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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am observing unusual behavior in a "spit" this morning, instead of normal foraging activities. Large numbers of bees are fanning at the hive entrance, the balcony floor under the entrance and even down the wall below the hive.

The queen(s) should have emerged about 3-5 days ago. Could this behavior indicate the virgin queen is out on her mating flight?

[In the time it took me to write the above post, everything has returned to quiet (did I mention there was quite a loud buzz) and normal; the bees are no longer fanning or bearding down the balcony. I watched the behavior for about 15 minutes and do not know how long it had been going on before I first noticed it.]
 

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Maybe she just got back... it's a beautiful day for queen mating flights!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm a 2 month old beekeep, so pretty ignorant.

Within the last week has been the first time I have seen drones. I would examine online photos again and again, then go examine the bees and felt frustrated, stupid (and wondered about my eyesight) that I could not distinguish the workers from the drones. Then this last week, I began seeing a drone now and then -- wow, really "big boys" compared to the workers!

In any case, this morning, obviously the girls thought something significant was happening and were spreading Nasonov pheromones en masse. I watched 15 minutes, worried that perhaps there was an attack against the hive or perhaps this strange behavior indicated preparations to swarm. I've seen fanning with orientation flights, but this was 100 times the magnitude. I'm hoping it is good news about a new queen, rather than one of the other concerns!
 

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Could be a couple of things.

Maybe the hive is too humid, and they are trying to dry it out.

If the queen is out on a mating flight they will act very bizarre. Not fanning per se but making lots of noise. Lots of drones in front of the hive, and they buzz very loudly.

If you catch them in this state they can be very grumpy. Not aggressive per se, but lots of bees flying in circles and bumping into you and following you around and doing strange things like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, bizarre, and there were bees flying around, differently from the orientation flights - but nothing aggressive.

No humidity problem at all. But those I call the fanners had their buts in the air pointed away from the hive, were all fanning and making lots of noise. It wasn't just at the entrance - the fanning extended from the entrance to about 3-4 feet away from the entrance. The hive is set up on cinder blocks on a balcony. The fanning bees were at the entrance, down the cinder blocks, on the balcony floor in front of the cinder blocks, and even extended on the vertical stucco wall below the balcony. And I was pretty amazed how completely everything was back to normal in the less than five minutes that I left and returned.
 
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