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What happens to bee traffic when the dearth starts?

Do the hives send out more foragers in a desperate attempt to find more food?

Or do they stay inside to conserve what they have?

Or do they start with more foragers and then transition into hunkering down? How long does that typically take?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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To the best of my knowledge, the bees are pretty good about energy conservation. If there is truly nothing out there, they will just hang out at the hive. But they will forage an increasingly larger area as the sources close to home dry up. This will make it seem as if activity at the hive is decreasing since there will be fewer trips per bee. Since a reduction of brood rearing often accompanies the dearth, more bees are indeed able to transition to foragers so at some point there will be more bees, as a percentage of total hive population, looking for food sources.
 
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