Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?
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  1. #1

    Default Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    Hiya all, I opened a hive late a few days ago (it was dark, early evening about 60f/15c, no smoke, I was wearing a head flashlight) and saw one bee wandering about on the inner cover with her full torso pointing up and the stinger is poking out. Anyone have any info on this behavior?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    She was reacting to your headlamp. You are asking for trouble opening a hive at night with a light unless its a red light. J

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    Not sure what causes the bees to do it, but I've always noticed it when opening hives in cooler weather (days when bees are not flying much) regardless of the time of day.




    Quote Originally Posted by sterlinggold View Post
    Hiya all, I opened a hive late a few days ago (it was dark, early evening about 60f/15c, no smoke, I was wearing a head flashlight) and saw one bee wandering about on the inner cover with her full torso pointing up and the stinger is poking out. Anyone have any info on this behavior?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    She's probably nasonoving.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    No, it is not the standard "here is home" position. It is as BamaBee stated, the only time I have seen it is when the bees have started to cluster in cool weather. It appears to me to be a defensive position/warning position. The sting is exposed fully and it appears to be a warning just prior to attack.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    Quote Originally Posted by sterlinggold View Post
    Hiya all, I opened a hive late a few days ago (it was dark, early evening about 60f/15c, no smoke, I was wearing a head flashlight) and saw one bee wandering about on the inner cover with her full torso pointing up and the stinger is poking out. Anyone have any info on this behavior?
    All the time.
    This is normal with my bees.
    A lot of my bees are not "sleepy" mild bees; they actually pay attention and showing their stingers to me.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    I see it all the time every inspection all season long, normal action, they are fanning pheromones like Bush posted, look closely, the nasanov gland is open, with abdomen lifted high and stinger up.
    DavidZ

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apis Natural View Post
    I see it all the time every inspection all season long, normal action, they are fanning pheromones like Bush posted, look closely, the nasanov gland is open, with abdomen lifted high and stinger up.
    Pheromone fanning is totally different - they show no stinger then.

    They also hold their abdomen in a different position when pheromone-fanning - to expose the Nasonov gland out (to expose the gland, they must bend the very tip down, not up).
    In fact, when they walk around with the stinger up (and a the drop of venom on it too) - they are not really fanning either.
    I think this is exact same intent as if the scorpion does - "stay away".

    Google and observe:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=bees...JTBZqewYHkSPxM

    With all due respect, Mr. Bush is incorrect.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    I agree with Greg. The stinger extended is not nasonov. If you look closely sometimes you will see a tiny drop of venom at the tip of the stinger.

  11. #10
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    Default

    I notice it in cooler weather, and the colder it is outside the more likely they are to do it. My humble theory... they are in alarm response because you just cracked the lid off, but it’s too cold to mount an airborne attack. They stick their butts up with stingers out so if the intruder so much as brushes the cluster they are getting lit up. I call it hedge hogging.
    Mistakes are the best taechers

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    I've seen it a lot and more commonly in cooler weather. I think they do it to "light up" anything that brushes up against them.
    Beekeeping 6 Years - 12 production hives and about 12 nucs - Treatment OAV Only

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    I've seen similar behavior when rehiving bees or giving a new queen to a queenless colony. In these cases I've assumed it's a nasanov "here's home" signal, though I can't seem to smell nasanov. Usually there's lots of fanning -- almost all the worker bees join in, especially the ones on top of the frames. They become gentle and seem distracted.

    I've also seen similar behavior in cooler weather when the bees aren't so happy with me. In this case I often smell bananas (alarm pheromone). The stinger is often visible. There is some fanning, but only from some of the bees, less than a third of them. Bees on the landing board are more likely to engage in this behavior than bees on brood frames.

    I'm not sure that's really two different behaviors with two different purposes, but I've naively thought of them as such. Maybe in reality it's the same behavior, and it's just that sometimes it's combined with defensiveness and sometimes it isn't. But I will say that, anecdotally, in my limited experience, if you see the stinger (rather than just the abdomen) up in the air, it's not a friendly signal.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    By pure accident I found these comments:
    Tail up, with end bent down, Nazanov gland showing = come hither fellow bees
    Tail up, with end bent up = go away
    Sting everted and a drop of venom showing REALLY go away (you sometimes smell the venom, it smells like bananas)
    https://oxnatbees.wordpress.com/2018...ral-selection/
    Exactly what I have been thinking.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    If you lift the cover off a hive in late evening with no smoke in 60 deg temps, why would they be fanning nasanov? If I had to guess I'd say it's a warning, stay out!
    To everything there is a season....

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    That's standard cold bee posturing once you disturb them. If you find any bee that's on the cooler side but still active, touch it and this is it's immediate response typically.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Bee with torso up stinger out like a scorpion?

    A couple people have said that the bees reaction is because its cold. The OP said it was 60f. I think that most people in the northern climes would consider 60f perfectly warm enough for bees. I only have a few years experience, but have worked bees at 60f and they act just as they do when its warmer. I have on occasion, put some bees in the fridge for a few minutes and when I take them out, they are very docile. To me, admittedly with limited experience, it is a defensive posture, especially considering the circumstances: Popping the top at night, no smoke, white light. J

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