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I notice that sometimes, some of my bees go to the hive and flip on their back and then take off. Is this normal behavior?
 

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Wow, that's a completely new one on me. I've seen bees come out of the hive, turned around and take off facing the hive and then fly back and forth in front of the hive. That's an orientation flight.

I've never heard of what you are describing. I'd like to hear other thoughts.
 

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I've watch them fall on there back also. Looks to me like they are in a hurry and just fall from the frame. Then just fly off.
 

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I've seen this a lot. Usually the do it on the top cover of the hive and if it's been raining, they get stuck in the water for a bit. Sometimes I go out and find several of them dead on their backs.
 

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I started noticing this a few years ago. After I bought A nuc of northern bred hygienic bees and a Carniolan queen. I don't remember my Italian bees doing it. In fact I lost my last Italian hive this winter. Now all I have is hygienic bees that came from my first hive I have split them and let them make there own queens. And now it seems all my bees are doing the flip. As if thay were trying to clean off there backs. Oh I don't have much of a mite count now. And My bees do there back flip on my hive top cover. If you watch thay do a shake shake before thay take off.
 

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I have noticed my girls doing the same thing. Seems like they are in a hurry and lose their footing as they come around the corner of the brood box above the bottom board. They don't seem to mind, they get right back up and head out to forage. :D
 

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Animals make mistakes as well.

My Italians (I imagine all bees) do it. Most noticeably on the outer cover (I wonder if reflection has anything to do with that... gardeners use reflective metal to confuse certain pest bugs). They will lay their buzzing across the cover until they right themselves or fall off and are flying again.

Notice also bees accidentally will drop pollen pellets through the screen bottom boards (I collect these durring heavy pollen "flows" and freeze them for later use - doesn't give as much as a pollen trap but it also doesn't hamper bee growth).

Lately there is a lot of flopping onto the bb, or the side of the hive :D heavy loads of nectar.

Mike
 

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Interesting to compare!
My bees almost never go on the top shiny silver metal outer cover at all, and I never see any bees on the top cover on their backs.

I have an open screen BB and a slatted rack inside, and every 10th bee or so that comes rushing out of the hive winds up doing a little somersault as she comes out, all excited, and winds up on her back on the 'landing pad' for a moment, then rights herself and flies right off like it was nothing. They never seem to tumble when going back in.
My bees are part Russian, part mutt as far as I was told.
 

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This sounds like normal behavior from your descriptions. They get in a hurry and try to fly before they set themselves. There are also collisions and both bees end up on their backs and do that little flop dance trying to right themselves. Bees that flip on their backs on a wet landing board can literally drown in an 1/8th inch of water. Slope your front board slightly to drain the water. This helps.
 

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My bees seem to like bounching off my hive top cover. I use beemax polystyrene covers it is softer than metal ones and longer. And it also helps disburse moisture. And when pushed to the front of my wooden hive bodys it creates a porch for my girls. I found this out by mistake I ordered the wrong hive cover. After looking at it I thought cool a sun porch for my girls. It also helps keep the rain and snow off the landing. And I also keep all my hive stands at a angle so the rain runs off my hives.
 
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