
    Six left feet?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    BTW, MP's theory seems pretty good to me.
    Me too. I should have waited until he replied. I have that feeling so often. His and Michael Bush's.
    Mark Berninghausen

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Is that as far as you read?
    No, I read the whole thing over and over again to try and figure out if you were being simplistic on purpose, or were just feeding me a bogus answer when you had no idea what you were talking about.

    This is Beekeeping 101, not Beekeeping for Idiots.

    Read it over again, do you really think you were communicating useful information? I don't.

    Perhaps I should have posted the question in a forum with a more 'advanced' title, like Beekeeping for Experts. I just thought it was a basic question that I had missed in the 9 years I've been reading Beesource and so I posted it here, but I guess I was mistaken.

    So, no, I don't have all the answers. But I am looking for useful ones and I am intelligent enough to know the difference.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Have you ever tried to carry 6 ski's and fly?
    sorry couldn't help myself

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    I was replying to the question w/ my own opinion and not trying to be anything other than myself. Not all replys are answers, informative answers or factual answers. I'm sorry if I thru you off. I wasn't trying to be flippant. Just throwing out my 2 cents.

    MP's analysis is a good answer to the OP's query, imo.

    Along the lines of the first question: Where, in the cluster, do these bees come from? The bottom of the cluster, closest to the entrance? Why don't more of them fly? How old are the bees? Are they bees that have flown before or are they taking orientation flights? In Feb.? Bees flying when they shouldn't is a mystery.
    Mark Berninghausen

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRH View Post
    I have hives sitting side by side where one has lots of bees flying on any sunny day - 5F or 35F - and an another has none flying.

    JRH
    I have 2 hives and see the same thing.... One will have bees flying anytime it's really sunny, the other will only have activity if it's over 50 or so. I started with two so I could compare them, it's amazing how different they can be.

    When my kids were younger, I used to toss them outside with sleds when they drove me crazy (after the 3rd day of no school). Maybe one of my hives has lots of younger bees

    Larry

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    I was just out cleaning the ice off some hives and observed MP's observations. Had never noticed it before. Thanks Mike!

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Why do bees fly into the snow?

    Quote Originally Posted by WiredForStereo View Post
    From reading other posts, I get the impression that some hives (queens) do this less, and the some configurations of hives do it less also. Is this a factor?

    And please no "bees need to fly" answers. They don't need to fly when it's freezing.
    Some races of bees can hold it in better than others....
    OMTCW

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