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Just went out and sat with my bees for 20 minutes. It's 61, sunny and breezy here and both hives are very active. I sat in the sun maybe 10 feet from the hive, and noticed an occasional bee would land in the grass beside me, so I picked one up and watched her.

I assumed she was warming up, so I cupped my hands around her and held her in the sun. As I watched, she proceeded to groom herself, as she slowly turned around in the sun. A few bits of pollen fell off during the process. Toward the end, she vibrated her abdomen for a bit, then took off.

Another I picked up had full pollen baskets. She did mostly the same thing without losing her pollen, then took off after it appeared she had warmed up. Later a couple landed on me and sunned/groomed themselves.

I'm not sure which way these bees were going - but my guess is they were on their way in from the field. This sound right?

Is this just a "warming up" behavior? Do they do this both going out and coming in? It was fun watching them - I might go back out again later for another break from work


-Pete
 

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Pete,
I've seen a lot of my bees that are coming in from the field land on the ground in front of the hive. After a few minutes on the ground they will take off and fly into the hive. I've always assumed that they've flown a long way to get back to the hive and are tired, once within sight of the hive they lose the urgency to get back to the hive and decide to take a break before going in.

This may be assigning human characteristics to bees, but I've done the same sort of thing after a long day out in the woods hunting.
 

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"after a long day out in the woods hunting". I don't know if stopping in the local pub for a drink will count, but I may try that logic on the wife. Does it have to be within site? That could be the tricky part.
 

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After a long hard day, it's best if the watering hole is within crawling distance of home.
 
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