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The bees in supers during a flow, are they house bees, or foragers? It is my naive understanding that the foragers bring in their bounty and hand it off to house bees to to the storage, and then fly back out to get more.

I was just thinking about this with respect to beeks that blow the bees out of the frames with a leaf blower during harvest time. If these are house bees, then they haven't taken their orientation flights and may not find their way back to the same hive.

D
 

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They are the older age house bees, and they know where the hive is located. The adult bee takes it's first flight at 6 days average. This is a flight to take a dump and to learn where their hive is located. They stay close to the hive and don't start making longer flights until become more mature.

When blowing the bees off the frame always blow then to the area directly in front of the entrance to the hive. This will aid the young bees to rapidly re-enter the hive.
 

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Marcin; I first saw this number given in old issues of American Bee Journal and Gleanings in Bee Culture in articles written by Doolittle and C. C. Miller. They were answering questions as to the age of first flight.

In the study by Brodschneider, "Flight Performance of Artificially Reared Honey Bees," in part 3-Results, at the end of the first paragraph, says first flights were the same for study bees and controls. Again 6 days is the number.

I am sure there are differences in strains of bees, and the areas where they are, and this probably would make some difference.
 

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I have seen it written that young bees can graduate "precociously" to foraging as young as 5 or 6 days if necessary but normally do house duty till later.

When you do a taranov swarm manouver about a third of the bees will not fly the 4 inches or so from the ramp to the landing board or entrance but choose to cluster instead.
 

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"The number of orientation flights taken by bees before foraging was highly variable, ranging from one to 18 (mean 5.6 ± 0.29 flights). Equally variable was the age at which these flights began, ranging from three to 14 days (mean 6.2 ± 0.18 days). In this study the mean age at onset of pollen foraging was 14 ± 2 days."
https://www.beeculture.com/a-closer-look-5/
 

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There is always drift for large numbers of colonies grouped together. If blowing bees they will end up back in the hives, and highly unlikely they all go to the hives they came from. Don’t forget all the hives look different after supers are removed so landmarks are different / gone.
 
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