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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I swear, this is my last post...Just getting all my questions out at once. So, I haven't checked the hives in a couple weeks, (I put the bees in on April 10th and as of a couple weeks ago I saw lots of emerging bees), because I thought I should leave them alone and relax a bit. I was, however, going to this weekend, but intermittently, the hives (specifically one of them) were soooo outrageously active with sooo many bees on the outside that it sort of freaked me out. They were not bearding, but just in almost a cloud, around the entrance. I would check a bit later and they seemed to ebb and flow in the numbers that were out buzzing around. It wasn't the more constant dozen or so. I thought maybe it was because it was a bit warmer and sunnier than it had been and maybe they were cooling off, but, really never got above 70 or so. It was, however, remarkably more noticeable of a phenomena in the hive that is more directly in the sun. However, I did notice it once in the hive that is more shaded. Just once in that one, though. Thoughts!?!
 

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Had it been raining beforehand?

When it rains a couple days, the bees that are maturing into forages sort of get a backlog, and when the sun comes out suddenly a whole bunch of bees are ready to get out and do their orientation flights and bob around in a cloud.
 

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No, it had been sunny and relatively warm in the days prior to this past weekend, which was also warm and sunny. It did seem to come in waves. I would look and there would be sooo many, and then look back in an hour or so and it would look back to "normal". JUst wondering and trying to figure out how to read the hive from the entrance behavior instead of going in...
 

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It's a normal daily thing, during the warmest parts of the day in the afternoon. It is orientation flights for the younger bees that have emerged 10 days before. Those bees will take off from the landing board in reverse, and make ever widening horizontal circles, learning the location of the hive. There is also cleansing flights going on where debris is being carried out and also the bees go pee. Going pee is in vertical circle flight and you can catch the drops in the sun if you look just right. This creates quite a large cloud of bees in front of the hive for 20 minutes or more and happens every day the weather is warm enough. During the warmest parts of the day is when more brood can be left with fewer attending bees on the combs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
WOW! This is so interesting! Thanks so much for this information. I can't get over how much there is to learn about bees!
 
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