Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
546 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was watching the hives and saw this repeated. A bee would haul out a dead bee and then take off flying with the carcas and fly away out of sight. Thought that was odd. Why fly so far? As I watched one fly away with a corpse she hit a twig then smack into a tree. This knocked her to the ground so I went to investigate. She was on the ground trying to get a good hold on the dead one presumably to fly off again. I nudged her so she took off and left the dead one which was a clearly a dead and smaller bee.

I assume this is just good house keeping but why carry the dead off so far? Seems like a lot of work. By the way, this is a hive that is recovering. It was a very small cluster coming out of the winter and it seems a miracle that it made it. So I am thrilled to see it cleaning house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
I have a newly installed package. There were a lot of dead bees in the package after 5 days of shipping. Unfortunately a lot of them found their way into the hive when I installed the package. The behavior you described is exactly the same thing I have seen in both of my hives. But sometimes they just push them off the edge and others they jump off to the ground with them and fly back to the hive. This morning I noticed a couple dozen dead on my patio. I guess that is the new dumping ground.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,069 Posts
> I assume this is just good house keeping but why carry the dead off so far?

Workers in any enterprise have different personality types. Some of them are Type A overachievers and they were told in B-school that if they work hard that one day they too could end up as the boss of the whole outfit. Some of them do stuff like showing up early, working though lunch, staying late, and doing more than the expected work. I'm sure you have run into some of those along the line. They swallowed the whole enchilada and drank the Kool-Aid. :rolleyes:




Huh?
:s What ...??:scratch: Ohhhh ...you were asking about BEES?? :eek: Well ... never mind. :D




OK, just so this post isn't a total joke, here is a real paper: "Corpse Management in Social Insects":

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619097/


which does have some interesting discussion, including various ways that insects might recognize their compatriots as actually dead. However, it doesn't address the question of disposal distance from the hive.

.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
> I assume this is just good house keeping but why carry the dead off so far?

Workers in any enterprise have different personality types. Some of them are Type A overachievers and they were told in B-school that if they work hard that one day they too could end up as the boss of the whole outfit. Some of them do stuff like showing up early, working though lunch, staying late, and doing more than the expected work. I'm sure you have run into some of those along the line. They swallowed the whole enchilada and drank the Kool-Aid. :rolleyes:




Huh?
:s What ...??:scratch: Ohhhh ...you were asking about BEES?? :eek: Well ... never mind. :D




OK, just so this post isn't a total joke, here is a real paper: "Corpse Management in Social Insects":
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3619097/
.
You guys need "like" buttons on this forum. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
61 Posts
It;s an inbread habit, like a dog that circles befor it lays down hard to kill any varmit on the ground. Bees carry away dead bees so other critters don't know there is a hive up in the tree or near by so they won't start looking up an around. So the ferther they carry away the dead the better chanch they won't be discovered. There called funeral bees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,323 Posts
I'm guessing that it a housekeeping/saftey issue. I can only imagine that if the dead bees were all piled up just in front of the entrance, it would gather all sorts of disease and pests to include skunks. Now, do the bees know this? Not sure they do. But what I do know is that the bees know better than us why they do the things they do.
Frank and your "little engine that could" hive. lol Keep chugging little hive! lol
Swarm season is just around the corner Frank. May want to pm me your number.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
I get as much excitement out of watching an undertaker bee as I do one coming home with full saddle bags!

I have wondered the same thing as to why they are so persistent in carrying their dead out of sight. My hives are on cement and the cement always has dead bees on it. Guess I should help the hive and keep them swept.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
I enjoy watching all the goings on the front steps, too.
I don't know why some bees can't carry the dead and some can take off and fly away with the dying or dead. Seems they would all weigh about the same, but I guess not.

Funny thing...my hives each have their own family cemetery just past the bee yard with tiny 21 gun salutes...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
638 Posts
I watched a bee "pounce" on a SHB and fly up and away 60' in the air and on out before i lost sight. I was thinking if the bee didnt kill it then fer sure that fall was gonna do the trick!!!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,069 Posts
The problem with a bee dropping a beetle from 60 ft is that SHB can fly. :)

If the bee could damage the beetle somehow that would be great. But reports of bees being able to kill SHB are rare.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,431 Posts
Mortuary bees, the one carrying the dead ones out, are at the end of their lives, usually with badly worn wings from foraging. So it's not a surprise that many of them don't fly very well with a dead bee, they can't fly very well unloaded either. They often don't make it back.

Peter
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top