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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been observing my new bees for 18 days now. I have inspected the hive 3 times and each inspection is better and better. That of course, is great news.

Something I am curious about however is the workers often land very clumsily or sort of crash. Often then miss the landing board, kind of bounce off, and cling to a blade of grass. They generally hang there for 10 - 30 seconds and make a 2nd attempt at getting to the entrance. Most of the time, they make it on the 2nd attempt. I have a few different theories as to what is going on and wondered if anyone here knew the answer.

Are they simply full of nectar/pollen and exhausted from being out to forage?
Are they older bees who are nearing their end and they just have trouble completing their assigned task?
Since they are a new package and having been fed 1:1 sugar syrup, are they slightly suffering from malnutrition?

Thank you.
 

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I noticed the same thing. I think they are just tired. I wonder if it could be noobs that haven't built up strength yet, as well as the older ones.
My girls exit the hive by crawling down the inside, then exit upside down. Most crawl up the front of the hive, then take off, but a few flop onto their backs and have to flip themselves right side up in order to fly away. I swear they look embarrassed.
 

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Well foraging is the last assignment in a bee life so they my be a little on the tired side. They are also carrying a lot of additional weight that may throw off their normal landing patterns.
 

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I think so too. wind will throw them off too. and busy entrance there are a lot of mid air collisions that are pretty funny to watch too.
 

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Mine were doing the same today. In the middle of a blackberry bloom like none I've ever seen. Some coming in with pollen baskets that looked as big as their head. Figuring they are just exceeding their "designed" carrying capacity. Lol

As I sat there, watching, it was obvious they were coming in slower than normal, and louder than usual.
 

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It' a sign there is a large nectar flow -- the bees fill up to the max and fly back, and if it's windy or the nectar source is a long way off, they often fail to land properly. Bees obviously heavy and sliding off the landing board is a good sign if they are coming in.

Bees falling off the landing board or obviously having trouble flying OUT of the hive is a sign it's being robbed out....

Peter
 

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its pretty common. Combination of tired, heavy, old, fatigue. My hives are on cinderblocks some to land there first and hang-out a bit before walking or flying into the hive. The flow in Louisville is pretty strong rite now, once the weather warms up the big hives will be packing it in. Lots of early swarms, big hives have put on 40lbs easy.
 

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I saw the same thing today, some sliding off the landing board in the grass sometimes taking others with them.
Was outside and saw 2-3 colony's take an orientation flight about the same time so I was almost sure it was robbing but all was back to normal within 10-15 minutes.
Been keeping the entrances small (about 4 inch wide) to avoid robbing maybe I need to open them a little ?
Being a second year newb I was a little over excited to say the least :)
 

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Go out and film your bees coming in, in slow motion. You'll find bees are very clumsy, they just recover so fast we on't notice. They run into each other all the time, they stumble, fall, crash...
I did this recently and was surprised to see how much back and forth arriving bees did as they (descending) approach the landing board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone.

Looks like the consensus is all of the above plus a little bit of natural bee behavior.

I wasn't all that concerned because the hive as a whole is getting the job done but found it very curious.
 

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Monte - do this one thing. If the bees that miss the landing board stay down and crawl for a while, catch one and cut her thorax in half around the perimeter.

If there are little black lines under the thorax, she probably has tracheal mites, acarapis woodsii. This would be something that demanded immediate intervention. You would need to treat them with a miticide specific to tracheal mites - thymol is what I've heard works on them. If I found little black lines inside the thorax, I'd call Dadant & Sons right away.

I sure hope you do not find those little black lines. Best of luck!
 

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The phenomena of heavily laden bees crash landing goes hand in hand with what I have long described as a "heavy hum" in the air that is unique during a strong nectar flow. I don't know whether there is scientific basis for this but I have convinced myself and even a few others that the pitch of heavily laden bees is slightly different than the hum of bees that have filed flight plans for lighter duty tasks.
 
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