Orientation Flight???
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Monroe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Orientation Flight???

    We were headed out our driveway yesterday at about 5pm. Looked over at our two hives. East hive was quiet with normal traffic. West hive had an actual cloud of bees flying in front of it. Entrance was covered with bees up to about 3 inches above the entrance opening all the way across the front surface and the entrance board was wall-to-wall bees. The air was full of bees. I told my wife they were preparing to swarm. She replied that they were all just flying up, making a circle, and landing. After a few minutes of observation, we decided it must be an orientation flight. So we went to town and returned about an hour later to find the bees were still covering the front entrance board but not flying as before. Should we be concerned about this behavior?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,694

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    I have one hive that occasionally does the same thing. I usually thing they are being robbed or beginning to swarm. They may have already made one swarm, because they don't seem as strong as they were. I am anxious to see the answers that you get.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Paulding County, GA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    The entrance being covered and going upwards sounds like washboarding. Were they barely moving back and forth? The small circular flights and then returning sounds like orientation flights. Check about the same time today and see if it happens again. You should see some fighting if another hive is attempting to rob. Maybe some dead bees on the ground. It sounds like normal activity, but may need a little more information.
    Donny

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Paulding County, GA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Pictures or videos are always helpful in making a more accurate decision.
    Donny

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    I noticed one of my hives do that same thing one day last week. I thought they were probably going to swarm, but we are in kind of a dearth. I've been watching them closely since then. All seems OK. I do have a lot of bearding, but that doesn't really concern me.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Monroe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    I took some photos of the event...but I cannot presently transfer them from my phone to my computer here at work. Will try to put them on my computer at home later today.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    AUBURN IN.
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    if U don't catch robbing at first there will be no fight robbers will take over --fly direct into hive --if robbing -it will look like a sale at WALL-MART on black Fri. --pushing and shoving

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    My two hives do that every day between 4 and 5 pm. It lasts about 15-20 minutes. They usually don't do it at the same time. They're orientation flights (IMHO)
    Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,808

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Had a hive doing exactly the same last night. A mass of bees hovering in front and over the hive while a couple of doz were washboarding. No one too excited except when one of the orientating bees did a controlled crash landing in the middle of the washboarders.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGora View Post
    My two hives do that every day between 4 and 5 pm. It lasts about 15-20 minutes. They usually don't do it at the same time. They're orientation flights (IMHO)
    Isn't it funny how the hives take turns doing their orientation flights? My hives are in rows, and I often see the enormous activity at one hive, then settle down, then another hive begins and settles down, and on down the line. Years ago, it panicked me, but now I know it's normal and the hives are fine. You will gain the experience to judge what yours are doing by watching and then comparing.
    Becky

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Columbia, SC, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeGora View Post
    My two hives do that every day between 4 and 5 pm. It lasts about 15-20 minutes. They usually don't do it at the same time. They're orientation flights (IMHO)
    Quote Originally Posted by Becky Jackson View Post
    Isn't it funny how the hives take turns doing their orientation flights? My hives are in rows, and I often see the enormous activity at one hive, then settle down, then another hive begins and settles down, and on down the line. Years ago, it panicked me, but now I know it's normal and the hives are fine. You will gain the experience to judge what yours are doing by watching and then comparing.
    Becky
    I think it's really cool, but it freaked me out the first few times I saw it (1st year beek) - they do it daily as far as I can tell! They don't always go in the same order either... I assumed it was orientation flights/cleansing flights<?>, and it always seems to kicks off ~5-10 minutes after the hives go into shade. (Tall treeline 50' to the west...)

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Watertown, NY, USA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    I had what sounds like the same thing last week. After poking around and watching a little YouTube, I decided it was orientation flights. And I'm sticking to it. But I'm a 1st year so take it for what it's worth.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Caledonia, Ontario, CA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Sounds like it was orientation flights. Tonight, just before dinner my six year old son comes running into the house saying " Dad! One of your bee hives is swarming " I headed out to the bee yard to find a huge cloud of bees in front of one hive making orientation flights. I explained to him what they were doing and then we( my 2 year old and 6 year old) sat there and watched them for 5 min or so. I could see how if you had never saw this before that you might think they were about to swarm! It really is amazing to watch!!

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Retrospectively, you can tell if it's robbing or orientation (while it's happening and when you're new it's a very anxiety-inducing thing).

    Orientation is a discrete event: it begins, goes on for half an hour or so, then it ends and it's as if it hadn't happened, though sometimes some bees hang out a bit outside on the walls afterward. But the circling, flying thing doesn't continue.

    Robbing melees don't stop until dark drives the robbers home. But they'll be back.....

    Enj.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    4,869

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Retrospectively, you can tell if it's robbing or orientation (while it's happening and when you're new it's a very anxiety-inducing thing).

    Orientation is a discrete event: it begins, goes on for half an hour or so, then it ends and it's as if it hadn't happened, though sometimes some bees hang out a bit outside on the walls afterward. But the circling, flying thing doesn't continue.

    Robbing melees don't stop until dark drives the robbers home. But they'll be back.....

    Enj.
    X2....... you can also tell by the attitude of the bees....... they are kamikazes. Orientation bees are mellow, you cant mistake the 2 if you are it the middle of it as far as I have seen. JMO. I dont know ****. G

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Monroe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Okay, so here is the video I took. Wife and I were leaving for town in the Diesel Ram when we saw this event. So I drove through the field to the hives, jumped out, no suit, big chicken that I am, and tried to film it with my phone. Wish I was brave enough to get closer! Also, this is my first video submitted to youtube. I will get better at this....I promise!

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: Orientation Flight???

    Got to get closer! lol
    Just a guess from another first year- orientation flights. Mine do it every afternoon or so, at least when I'm around it seems. Just go in little circles. When my hives were robbing eachtother a few weeks ago (I fixed that problem) it was totally different. "Kamikazee" runs is a great description. The obvious tell-tale sign was bees fighting, attacking eachtoher and also the bees were very, very defensive towards me. After that, I always completely suit up.

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