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We have a plum tree within 15' of a hive and I haven't seen bees on it. Bees fly right over it to go elsewhere for food. Then I saw a post suggesting bees don't forage near their hive. Is this really true?
 

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They just have more profitable forage elsewhere is all. If bees didn't forage close to the hives then the commercial pollination industry would not work.

By profitable I mean forage that is higher in sugar content nectar, somewhere else besides your plum tree.
 

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Bees become very focused when there is a flow happening That is why you can work a hive and they ignore you completely they are on a mission and will fly right past everything to work what ever the scout foragers told them where the mother load is.
 

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I'm brand new this year, so my pool of observation is extremely limited. I hived two packages in March and they were hard at work the next day, on dandelions and a couple of neighbors trees. They were immediately noticed by my neighbors, because we don't typically see honeybees at all. But, within a week, we didn't see any bees working anything around us, although more dandelions were/are blooming. I was actually worried that the bees were dying out. There were only 4 or 5 hanging around the hive entrances, although there was a steady stream of fliers zipping out of the hive, and others coming in. I was also resisting the urge to open the hive based on advice read on this forum, so I didn't know how many bees I had left. Happily, we finally opened the hives with great anticipation and went through the frames this weekend, 21 days after hiving the packages. Lots of nectar and pollen in brand new wax, 10 or 12 frames completely built out in each hive. They are obviously getting plenty of resources from somewhere, and ignoring the stuff right around the hives. It is interesting that they aren't 'hanging around' the hive entrance. They shoot out of the opening at full speed and disappear. The incoming bees are coming in hot too, hit the landing porch and run right into the hive. I guess they've found a good source and are focus on exploiting it.
 

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It's always interesting how a colony can get focused on a single source or two. People post here from time to time stating that the bees fly right over dutch clover or dandelion and disappear elsewhere. As mentioned, it's about their return on investment and their colony based focus.
 

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I have plums. As other said they may have found something they like better. There are also certain times of the day they will work plums. Even when they work them never a lot of bees on them.

Check your plums at different times of the day. Also make sure there are fresh blooms they don't seem work older plum flowers.
 

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Mine didn't start foraging my local property (i.e. garden and flowers) until the dearth last year. Right now they are on the same beelines as last year. ~50% heading North, ~50% heading East.
 

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FlowerPlanter;1536724...There are also certain times of the day they will work plums... Check your plums at different times of the day...[/QUOTE said:
Yes, good point. Different bloom species produce more nectar at different temperatures from each other. In the mornings may be foraging one kind of flower, afternoons they may forage a different flower type.
 

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I always take it as a good sign when bees leave the hive full tilt When they come out and wonder around before taking off I will open the hive and check to make sure they are not queenless. I live 500 yards from a very large orchard and it is in full bloom I now where my bees are
 

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We have a plum tree within 15' of a hive and I haven't seen bees on it. Bees fly right over it to go elsewhere for food. Then I saw a post suggesting bees don't forage near their hive. Is this really true?
I guess the bees in our area only think about big-leaf maples right now. Before and after the maple, I have seen my bees working on a hazelnut tree (5’ from the hive, Jan-Feb), a winter cherry (10’, Feb-April), a plum (30’, March), a beautybush (3’, May), and a variety of garden flowers (5’ - 30’, July-Nov).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I guess the bees in our area only think about big-leaf maples right now. Before and after the maple, I have seen my bees working on a hazelnut tree (5’ from the hive, Jan-Feb), a winter cherry (10’, Feb-April), a plum (30’, March), a beautybush (3’, May), and a variety of garden flowers (5’ - 30’, July-Nov).
That's great input! I was wondering if that was the case. We may be in a bit of a flow situation now. It would be great if we could get a few more dry and sunny days.

Thanks!
 

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There is an interesting Bee Culture article that discusses food scout bees behavior ...

Scouting behavior is performed in two distinct contexts: scouting for new food sources or new nest sites. There are striking individual differences in scouting behavior- some bees act as scouts and others never do so. Food scouts, who make up five to 35% of a colony’s foraging force, search independently for new food sources and continue to do so even when plentiful sources have been found. Non-scouts do not search for novel food sources and instead rely on information from scouts (communicated via “dance language”) to guide their foraging. By constantly discovering new flower patches, food scouts help ensure a high influx of food to their colony, despite the ephemeral nature of each patch.

More here:
http://www.beeculture.com/a-closer-look-5/
That implies that the food scouts are looking for food sources big enough so they are worth recruiting a bunch of non-scout foragers to harvest that area. So food scouts are less interested in the 'one-offs' and non-scout foragers just go where they are told (mostly).:)
 
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