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Yesterday I observed something that I thought was pretty interesting. At the bee yard at my house I have ten hives in a row. Yesterday I caught a swarm and decided I would put this one at my house since it was a small swarm and I wanted to keep a close eye on it. I put the hive containing the new swarm about 30" to the left of the last hive in the current row. I had an entrance reducer in the hive while transporting so I just turned the entrance reducer over so they could get in and out the reduced opening. As usual I placed some grass in front of the opening so the bees don't just poor out. The hive was all set in place so I stepped away from the hive for about a minute. When I returned there were about 50-75 bees on the landing board of the hive. I was puzzled that they had come through the grass obstacle so fast, but then I noticed the grass was still in place. When I looked closer I noticed many of them were loaded with pollen and that's when I realized what was going on. These bees used to live in the last house on the left and while they were off to gather pollen and nectar I made the new swarm hive the last house on the left and the bees were returning by site to that hive. I watched them for a few minutes and some were finding there way to their hive but some never did. I went out this morning to have a look and the grass was gone from the entrance and there were about 40-50 dead bees. I am assuming this is from where they tried to enter the wrong hive. Obviously we know bees can navigate very well but at some time they apparently switch from flying by navigation to flying by site.
 

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Colonies at the end of the row almost always end up larger than their neighbors. Call it drift or first available home.
 
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