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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. Newbee here. I've seen quite a few videos of orientation flights, but I've been searching for one on a swarm. I've seen a lot after they've swarmed and are already balled up somewhere, but I wanted to know what it looked like when they are getting ready to go. When I've asked a couple people, they can't really explain it and they say "Oh, you'll know."
I finally found one and wanted to know if this was pretty typical, and also maybe provide something for other newbees who might want to know also.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6024598650924341952#
 

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Bees on an orientation flight kind of fly up and down in front of the hive. A swarm flies in a slow circle over the top of the hive. If they don't start gathering above the hive, it isn't a swarm. Then the swarm, still flying in a slow circle, starts moving off to their first gathering place.

I actually think that some bees just fly directly to the gathering place. I have noticed bees all over the leaves of a couple of limb of my fruit trees before. Then within a few minutes the real swarm starts and ends up with the first bees. I have only seen this twice, so I don't know how common that is. I have seen a lot of swarms.
 

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You'll know....:lpf: Sorry. When bees swarm a huge slow moving seemingly unorganized cloud of bees move in a large circular motion, this motion being for the most part horizontal, even in the vid you posted you can see the circular motion is mostly horizontal. It is hard at first to even get a direction the mass is moving they do it so slowly and so spread out. When they are on orientation flights the circular motion is vertical and they stay close to the hive until they "get it" then often they fly off one by one. In this vid you can see the motion is more vertical. Trust me there is an unmistakable difference!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtH9nG929OU
 

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Another dead giveaway is the sound. I don't even notice much of a buzz during orientation flights. During a swarm, however, you'll definitley hear a LOUD buzzing as they start to move away from the hive
 

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I wouldn't have pegged you as being the type to like techno music. It works! :)
 
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